Japan / Kusakabe Kimbei Views of people and landscapes of Japan, 1880s
Views of people and landscapes of Japan. 1880s. 50 hand-colored albumen prints. Each circa 26,5 x 20 cm and 20 x 26,5 cm. Most with number and title in lower edge in the negative. Mounted to both sides of gilt-edged album board (slightly warped), bound in decorative lacquer album (crack on front cover) with inlay genre scene of a couple shooting storks with a bow and arrow, with leather spine and Kusakabe's Honcho-Dori, Yokohama stamp on inside front cover.
A very fine album which contains several iconic images by Kimbei, as well as some of his finer landscape scenes. Although he is not as highly rated as the two masters of Japanese photography, Stillfried and Beato whom he worked with, Kimbei's work is of a high caliber and he incorporated many aspects of their work within his own. Kimbei worked at a time when the tourist album, with its views of costumes and landscapes, was in high demand by European travellers and he concentrated on satisfying that demand. In the early part of his career Kimbei did copy and use the negatives and prints of other photographers to complete his portfolio, and several images in this album are likely by other photographers. – A few prints with light surface scuff marks, some with light fading in edges, otherwise most in good to very good condition and many with delicate coloring.
Lit.: Terry Bennett. Photography in Japan 1853 - 1912. Tokyo 2006, ill. p. 208 (Basket Seller).
Philipp March and Claudia Delank (eds.). Abenteuer Japanische Fotografie 1860 - 1890. Heidelberg 2002, ill. pp. 45 (Snow Costume), 58 (Girls Travelling), 60 (Visiting Ceremonials), and 67 (Woman with Umbrella).