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Kimbei Studios

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Kimbei Studios, Japanese
Imaichi Nikko, Road, c. 1890
Photographic materials and colors on paper
8 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (20.96 x 26.04 cm)


Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchase, Scripps Collectors' Circle
Accession Number: 2013.3.8


Commentary
This work is one of 50 hand-colored albumen prints of protraits and scenes of Japanese life.

Content : Gilt-edge leaves are tabbed into album with lacquer boards and leather spine, with the title, "Japan," in gold. Front cover has hand-painted and inlaid scene of a man pulling a rickshaw in which a woman with an umbrella is seated. Both wear traditional garb. Inlays are of ivory. Back cover is painted with the images of a dragonfly, cricket, praying mantis, butterfly and another winged insect, possibly a bee. End papers and doublure are of imitation moire.

Content : Views are numbered with Arabic numerals in negative.



Essay: This image represents the relatively new use of photographic media in Japan during the end of the 19th century. Kimbei depicted a new kind of image of everyday Japanese life that marketed the idea of Japaneseness to a non-Japanese audience. He began to shift from attracting audiences of foreign residents who had a sense of Japanese culture, to audiences of foreign tourists who were interested in Japanese culture as an example of the exotic. The tall trees and nature display a less common Japanese setting of early photography, and in tourist imagery. Kimbei represents a more natural aspect of Japanese life in contrast to the previous images that focused on human subjects in city life.

Sydney Sibelius (student, 2016)

Marks
This work bears the number, "751."

Medium
hand-colored albumen print

Object Description
Tall trees line both sides of a hard-packed dirt road that runs from the center of the foreground to the center of the midground, then drifts off into the distance. Some distance down the road, the viewer sees two figures. On the left, a man, holding a large, round woven hat, stands next to two tall wooden boxes. On the right, another figure sits in a rustic wagen. The two might be taking a short breather before continuing down the road.

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