“Finally the treatment these true classics deserve: thoroughly re-edited and modernized texts, with glossary, index…and beautiful layout to boot.”
John la Farge (1835–1910), traveling Japan’s interior in the summer of 1886, sees Japan in a way only he can: through the eyes of a painter, observing a vast canvas in which he discerns every color, every shade, every nuance, every remarkable detail.
With La Farge we visit the Tokugawa tombs at Nikkô, the Daibutsu at Kamakura, the many temples of the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara. We learn of the people and traditions that produced these sites that still draw millions to Japan. With him we marvel at the ingenuity of the architecture, the exquisite detail of the sculptures, the refreshing “simplicity of attitude” as expressed in the paintings.
Coming face to face with a profoundly different culture, La Farge is at times perplexed, bewildered, even frustrated, but he is always admiring—of its ingenuity, of its tenacity, of its close relationship with nature as expressed in all its manifestations.
An Artist in Japan is full of sensitive descriptions, of the pleasant domesticity of city life, of the hustle and bustle on Japan’s great thoroughfares, of everyday people going about their everyday lives. It is a marvelous panoramic view of a Japan still firmly rooted in its traditions, but already in the thrall of Westernization. It is, in short, a work of art.
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