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Saiko fukei (Beautiful West Lake)

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2008,3035.21

  • Title (object)

    • Saiko fukei (Beautiful West Lake)
  • Description

    Photobook, one volume, first edition. No. 322 of a limited edition of 500 copies. Frontispiece and 24 photographic plates. Original boards with printed title-slip in decorated slipcase. Signed and dated by the photographer

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1931
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Curator's comments

    Photographs of China's most beautiful lake. The West-lake has been famous throughout China since the Tang dynasty, when its scenic virtues were extolled by a large number of poets. The Gaozong Emperor established the Southern Song capital on the shores of this lake (Lin'an, modern-day Hangzhou) in 1136. By the 17th century a canon of famous scenes (meisho) had been established, that were recorded in guidebooks, poems and scroll paintings. However, Fukuhara takes a fresh look at the lake. He consciously breaks with the tradition of recording the famous gardens, temples, bridges and pagodas, but instead focuses on small details and the contemporary atmospheric beauty of the lake. A typical example of his approach is the image of the lake as seen from the northern shore, a composition that is dominated by four harmonizing lines: In the foreground is the shore with a modern hotel. A metal bridge with pavilions (slightly reminiscent of Brighton) cuts across the centre of the lake, while in the distance one can make out the gently sloping bridge of the famous Bai-dike and beyond the hazy eastern shore. Another example is the image of a willow tree in front of a white wall next to a stone bridge, a sparse and slightly lonely scene. A gem. Only one copy in OCLC. (Titus Boeder, 4/2007)

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  • Bibliography

    • Boeder 2007 21 bibliographic details
  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2008

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    2008,3035.21

  • Additional IDs

    • PB.278 (Photobook number)

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Object reference number: JCF20377

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