Ca. 1901. Two oblong Quarto albums (ca. 21,5x26x7 and 21,5x26x3 cm). Over 230 and 88 grey stock leaves. Two albums with ca. 311 mounted gelatin silver photographs from ca. 10,5x15 cm (4 x 5 ¾ in) to ca. 4x5 cm (1 ¾ x 2 in); the majority are ca. 9x11,5 cm (3 ½ x 4 ½ in) or slightly smaller. All photos with period white ink captions in English on the mounts. Two period black full morocco albums, one neatly recased; spines with raised bands and gilt-lettered titles; marbled endpapers. A few images mildly faded, but overall very good albums of interesting strong images.
Interesting extensive collection of early snapshot photos of Japan and its people. The photographer – most likely, American – travelled across central and southern Japan with a group of friends in ca. 1901 and didn’t follow the norm at the time and buy souvenir studio photos, but took over 300 images himself, which include dynamic street scenes, lively portraits of Japanese people, and views of unusual and lesser-known sites, towns and villages. The traveller and his companions are included in over a dozen photos, portrayed during the ascent of Mt. Fuji, in boats on the Katsura River and on the canal between Otsu and Kyoto, resting “under the Great Pine” at Karasaki (Kanazawa), at Nara, in rickshaw carts of the way to Lake Biwa and during their trip to the West coast, swimming in Lake Biwa, posing with the locals at the top of the Shibu Toge Pass (with some friendly communication to a Japanese woman), etc.
Interesting photos show Tokyo (“festival barge”, Shiba and Ueno parks, street scenes with the shop signs and passers-by, portraits of a street tumbler, construction workers “driving poles,” etc.) and Kyoto (Gion or Yasaka Shrine “decorated to festival,” “tree supposed to protect from fire in courtyard of Nishi Hongwanji,” “taking photographs under difficulties,” Yaami Hotel and environs, grounds of the Chion-in temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Inari Temple, Kinkakuji pavilion, Shijo street, Shijo bridge, Theatre street, “building dam,” “coolies drawing load,” “carrying stones,” “pounding ground for foundation of the new Yaami Hotel,” etc.) Over twenty photos depict the crowd and temple procession during the Kyoto festival of “Gion-no Yashiro Temple” dated “July 17”.
About twenty photos show the ascent of Mt. Fuji (“eating breakfast at 2nd station,” “one of the huts of summit of Fuji,” “pilgrims awaiting sunrise on summit of Fuji,” several inner views of the crater, one of the peaks, “some of party with school-master on summit of Fuji,” “the highest peak on Fuji, 1230 ft above the sea,” the travellers running down during “the descent,” Fuji at sunrise, Fuji from Hakone, etc.). Over a dozen photos were taken during a “West coast trip,” and show villages, rice fields, rest houses, locals near Maizuru, Yura, and Komori, Amanohashidate sandbar, and traditional way of sawing lumber at Fukuchiyama.
There are also photos of the Katsura River (rapids, hilly banks, bridges), Phoenix Hall at Uji (Kyoto), workers hauling a cart with wood “on road to Otsu from Kyoto,” Lake Biwa, tunnels of the canal between Lake Biwa and Kyoto, several views “from road to Big Hell, Myanoshita,” Nara (temple grounds, avenue of lanterns, Kikusui-ro Inn, sacred deer), Nikko (“road of Cryptomeria trees,” the Sacred Bridge, pagoda & Torii, pilgrims), Osaka (court house, “Yodogawa River from Osaka Club Hotel,” several street scenes, a canal with private houses, “theatre street,” “front of a theatre,”), Myokoku-ji temple in Sakai, “advertisements along railroad near Kameyama,” Nagoya, “a mill near Sano waterfall,” “images of Rakan at Temple of Seikenji, Okitsu,” “tea house near Suwara, Nakasendo,” Hyogo (temples), Kobe (reservoir for water supply, harbour view, street scene), Odaira-Toge pass, pilgrims on road to Lake Chuzenji, Yumoto (Yunoko) Lake and Falls, “fire bell at Hakojima,” hot springs and bath houses in Kusatsu, Iida, Ikaho (main street), eight views from the trip to Mt. Haruna (“Little Fuji,” “natural bridge,” a path, Haruna Shrine), “Inn at Haramachi,” Agatsuma River, sailboats and shores of the Inland Sea (6), Mogi (houses, boats, “spinning silk near Mogi”), Unzen (street view, sulphur spring, temple), three photos of a room in a Japanese hotel in Kumamoto, Hakata (street views), “curious method of using water power near Toyono,” and many others. A number of photos portray Japanese peasants, families, street sellers, workers, coolies, a “group of children at Naganohara,” et al.
Several photos in the beginning and at the end of the albums show the “Empress of India” steamship in Vancouver whence the party departed for Japan, portraits of Chinese passengers on board the “Empress of India,” several views of Banff, the Canadian Rockies, and Honolulu. Overall an extensive lively representation of the early 20th-century Japan.
Price: $3,250.00 USD