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Guide to the Kimbei Kusakabe photograph album with costumes, portraits, occupations, and views of Japan, between 1885-1890

Summary

Large souvenir folio album from the Yokohama studio of Japanese photographer Kimbei Kusakabe, featuring 100 hand-tinted albumen prints on original mounts, most with title labels in English. Also included are the highly decorated black lacquer covers and original presentation box. Most of the prints measure approximately 8 1/8 x 10 3/8 inches; the mounts are sized 10 1/4 x 14 inches. Images were designed to appeal to tourists, and portray crafts and trades; rice cultivation; tea houses; hotels, gardens, temples, and other scenes, mostly in Kyoto, but also including Kobe, Yamato, Nagasaki, and Arima. Portraits of people include: geishas bathing, playing musical instruments, and dressing; Samurais and Sumo wrestlers; rural inhabitants; a physician; a rickshaw and passengers; a funeral; and numerous other subjects typical of these albums. A few of the prints are attributed to other photographers, notably Baron Raimund von Stillfried. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11696
Title
Kimbei Kusakabe photograph album with costumes, portraits, occupations, and views of Japan
Date
between 1885-1890
Creator
Kusakabe, Kinbē, 1841-1932
Extent
3.5 Linear Feet, 3 boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Content Description

This souvenir folio album from the studio of Japanese photographer Kimbei, or Kinbē, Kusakabe (1841-1932) features 98 hand-colored albumen prints mounted two to a page and originally bound accordion-style, and two additional prints mounted inside the lacquer covers.

The photographic scenes were designed to appeal to tourists, and portray people working at crafts and trades; rice cultivation; tea houses, hotels, gardens, temples, landscapes, and other scenes, mostly in Kyoto, but also including Kobe, Nagasaki, Hone, Yamato, and Arima. Portraits of people include geishas bathing, playing musical instruments, and dressing; samurai warriors and sumo wrestlers; rural people; a physician; a rickshaw and passengers; a funeral; and numerous other subjects typical of these albums. Some of the images have been positively or tentatively attributed to other photographers, notably Baron Raimund von Stillfried.

Most of the photographs bear printed title labels in English. The print mounts measure roughly 10 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches; most of the prints measure roughly 8 3/8 x 10 3/8 inches. Only a handful bear number identifiers but many have been taken from online prints in other collections and from a published studio list, circa 1893.

Included in the collection and housed separately are the original highly decorated black lacquer album covers with ivory and gold relief depicting a man, woman, and small child in a fishing boat; housed in another box is the original embossed silk-lined and padded two-part box, with the photographer's commercial label in English and Japanese. The studio address is given as "Yokohama, 36 and 27 Benten-dori Nichome," dating this album to the period between 1885-1890.

Given its expensive quality, this commercial souvenir album is most likely a unique assemblage of images chosen from the studio list by the intended client, rather than a pre-assembled album.

For preservation purposes, the mounts were separated from the album covers and separately foldered in their original hinged-mount groupings. Color photographic copies of the two prints pasted on the inside covers are available in the last folder of the prints box.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

All of the components are fragile and delicate, and must be handled with staff supervision.

warning Use & Permissions

Collection is in the public domain. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Kimbei Kusakabe photograph album with costumes, portraits, occupations, and views of Japan, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Mounted Albumen Prints

100 items, 1 box, 98 albumen prints; 2 color copies of original prints

Titles have been taken from title labels found on almost all the page mounts pasted just below the print; original spellings and punctuation have been retained. Two of the original albumen prints are mounted on the insides of the covers, which are housed separately in another box; color copies for these prints are available in the prints box, in the last folder.

Unlike other souvenir albums, most of the prints in this collection bear no studio identifiers, but there are some with numbers in the negative.

When not present or uncertain, titles and numbers are taken from the Kusakabe Kimbei studio list, circa 1893, in Terry Bennett's Old Japanese photographs: Collectors' data guide, Quaritch, 2006. Variant titles are also noted. Online images from the same negative also have been used to identify prints with no titles or identifiers.

Some prints in the album have been positively or tentatively identified as the work of Kusakabe's former mentor, Baron Raimund von Stillfried. There may be other prints that are the work of other studios, among them perhaps Seibei.

Kinkakuji Garden, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1337. Identical online print bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0001
Blind Shampooer
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 44. There are two images with the same title on the studio list: the identifier 44 appears on an identical online image.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0002
Samurai
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 38?

