japonisme: 8/24/08 - 8/31/08

30 August 2008

from the hut of the phantom dwelling

An eminent monk of Mount Kora in Tsukushi, the son of a certain Kai of the Kamo Shrine, recently journeyed to Kyoto, and I got someone to ask him if he would write a plaque for me. He readily agreed, dipped his brush, and wrote the three characters Gen-ju-an. He sent me the plaque, and I keep it as a memorial of my grass hut.

Mountain home, traveler's rest -- call it what you will, it's hardly the kind of place where you need any great store of belongings. A cypress bark hat from Kiso, a sedge rain cape from Koshi-that's all that hang on the post above my pillow.

In the daytime, I'm once in a while diverted by people who stop to visit. The old man who takes care of the shrine or the men from the village come and tell me about the wild boar who's been eating the rice plants, the rabbits that are getting at the bean patches, tales of farm matters that are all quite new to me.

And when the sun has begun to sink behind the rim of the hills, I sit quietly in the evening waiting for the moon so I may have my shadow for company, or light a lamp and discuss right and wrong with my silhouette.

But when all has been said, I'm not really the kind who is so completely enamored of solitude that he must hide every trace of himself away in the mountains and wilds. It's just that, troubled by frequent illness and weary of dealing with people, I've come to dislike society.

Again and again I think of the mistakes I've made in my clumsiness over the course of the years. There was a time when I envied those who had government offices or impressive domains, and on another occasion I considered entering the precincts of the Buddha and the teaching rooms of the patriarchs.

Instead, I've worn out my body in journeys that are as aimless as the winds and clouds, and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. But somehow I've been able to make a living this way, and so in the end, unskilled and talentless as I am, I give myself wholly to this one concern, poetry.

Bo Juyi worked so hard at it that he almost ruined his five vital organs, and Du Fu grew lean and emaciated because of it. As far as intelligence or the quality of our writings go, I can never compare to such men. And yet we all in the end live, do we not, in a phantom dwelling? But enough of that -- I'm off to bed.

Bashô 1

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it was fascination, i know

we've talked endlessly about the west's fascination with japanese prints, and some about the inverse. but only very little about the world's fascination with the world's fascination with japanese prints. and the fascination with the people fascinated with the western posters produced by those fascinated with the japanese prints. if you get what i mean.

the woodblock prints are featured in many of william merritt chase's prints that have been featured here; in keeping with the contemporary vogue for Japonisme, Chase adopted Japanese props. He often tilted the picture plane and cropped the composition, devices common to Japanese prints. 1

and note the delight and thoughtfulness with which these viewers are depicted.

we've also met robert blum. this piece was likely painted while he was in japan. is she viewing degas or utamaro?

and on the right, self paints self viewing self. in another costume?

click on the image to be transported to another realm.

i wish i could tell exactly what is being looked at in these images. in most of them, you can if the print or poster is eastern or western, but in how many of them are the creators showing their own work being viewed?

is this poster being viewed a third known image by otto fischer?

Leonnec was to Rene Vincent what Gene Vincent was to Elvis--a gifted emulator, lacking the emotive depth and range of the great one, but offering works of unique, very effective quirkiness. Whereas Rene Vincent could charm with a cosmopolitan dash, Leonnec mined the humor and poignancy of a rustic France coming up against the modern world. 2

i think it's pretty clear manuel robbe had his viewers viewing themselves. or each other. he has many images similar to these; sometimes the women are poring over pieces of music or picture books. was it possible for them to look at prints of themselves looking at prints?

the spa- nish and the po- lish lov- ed the japanese.

the germans loved the italians and the french loved, well, the french. and we all know tissot's love of those loving the japanese.

and therefore, what we have here is your fascination watching my fascination with artists whose fascination with prints drove them to create images of people fascinated with images of... themselves?

so what else is new?

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26 August 2008

it's a small world after all....

People, April 8, 1991

No Pussycat in Court, Peggy Lee Nips Disney for $3.8 Million

The stars of the film were cartoon canines, but the soul of the 1955 Disney classic Lady and the Tramp belonged to jazz diva Peggy Lee. In addition to penning the lyrics to the film’s six songs, Lee slunk through a Pekingese torch song; provided the dulcet tones of Darling, Lady’s mistress; and purred the terrorist intentions of the felines Si and Am, whose high-pitched harmonies burned the lyric "We are Siamese, if you please" into the minds of a generation. Or two.

Unfortunately for Lee, who earned $3,500 for her contributions to Lady, her contract was written long before videos. As a result, though the Walt Disney Company has made about $35 million from video sales of the animated classic, Lee’s share of the proceeds didn’t amount to a tray of used kitty litter. Now, in response to a lawsuit brought by Lee, a Los Angeles jury has decided to rectify the situation by awarding her $3.8 million.

Although Disney is expected to appeal, Lee, now 70, is happy to be out of the courtroom for now. "The strain of the trial was tough on me," says the chanteuse, who has diabetes and heart problems and has been wheelchair-bound since a 1987 fall in Las Vegas. She says the money will ensure a financial legacy for her daughter, Nicki, 47, who manages and art gallery in Ketchum, Idaho, and her three grandchildren, now in their 20s.

"You know, they always say, ‘Don’t mess with the Mouse,’" says Lee, referring to Disney’s big-eared symbol and standard-bearer. "I’m glad that my rights were vindicated."

author unknown 1

(merci to the vintage poster blog and thank you to the allure blog for wondrous images.)

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take three

okay--here's my latest theory: in her perhaps-too-clever-for-her-own-good attempt to create her own 'chop,' as was the thing-to-do at that time, she reversed her E, thus creating what looked more like a B than a creative reuse of her own initials.

the font i used was a demo of a jessie m king font from scriptorium. jessie m king was also part of the glasgow scene at the same time, and in fact the two women did projects together.

I can hear it now:

Ethel Larcombe: Hey! check out this cool new chop I made!

Jessie M. King: Good try, Elly, but it looks too much like a B!

EL: Oh Jess, you're always such a buzz-kill.

JMK: You just wait -- a hundred years from now, nobody will know who did your most famous drawing!

EL: Now you're saying I've already peaked??!


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