Regent of Lew Chew
(Type A & B) #215A + 215B

Variations in Lithographs

There are two totally different versions of this lithograph. I call them Type A and Type B. This is the only lithograph I have encountered where the lithographs are clearly different pictures. No minor variations here. Everything is different - the picture composition, the background and even the figures.

This lithograph is titled Regent of Lew Chew. At the time of his visit there was a king but he was too young (12 years old) to receive the Perry party.

Perry arrived off Naha on May 25, 1853. On the 30th the "Regent" made an official call on Perry aboard the Susquehanna. The Regent, Shang Ta-mu, was described as "...a venerable old man...." (p 155). Shang Ta-mu entertained the American party at his official residence on June 6 after the "non-reception" forced by Perry at Shuri Castle. Perry departed Okinawa for a short trip to the Bonin Islands and on his return on June 28, found a new Regent, Shang Hung Hium, ...a much younger man..." (p 215). The speculation was that the old Regent had been replaced because he was too conciliatory toward the Americans. Commodore Perry met with two different Regents (at least he believed them to be Regents) during his trips to Lew Chew. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that there are two different lithographs that show the "Regent of Lew Chew."

There is another theory regarding the two different lithographs. In the Type B lithograph, the Kimono flaps are correct with the left side overlapping the right. In Type A the kimono flaps overlap with the right flap over the left (sometimes associated with burial dress). The daguerreotype process used a mirror in the camera and this resulted in a mirror-effect with the image being reversed. It is said that Brown often compensated for this by having the subjects reverse the kimono flaps and placement of swords to ensure the finished picture was correct. It is possible that the lithographer was working from two photographs taken by Brown, one with the reverse image and the other with the image corrected.


Type A

Type A Tucker book.
Type B

Type B Nicholson book.

Central Figures
Kimono Flaps Right Over Left
Central Figures
Kimono Flaps Left Over Right
Full Picture
Full Picture
Type A has definitely been attributed to a Beverley Tucker printing of the Narrative.

Type B has definitely been attributed to a Nicholson printing of the Narrative.

In the 1967 Reprint of the Narrative by Arno/AMS the Type A lithograph is shown. That reprint is asserted to be the Beverley Tucker printing of the Narrative.

The 2000 Dover Publications reprint of the Narrative shows the Type B. That reprint is asserted to be the Beverley Tucker printing of the Narrative also. I believe the Dover book has the wrong lithograph but perhaps the Type A and B appear in both printings of the Narrative.

I have personally confirmed that Type A is in the Beverley Tucker book I have examined and Type B is in the Nicholson book that I have examined.

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