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0003
View of Rapids, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1346. There are over ten images with similar titles on the studio list: the identifier 1346 appears on an online image identical to this one.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0004
View of Awaji-shima, Inland Sea
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1218. An identical online image bears this studio number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0005
Doctor
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Interior scene with physician taking pulse of young person. Studio list number (not on print): 147. Identical online image bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0006
The Mikado's-Garden, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 891; does not match title on studio list. This title, or any similar one, does not appear on the circa 1893 Kimbei studio list. It may have had this number on an earlier studio list, or have been taken by another photographer, or has a different title altogether on the circa 1893 studio listing.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0007
Buddhist Priest
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several prints with the same title on the studio list.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0008
Chionin Large Bell, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 860; does not match title in studio list. Studio list number (not on print): 1308.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0009
Playing Koto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several prints with similar titles on the studio list. An online image attributes it to Baron von Stillfried (History Daily on Pinterest).

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0010
View of Kumamot Castle
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture. Two prints with this title are on the studio list: 1424 and 1425. This and the next three prints are on hinged, attached mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0011
Hair Dressing
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several prints with similar titles on the studio list. This image does not appear to be 172, which is on a similar image at the Getty Museum.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0012
Japanese Toilet
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Studio list number (not on print): 164.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0013
Amida Bashi (Bridge) Nagasaki
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative appears as 691(?) Studio list number (not on print): 1421.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0014
Jinrickisha
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. An identical image in the Getty Museum bears the number 65, which on the Kimbei studio list is titled "Jinrikisha of Maiko-No-Hama." This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0015
Girl in Winter Costume
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several studio list numbers for similar titles. Considering the oval frame and style, this may be a Baron von Stillfried negative (compare with P-0017).

Coolie Winter Dress
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Identical print online is numbered 87. Studio list title for 87: "Coolie, in Snow Costume." This image is also in the Getty collections, but is attributed to Baron von Stillfried.

Farmer's House
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 97.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0018
View of Biwa Lake from Miidera
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1259.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0019
Japanese Travellers
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 12, with title as "Travellers." Identical print online is numbered 12. Full-length portrait of two young women.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0020
Spinning Cotton
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 105.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0021
View of Arima
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 821. This number on studio list does not match the subject content. There are several studio list numbers for this title; may be 1221.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0022
View of Arima
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 1220.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0023
Spinning and Weaving Silk
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number for "Weaving Silk" (not on print): 64.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0024
Hafuya Hotel (Ozashiki) or Parlor
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1668, titled "Parlor of Hafuya Hotel." An identical print at the New York Public Library carries the number 995. This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0025
View of Arima
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several Kimbei studio list numbers for this title.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0026
Tonomine, at Yamato
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1251.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0027
Pack Horse
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 69.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0028
Preparing Dinner
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 155. Title on list is "Kitchen (Preparing Dinner)". An identical online image carries this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0029
View of Osaka
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 828. This number is part of a gap in the studio list. Title does not appear on list. Other Osaka images numbers are in the 1200s.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0030
View of Osaka
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 829. This number is part of a gap in the studio list. Title does not appear on list. Other Osaka images numbers are in the 1200s.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0031
Pounding Rice
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 43. An identical online print bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0032
Geishia Playing Samisen
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several studio prints with similar titles, including 146, 187, 347, 348.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0033
(Karasaki Pine Tree) At Biwa Lake
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number on image (faint): 837? Studio list number: 1237.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0034
Daibutsu or Bronze Image at Nara
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Label includes detailed caption about the statue. Number in print: 843. An identical online print carries the number 1243. This and the next three prints are mounted on two hinged boards.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0035
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Portrait of young woman, standing. The Mt. Fuji backdrop can be found in other images of this period and are attributed to Kimbei (see his "Three Girls," number 18, online). An identical online image, however, is attributed to Baron von Stillfried.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0036
Girls at Home
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several studio list numbers for the same title: 10, 251, and 259. There are Kimbei studio prints online that bear these numbers, but none is the same as this one. Although the tinting is similar to the Kimbei studio's work, the setting and image tonality resemble prints from Kajima Seibei's studio.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0037
Biwa Lake, from Ishiyama
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1236.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0038
Cleaning Rice
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 59. This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0039
View of Osaka Castle
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Identical prints online bear the corresponding studio list number label 1227.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0040
Tennoji Buddhist Temple at Osaka
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1225.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0041
Cutting Rice
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. An identical print carries the number 58, but the number 58 on a known Kimbei studio list does not match this subject.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0042
Dancing Party
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 22. Identical online print bears this number. Six young women, three playing instruments, interior scene. This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0043
Kiyomidzu, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1315, titled "Kiyomizu in Kioto."

