Black Ships & Samurai, Lesson 03
The Black Ships: Multiple Perspectives in
Constructing Historical Narrative
Black Ships & Samurai Handout 03-B | Printer-friendly PDF file
1. What does this image portray? That is, what is happening in the picture?
2. List five adjectives you would use to describe the ship in this painting.
3. List five adjectives you would use to describe the water in this painting.
4. How would you explain the relationship between the water and the ship in this painting?
5. Look at the objects and the composition (placement of objects) in this painting. What would you say is the subject of this painting?
6. What is the message of this picture? What title would you give to this painting and why?
7. Make a comparison between this image of Perry’s ship and the American oil painting at the top left of the “Black Ships” panel.
In what ways are the two American images of Perry’s ships the same?
In what ways are they different?
8. Imagine that the American image of Perry’s ship at anchor in a harbor was the American image that the author of Black Ships & Samurai placed next to the Japanese woodblock print of Perry’s ship at the top left of the “Black Ships” panel.
Describe at least two ways that you think showing this alternative painting next to the Japanese woodblock print would have changed the message of the exhibit.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2008 Visualizing Cultures