HAIDEN, SHIBA TEMPLE in TOKYO
1880s Photo by Kimbei Kusakabe. 1893 Kimbei Cataolog No. 609.
Recently. I've been pretty down on religion in a few of my photo captions and comments (not without good reason, mind you), so I decided to REPENT, and post a a couple of Japanese Temple shots --- photos that I'd normally use to line the bottom of my bird cage.
I suppose this is good for personal discipline. Most every photo collector I know absolutely HATES "Shrine and Temple Views". Even Japanese photo collectors hate them. And yet, they sometimes fill half of the old photo albums from the Meiji era. Yuck. But now, I will rise ABOVE MY HATRED of such views, and dedicate some sacred flickr Kilobytes to them.
(.....I once bought, sight unseen, a 200-view 3-D set of Old Italy. It was by a well known Meiji-era publisher, and I assumed it would have great scenic and people views. After it arrived, to my horror I discovered that about 190 of the views were nothing but photographs of every Cathedral in Rome from every angle. The Spiritual side of me immediately knew that the photographer and publisher should have BOTH been taken out and shot......)
Anyway......let me go against my personality and better judgment, and try to say something NICE and FRIENDLY and POSITIVE about these old "Temple Views"...
(1) The colorists employed by the photo studios to paint such extreme waste of photographic paper were extremely talented.
(2) The pictures are in focus, well exposed, and well printed.
(3) The Architects that designed these repositories of superstition and national suppression were very talented.
(4) The carpenters and stone masons that could have been used elsewhere in the land to better effect did an admirable job with the most basic of tools that showed just how talented they were.
(5) The artistic woodcarvers and painters proved themselves to be some of the worlds greatest, in spite of the fact that government and religion pushed them into a rut, forcing them to carve, paint, and cut the SAME designs over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again at Temple after Temple after Temple after Temple after Temple after Temple after Temple after Temple.........
That's enough. I think I'm going to go get a beer.
日下部 金兵衛 (1841 - 1934)