Japan, exoticised by western eyes since the country opened its doors to foreign powers, has fascinated explorers, historians and artists for centuries. The Guimet Asian Arts National Museum in Paris, housing the largest collection of Asian arts outside of Asia, has collected an invaluable array of historical photographs taken in Japan in the 19th century. These views of a pivotal time in the nation’s history are gathered into one portfolio in coordination with the 2015 Kyotographie photography festival in Kyoto.
The select group of 26 images focuses on the esteemed Japanese Samurai, including work by both Japanese and foreign photographers. The combination of exoticised and familiar views of these legendary warriors allows a rare glimpse into their now obsolete way of life.
The 19th century prints are reintroduced as collotypes by master craftspeople at the Benrido Atelier. This process allows the unique tonal qualities and colors of the original prints to be faithfully replicated with maximum historical accuracy on fine art pulp paper.
The immersive limited edition of 2 hand-colored and 18 black/white prints is housed in a gorgeous red clothbound over and includes an introduction by Jerome Ghesquiere, head of photography collections at the Guimet.