Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Spending the day with my mother is always a treat but yesterday brought an unexpected pleasure.
Among the books handed down through the family was this treasure. A memento of Japan in the 1890s - with thirty hand-tinted illustrations (prints? photos?) of scenes from Tokyo (spelled 'Tokio'), Yokohama, Nikko and the area around Mt Fuji. The cover of the book is a like a lacquer box printed with trees and birds and very beautiful. Each page is separated by a sheet of tissue paper encouraging a delicate turning of the pages to see the next scene..

I found the pictures intriguing with their views of everyday life in Japan more than a hundred years ago. I love this one of the Japanese lantern sellers in their traditional garb and their beautiful paper parasols open behind them. The rest of the pictures are as evocative and beautiful as this one. The book was a gift from a Scotsman, Mr Archibald, to my great-great grandmother in 1895.

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