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Glimpses of Old Japan from Japanese Colour Prints Figure By C G Holme, The Studio Publications. Undated but bibliographic sources give 1936. Hardback, has a four page introduction followed by eight full page colur tipped in prints with tissue guards with the deatils of the print printed on the reverse of the page. This work has been prepared for the non- expert, to whom Japan is an interesting country, with unfamiliar customs, costumes and culture, and to whom the Japanese Print is no more than a pleasant and quaint example of colour and line. I have tried as far as possible to interpret the meaning of the prints reproduced, and to give the reader some little idea of what Japan is like, and the habits and culture of its people.
The connoisseur and collector of Japanese Prints will, I hope, find here reproduced examples which will interest him, Some of them he may not know. I have not, however, attempted to add to the comprehensive works on the subject with which he will already be familiar, but rather to suggest to the average Westerner some of its inexhaustible fascination. One of the first impressions that will be formed by the Westerner who has just inspected the figure subjects among a collection of Japanese prints is that the faces are all much alike. They are seen in a position half-way between front and silhouette, and have a stereotyped formula of features. One face, apparently, would serve equally well to represent half a dozen different people, much in the same way that, as I have often observed, one drawing would serve to illustrate many of the jokes which appear in some of our comic papers.
On the other hand, evidence of anguish of some kind or indeed of acute griping pains are stamped upon the countenances of some who, after a little while, we learn to recognise as actors in character parts. Why is this so, and why this disregard for all those other expressions of the face which we of the Western world would expect to see in our own pictures and works of art ?
The reason constitutes one of the essential differences in outlook between the two hemispheres. It depends upon the different standards underlying the respective philosophies or religions. The tradition of the human form divine is idealised in the Westâ€”handed down through the centuries from classical timesâ€”is represented as the subject of first importance in our paintings, and is, to our way of thinking, of prior importance in every respect to nature. When the human form comes into the picture, nature has, metaphorically, to take a back seat. In Japanese thought and philosophy, on the other hand, humanity takes its place in the world of nature as a very small unit indeed. What it does and what it thinks is perhaps of more interest than what it actually looks like. All Prints on heavy paper. Plate 1 Portrait of Actor Mtsumoto Koshiro. Plate 2 Lady Furiu Bijiu Awase. Plate 3 Actor standing by Cherry Tree. Plate 4 Actor Fox Priest. Plate 5 Young Girl Carrying Lantern and Umbrella. Plate 6 Lady with Carp on Tray. Plate 7 2 Ladies Walking in the Rain. Plate 8 Portrait of Sagi Musume. Slight wear to book cover, on corners only, plates in mint condition.