Pic of the Day: Victorian Japan


In the 1880s, during the late Tokugawa Era in Japan that coincided with the Occidental Victorian period, photographer Adolfo Farsari documented the cultural costumes of a world that had theretofore only existed in the wildest imagination of Europeans. Quazen has posted a host of Farsari’s images — commercial prints hand-tinted with dyes — taken from a Flickr set comprising 47 photos taken circa 1886. The internet, it’s a magical thing. Step into our time machine after the jump.

“He began his career as a military man and served for a while in the Union Army in the American Civil War. Perhaps this image of Japanese warriors reflected his interest in the military but they are certainly resplendent in their heavy looking armor.”

“Something of a libertarian, Farsari had joined the Civil War as he was a fervent abolitionist and his photographs reflect his ideas of equality — women are portrayed as often as men and not in subservient positions.”

“His compositions were designed to be sold mostly to foreign visitors to Japan. His landscapes often picture what we might call a slightly enhanced version — even romanticized — of Japan but were very highly regarded at the time.”

“A street scene from the late 1880s. It cannot be understated just how difficult it would have been to capture this scene at the time… As a piece of social history this photograph is invaluable.”

[Via Quazen, who tells the complete, fascinating history of Farsari’s work in Japan.]