An incredibly rare Ambrotype. Though most photographers from this era in Japan chose to make single or group portraits in more formal, studio settings, this image gives us a highly unusual subject: a merchant/occupational scene, photographed outdoors. The children are most likely pictured with their father. An important document of a seldom-depicted aspect of 19th-century Japanese society.
There is some crazing in the image, overall; areas of emulsion abraded lower right and left.
Red ink studio stamp on inside case lid is partially illegible. Studio name includes the words "Tokyo Asakusa Okuyama" which gives evidence of the studio's location in the Okuyama district--a hotbed of commercial photographic activity at the time. Inscription on case bottom, verso, reads (translation): Photo taken at Asakusa Keida of Seisaku Funaoko, January [date range illegible, possibly the 11th, 12th or 16th].
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Medium Ambrotype in Original Kiri-Wood Case
Photo Date 1870s Print Date 1870's
Dimensions 4.25 x 3 in. (108 x 76 mm)
Photo Country Japan
Photographer Country Japan
Charles Schwartz Ltd.