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Domestic Scenes

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Kimbei Studios, Japanese
Girls Reading Letter, c. 1890
Photographic materials and colors on paper
8 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (21 x 26 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchase, Scripps Collectors' Circle
Accession Number: 2013.3.42

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.

In the lower right hand corner, the number 104 appears with the title. The number 104 also appears on the lower left.

hand-colored albumen print

Object Description
In this studio photo, two girls, who appear to be teenagers, are seated in the center of this composition. They are dressed in traditional Japanese garments and wearing their hair up. Together they hold a letter, composed on paper that is long and narrow. Instead of looking directly at the letter, the girls' gaze is directed downward and to the right. One girl has her arm around the other. On the left is a decorative screen depicting cranes in flight and a bird of prey, possibly an osprey. A painting hangs behind the girls and to the right, a large chest.

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