japonisme

27 August 2007

When a prosperous Maryland physician, Dr. Alexander Hamilton, set out in 1744 on a horse- back journey "intended only for health and

recre-
ation," he was doing some- thing highly unusual in the America of that day: travelling for pleasure.
Within a couple of decades, a handful of other colonial gentry were seeking relaxation and fresh air at such seacoast spots as Newport, R.I., and mineral springs at such primitive retreats as Berkeley Springs in Virginia and Bristol near Philadelphia. They were among America's first vacationers, although few would use that word to describe them until the mid-19th century. 1

and in japan even later
the concept of beach vacations and summer homes was first introduced to japan by the western residents of the international settlements. formerly, swimming was a military practice in a particular style, and bathing in the sea was carried out as a purification ceremony, with specified days of the month throughout the year for entering the water. 2

while public bathing has existed in parts of the east and parts of the west since ancient times, a middle class was needed before vacations could be invented. i find it interesting that in purvis's prints we can see that the outlines from the japanese prints have been dropped, leaving the flat planes of color to stand on their own.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous antonia said...

oh another lovely waterlily-boat picture. strange, people did not bath just for pleasure in the sea, I thought this was the closest thing possible and not rituals, even though rituals make perfect sense.

29 August, 2007 14:19  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i'n glad you like that image--walter j phillips did a lot of them. i think this one is my favorite.

i was really surprised to learn this. it's hard to project into a mind set that doesn't notice this possibility.

but i suppose there are many things like that....

29 August, 2007 15:06  
Anonymous antonia said...

oh yes that's a very lovely favourite waterlily :)

31 August, 2007 01:22  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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