The Lamp
June, 1904
Shimbi Shoin Related Article


Goodrich, J.T. (Professor in the Government College Kyoto, Japan):
Japanese Fine Art Publications, published in The Lamp, A Review and Record of Current Literature, 1904, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, Volume XXVIII, Number 5, June, 1904, at pages 425-428.

Professor Goodrich presents a contemporary report on Japanese fine art publications. The bulk of the article deals with the Shimbi Shoin works in this regard. The article states:

Thus was formed the Nippon Shimbi Kyokwai, the Japan Fine Art Society, to which was given the exclusive right to photograph the beautiful things belonging to those old Buddhist temples, and soon the Imperial Household and the families of nobles and of wealthy commoners, followed the good examples, and now the Shimbi Shoin, the successor of the other association has the privilege of reproducing practically everything of artistic value that there is in this land. At first under the editorship of Mr. Shiichi Tajima, it was decided to reproduce one thousand of the best treasures, in twenty volumes of about fifty plates each in a set called Shimbi Taikwan, or as it was rendered, unsatisfactorily, in English, "Selected Relics of Japanese Art." It ought to be something like "Reproductions of the Best of Japan's Ancient Art Treasures," but the first title has been crystallized and cannot readily be changed. Ten volumes have appeared, and two or three new ones are to be issued each year until the set is complete. The volumes are somewhat heterogeneous in their contents, for one may have some pictures brought from China alongside of others that were of really native production, and interspersed with these will be collotypes of wood-carvings, or earthen figures, or temple ornaments in metal; and on one page may be a bit from a temple in the west of Japan, while the next carries us far away to the east: all this apparent confusion has been necessitated by the reason of the difficulty of getting just the right opportunity to proceed in something like order. Each plate of the series is accompanied by a descriptive text in Japanese and a full translation in English, the latter under the supervision of a competent English editor, giving the title of the picture or the name of the article reproduced, it's dimensions, its owner, something of the history of the thing itself, and a short biographical sketch of the artist when he is know. The volumes are 19 inches by 13 1/2 inches, and the paper, presswork and binding are most attractive and perfectly harmonious and this means a good deal when applied to an artistic production in Japan.

For the venture is even now satisfactorily successful, and as the volumes become known in other lands and art-lovers in America and Europe realize what an opportunity they give for a clear understanding of Japan's Art, the business is sure to be very profitable. It can hardly be such an estimable deed as Mr. Tajima's will go unrewarded. (at pages 426 - 428)

This article has been digitally record by Google Books and is found here.


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