Anonymous (Japanese) Portrait of Iwasaki Misaro and Murai Yoshiro
Medium Ambrotype in Original Kiri-Wood Case
Photo Date Dec. 12 1886
Dimensions 4 x 3 in. (102 x 76 mm)
Photographer Country Japan
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About This Image
his full-length portrait of two men is full of character and compelling detail. Both men sport high-collared winter kimonos (traditional garb) and Western style hats. The man on the left holds what appears to be a riding crop or cane (it is blurred at the end, from motion), wears a watch fob (again, in emulation of Western custom), and has his other hand is tucked deep into his sleeve. The seated man tucks his hands in the fabric of his sash. There is a complex mix of Eastern and Western influence here, and the men's desire to appear sophisticated and modern is almost palpable. Still, numerous conventions of Japanese pride and tradition are evident.
This photo studio was located in Kyoto. Numerous calligraphic inscriptions appear on the case lids. Inside lid inscribed: Meiji '19  Dec. 12 at 12:00 afternoon. Iwasaki Misaro age 31 of Hikone Ichiban-cho [address in Hikone City] and Murai Yoshiro...age 37 and 7 months.
Case top bears red stamp "Okazaki." this is the Kyoto studio of Okazaki Ichinao, which was officially named "Shinkyogoku" located at Sanjo Minami.
Note: accompanying this image is a carte-de-visite of Murai from this sitting, showing him wearing the same hat. The verso of the c-d-v bears the Okazaki Studio label with full address and studio name.
This ambrotype was exhibited at the Izu Museum in Japan in 2010
Illustrated in: Batchen, Suspending Time: Life- Photography-Death, Izu Photo Museum, 2010, p. 65
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