1859. Item #396
Ca. 1859. Ca. 54x75 cm. Black ink on rice paper, hand coloured in yellow, red, black, and grey. Extensive text in Japanese on the right and left margins. Fold marks, otherwise a very good plan.
Interesting early detailed Japanese plan of the first Russian settlement on Sakhalin Island - Fort Muravyovsky, founded by a Russian navigator and explorer Gennady Nevelskoy on 21 September O.S./ 3 October N.S. 1853. The fort was erected on the site of the Ainu village Kushinkotan in southern Sakhalin (according to the Russian sources, the name of the village was Tomari Aniva), on the shore of the Salmon Inlet of the Aniva Bay. The first commander of the fort was Russian military officer Nikolay Busse (1828-66). In May 1854 the fort was relocated to the Emperor’s Harbour, due to the beginning of military actions against Russia by Britain and France during the Crimean War. The fort was rebuilt in 1869, under the name of Korsakovsky, and quickly became the centre of the Sakhalin penal colony of the Russian penitentiary system. It was handed over to the Japanese government in 1905 after Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, and was returned to Soviet Union in August 1945, after World War II. Renamed Korsakov in 1946, it is now an important administrative centre of Russia’s Sakhalin Oblast.
The plan states that it was copied in October 1859 from the original sheet drawn in September 1853 after the construction of the Russian fort. The plan depicts a rectangular fort with two watch towers (each with a guard on top, one is mounted with a flag), tall fence and several buildings, including the commander’s house and the barracks. The inner yard houses two cannons and piles of coal; two small buildings outside the fort walls are the trade house and Russian banya (steam bath house, a fire is seen above the small chimney). The plan has an extensive explanatory text on the left and right margins, as well as captions above most of the objects, detailing the location of the fort, the story of its foundation, features of the buildings and the amount of weapons, there is also a note that the Russians trade with the ‘Santan jin’ people (Tungus-speaking tribes from the Far East mainland) who travel to Sakhalin. Overall a very interesting historically significant plan.