EXQUISITE 19TH-CENTURY JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM, WITH 50 VINTAGE HAND-COLORED ALBUMEN PRINTS OF GEISHAS, BEAUTIFUL COURTESANS AND SPLENDID VIEWS OF JAPANESE LIFE
JAPAN. Photograph Album. Collection of 50 Vintage Albumen Prints of Japanese Life. Japan, circa 1890. Oblong quarto, original beveled wood boards in period-style pale green cloth, 50 vintage hand-colored albumen prints (each measures 3-1/2 by 5-1/2 inches), individually mounted in the original leporello (accordion) binding, later tissue guards. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Original 19th-century Japanese Photograph Album, with 50 vintage hand-colored albumen prints, each mounted on heavy card stock in an elegant leporello (accordion) binding, this unique album with splendid images of richly attired geishas, teahouse women and much more, representing a golden age of Japanese portraiture, original wooden beveled boards in elegant period-style cloth.
This scarce Japanese photographic album of 50 vintage hand-colored albumen prints— with luminous images of beautiful geishas and richly attired courtesans—is wonderfully characteristic of the Souvenir Albums or Yokohama Albums created by studios in Yokahama, Tokyo, Kobe and Nagasaki from the 1880s-90s. These albums were created for visitors and uniquely assembled to suit each individual’s particular request: usually providing no means of identifying the studio or photographer. It has been found, however, that these works present some of the finest portraiture of photographers such as Enami, Farsari, Kajima, Kusakabe, Tamamura, Beato and Stillfried. This elegant album offers many striking images of serene teahouse women in stylized poses, often reclining and partially nude. Other prints show beautifully robed women seated in rickshaws or traditional kago carriages, with numerous prints capturing women while they bathe, practice calligraphy, or create origami figures. Many images feature women posed with delicate fans and playing music on the koto, a Japanese harp, or seen in a moment of dance. In addition this splendid album displays domestic scenes of families enjoying music, women preparing meals, and images of children at play. Each vintage albumen print (3-1/2 by 5-1/2 inches) from glass negatives is individually mounted on heavy card stock in an especially scarce leporello (accordion) binding. Many prints with in-negative numbering in Japanese script, seen in the lower corners of the image. See Bennett, 122-160; Cortazzi & Bennett, 53, 71, 92, 122.
Prints fresh and bright, minor expert archival paper repairs to select accordian folds. A highly desirable near-fine photo album of scarce vintage prints.