Plate 7
Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition
Lithographs by William Heine - 1856

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Plate 7, Temple of Ben-Teng in the Harbor at Simoda

Click here for full picture with margins

Characteristics of the Lithograph.

Lithograph Type: Tinted lithograph
Page Size: 14 1/2 x 19 3/4 in -- 26.5 x 50.2 cm
Image Area: 8 1/4 x 12 5/16 in -- 22 x 31.5 cm
Format: Lithograph tipped onto the page
Page thickness: Thick card stock.
W. Heine del.
Litho of Sarony & Co, 117 Fulton St, New York
Temple of Ben-Teng in the Harbor of Simoda. (No. 7)


Accompanying Text Page.

Temple of Ben-teng, in the Harbor of Simoda.

Entering the harbor of Simoda one's attention is attracted by a large white rock, crested by a group of trees. A temple and some buildings belonging to it nestle at the base.

This place is called Ben-teng. It lies a little westward of the village of Taki-sacky. In the temple fishermen and mariners offer their prayers. When in great peril at sea the Japanese often make vows, that, if saved, they will make certain pilgrimages and perform certain rites. The walls of the temple of Ben-teng are hung with numerous pictures of junks beset by tempests, or other perils of the deep, offered in gratitude by those rescued from such dangers. When in extraordinary peril, they even vow to sacrifice the little tail which adorns the crown of their head, and which they value so much, to the god of the floods. It is cut off with many ceremonies, and hung either on one of the pillars, or under the pictures representing their wonderful escape.

The smooth sand-beach in this part of the harbor is a convenient place for fishermen to draw their boats ashore for the night, and in the engraving one of these swift crafts is being launched.


The Temple of Benten
Depicted in the 1856 Appleton "Trade Editon of the Narrative

"W. Heine del" (original art by W. Heine)


The Temple of Benten Revisited 150+ Years Later

Below is a recent photograph of the temple and the scene depicted by W. Heine in this lithograph.

Ben-Teng Temple, Aug 2006
Photograph and discussion below courtesy of Rob Oechsle.

That is Rob Oechsle in the foreground. Rob is a noted expert on early images of Okinawa and Japan and composed this photograph to obtain the same view that Wilhelm Heine must have seen when he painted his original watercolor of the Temple of Benten in 1854. Rob notes:

In the attached photo (taken August 2006) you can see me standing on a sea-wall fronting the village of Kaki-zaki. It's a 30 minute stroll from here to the town of Shimoda which is straight ahead to the West, but out of site behind the near hills you see.

A short 5 minute stroll to the right of the scene in this photo is the Gyokusen Temple -- America's first Consulate in Japan, and home of Townsend Harris while negotiating the first trade agreement with Japan.

This modern sea-wall was built on top of the beach, a remnant of which is still partly visible below me.

William Heine walked just past the rock below me, moving along the beach toward the small Benten Island and Temple you see on the water. He stopped midway, and sketched the scene.



Plates 1~10
Graphic Scenes
of the Japan Expedition


    Return to the Main Page for Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition.

    Introduction (Text Only)

    Plate #1 - Portrait of Commodore Perry

    Plate #2 - Macao from Penha Hill

    Plate #3 - The Pagoda of Wampoa - Colored

    Available for Purchase - Folio Print on Bristol Board

    Plate #4 - Old China Street in Canton - Colored

    Plate #5 - Kung-twa at Lew-Chew

    Plate #6 - Mia, the Roadside Chapel at Yoku-hama

    Plate #7 - Temple of Ben-teng, in the Harbor at Simoda

    Plate #8 - Street and Bridge at Simoda

    Plate #9 - Temple of Ha-tshu-man-ya Tschu-ro, at Simoda

    Plate #10 - Grave-yard at Simoda, Dio Zenge

    Available for Purchase - Folio Print on Bristol Board


    Image Area: This is the measurements for the frame box that surrounds each image.

    • Type I - Lithograph printed on separate sheet which is tipped (affixed) to the page (book format) or bristol board (folio format). Titling to the lithograph is printed on the page/board.

    • Type II - Entire lithograph (including titling) is printed onto the page (book format) or bristol board (folio format).

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If you have material to sell, please visit this page:

George C. Baxley
PO Box 807
Alamogordo, NM 88311


Perry Expedition to Japan Books & Lithographs