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0044
Kiyomidzu Temple, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Identical print online bears the coresponding studio list number label 1312. Image is actually the Koyasu Pagoda at the entrance gate to the Kiyomizu temple, which is not figured.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0045
Sweeping
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number from studio list (not on print): 124.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0046
Kiyomidzu, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 866; this does not match studio list numbers for Kyoto images. View of row of stone markers in temple gardens.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0047
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Full-length portrait of two women with basket hats almost covering their faces, standing and playing flutes.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0048
Gojo-saka (Hill-side) Otani, Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative: 870. Studio list number (not on print): 1318.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0049
Japanese Babies
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Seems to be a photograph of a photo-montage of uncertain authorship. Not the same as the famous "1700 Babies" by Japanese photographer Etaki.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0050
Spectacle Bridge af Otani, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number on print: 874.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0051
Country-women
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Studio list print "Country Woman Carrying Branches" is numbered 150.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0052
Selling Flowers
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Identical online print is labeled 103, title on studio list is "Flower Seller." Studio list number 222 is titled "Selling Flower." This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0053
Japanese Tattoo
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are several prints bearing this title on studio list: 145, 153, and 228; 327 is titled "Tattoed Man." The Getty Museum attributes this image to either Kimbei or Baron Raimund von Stillfried.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0054
Coolie Winter Dress
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Close-up portrait. May be "Coolie wearing straw coat," studio list number 129.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0055
Japanese Junk
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 137, "Japanese Junks." An identical online print bears this title and number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0056
View of Kintai Bashi Bridge at Iwakuni
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1430.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0057
Washing at Home
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 31.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0058
Papenberg, Nagasaki
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1401. An identical online print bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0059
Carrying Baby
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. May be image with title on studio list "Carrying Child," number 113.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0060
Suma-Dera, Harima, Near Kobe
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1216. This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0061
Japanese Funeral
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 20.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0062
Japanese Funeral in a Temple
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 21.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0063
Otaki Ro Male Waterfall, at Kobe
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1209.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0064
View of Nagasaki
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1420.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0065
Girl Looking at Two Mirrors
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. An identical online print carries the label, "Girl, Dressing Her Hair," studio list number 114.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0066
Graveyard of Kaishinji, at Nagasaki
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1422.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0067
Dressing
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 340. An identical online print carries this same number but is titled "Dressing, Obi."

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0068
Porcelain Shop
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 9.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0069
Geishia Playing Samisen
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print) for "Geisha Playing on Samisen": 187.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0070
Kago, Travelling-Chair
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Several entries on the studio list share this title.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0071
Dancing Party
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 5. An identical online print bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0072
Umbrella Maker
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 162. This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0073
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Portrait of a young woman with elaborate headdress.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0074
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Portrait of a young woman touching her hair pins.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0075
Basket Vender
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print) for "Basket Seller": 110. An identical online print carries this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0076
Shoe-Meker [-Maker]
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (seen very faintly on the block underneath the shoemaker's cleaver): 355, titled "Japanese Shoe Store."

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0077
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Portrait of a smiling young woman, seated, in an obi.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0078
Nishi Honganji (Buddsht [Buddhist] Temple), Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number for this title (not on print): 1329.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0079
Wrestlers
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are many prints on the studio list with this title: 166, 313-318.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0080
Tea House Girls
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print), also present on identical prints: 24. Studio listing gives title as "Tea House." This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0081
Musume Summer Costume
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. There are two similar titles on studio list: "Girl Summer Costume," and "Girl, in Summer Dress," numbers 377 and 139 respectively.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0082
Girl in Winter Costume
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 57.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0083
Basket Maker
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Print is attributed to the photographer Yamamoto (active 1870s) going by the props used in other images known to be by Yamamoto. Yamamoto prints often end up in Kimbei albums in the 1880s. "Basket Seller" (110) by Kimbei is a different image.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0084
Buddhist Images in Great Gate Chionin, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Probably "Images in Great Gate Chion-In," studio list number 1307, borne by another identical print in another collection. However, number on this print, 859, does not correspond to to the circa 1893 Kimbei studio list.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0085
Sleeping Girl
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 85.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0086
Chion In, Temple (Great Gate) at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Probably "Great Gate in Chion-In Temple," studio list number 1305, borne by another identical online print in another collection. However, number on this print, 857 (in image), does not correspond to the circa 1893 Kimbei studio list.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0087
Tea-Drinking
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 101. An identical online print bears this number.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0088
Playing with Music
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 23? An identical print in the Getty Museum bears the negative number 121, titled on the Kimbei studio list as "Playing and Dancing." This and the next five prints are part of a group on three hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0089
Home Bathing
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Image of geishas bathing is attributed by the Getty Museum to Baron von Stillfried. The head of the woman on the right in the Kimbei album print has been replaced by the head of another woman on other prints of the same image, including the one in the Getty Museum.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0090
Geisha Playing at Go, (Draught)
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Possible attribution to Baron von Stillfried by the Getty Museum. The same title on the Kimbei studio list carries the number 71, but the image has not been identified with this print.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0091
View of Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative is 856, which does not correspond to titles on circa 1893 studio image list. Identical print online is numbered 1304, which does correspond.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0092
Maruyama, Hotel at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative is 853, which does not correspond to titles on circa 1893 studio image list. Identical print online is numbered 1301, which does correspond, but is titled "View of Maruyama and Yaami's Hotel."

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0093
Gion Machi Street, at Kioto
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Number in negative is 878, which does not correspond to titles on circa 1893 studio image list. Identical New York Public Library print is numbered 1326, which does correspond; studio list title is "Gion Street." Gion was a popular geisha district.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0094
View of Sumiyoshi Bridge at Osaka
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1233. Identical print at the Smithsonian numbered in negative 833. Also known as Soribashi Bridge at Sumiyoshi Shrine, as well as Taikobashi (Drum Bridge). This and the next three prints are on hinged mounts.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0095
Samurai in Armour
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 109. An identical online print carries this number on a label.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0096
Preparing Rice Ground
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

No number. Title on studio list "Preparing Rice Ground (Ploughing)" is not the same image. There are several prints on the list with the title "Rice planting": number 141 is not this image.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0097
Theater at Osaka
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

Studio list number (not on print): 1231. Identical print at New York Public Library bears matching studio list number 1231.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0098
Metaki (Waterfall), at Kobe
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

This print is mounted to the interior board of the front album cover. A color copy is available in this folder.

Studio list number (not on print): 1208, titled "Metaki or Female Waterfall, Kobe."

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0099
No known title
(Albumen print, hand-colored)

This portrait of a young woman is mounted on the interior board of the rear album cover. There is no number. A color viewing copy is available in the collection folder.

An identical print in the Getty Museum is titled "Officer's Daughter," and is attributed to Baron von Stillfried. It was reportedly a popular image and is found in other albums from different studios.

Box 1
Image RL.11696-P-0100

2. Original Enclosures

3 Linear Feet, 2 boxes

Original black lacquer covers are decorated with ivory and gold inlay. The intricate front cover scene shows a fishing boat on a lake with a man, small child, and a woman catching a lively fish, surveyed by a cormorant on a post high above the water. The back cover features a delicate botanical design inlay. Cover dimensions are 10 3/4 x 13 7/8 inches.

A large-format Kusakabe albumen print is pasted on the inside of each cover. Please do not take covers out of the trays to see these prints: color photocopies are available in the last folder in the prints box.

The original presentation box is made of paper boards with an embossed red and gilt design featuring botanical elements and stylized animals. Dimensions are 11 1/4 x 14 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.

Presentation box and lacquer covers are extremely fragile and must be used under staff supervision.

Presentation box

Presentation box is extremely fragile and must be used with staff supervision.

Box 2
Black lacquer inlay covers

Lacquer covers are extremely fragile and must be used with staff supervision. Do not take covers out of trays!

Color photocopies of the prints pasted on the inside of each cover are available in the last folder in the prints box.

Box 3
 

Historical Note

Kimbei, or Kinbē, Kusakabe (1841-1932) was a Japanese photographer who first learned the art as an assistant to European photographers Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried. Kusakabe soon established his own studio and storefront in Yokohama, becoming a well-respected photographer as well as a souvenir print and photography supplies dealer, and later established a Tokyo branch. Over time he acquired negative stock and perhaps prints from several photographers, including his former mentor, Baron von Stillfried.

A published studio list from about 1893 documents over 2000 images, ranging from portraits of Japanese "types" to landscapes and landmarks in Japan. His photographic work was highly regarded and known for its subtlety and artistic composition.


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Provenance

The Kimbei Kusakabe photograph album with costumes, portraits, occupations, and views of Japan was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.

Other Notes

To better preserve the album, whose original enclosures were becoming vulnerable to damage through further use, Conservation staff carefully disassembled it and created three custom boxes for the components. All of the components are fragile and delicate, and must be handled with supervision from staff.