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J.R. Black (editor)
The Far East
Bjarne Tokerud Bookseller
Illustrated with 82 Albumen Photographs
[Photographs of China and Japan]. BLACK , J.R. ed. The Far East. A Monthly Journal, Illustrated with Photographs . Shanghai: 'Far East' Printing Office, 1876-1877. 2 Volumes. Quarto (26.5 x 22cm). 1st edition. New series. Volumes 1 & 2. iv +ii+152pp, with 43 original albumen photographs, and 1 illustration in the text (page 45); Iv + 138pp, with 39 original albumen photographs. Total: 82 tipped-in photographs (sizes ranging between 8.5 x 8cm and 20 x14 cm).
Volume One: original publisher's crimson half morocco, moiré cloth. Volume Two: full red morocco, each volume re-spined in period-style matching red calf, gilt. Front and rear boards of Volume One moiré cloth discoloured. Pages wavy from the mounted photographs. Over all a very good set indeed with the photographs in very good to fine condition, with good tonality. Approximately 55 images relate to China.
"It was in May 1870, that [Black] first conceived the idea of publishing a newspaper illustrated with photographs of the Far East." [From the Introduction]. The photographs provide a vivid insight into to the daily life and personalities in China, including:
temples in Shanghai (Temple of Confucius)
images of beggars
high-ranking Chinese officials (incl. the Governor of Nanking, and the famous statesman Li Hong-zhang)
a Shanghai merchant's wife
a small number of missionary and political figures (incl. Sir Thomas Wade, Samuel Wells Williams, Robert Hart, Medhurst, Sir Harry Parkes)
punishment of the Cangue (Hongkew Police Station)
-bound feet of a Chinese woman
two group photos of American Presbyterian Mission Conference at Shanghai
In addition, there are photographs of Japan, including:
tea houses in Tokyo
Japanese Buddhist priests
Gernsheim, Incunabula of British Photography: Bibliography of British Photographic Literature, 1839-75, and British Books Illustrated with Original Photographs, Item 635
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The Far East was initially a fortnightly journal published in Yokohama, Japan by John R. Black 1870-75. The journal was a newspaper covering events mainly in Japan but also in other countries in the Far East. Importantly it was illustrated with actual photographs which were tipped in to each issue. Although the occasional volume has appeared at auction it remains an exceptionally rare work. Only two or three complete runs of the first series are known to exist. One regrettable reason is that when issues or the odd volume appears the rare photographs are sometimes removed and sold separately. After a short break, Black commenced a second series in July 1876 and the journal was then published monthly. It ran until December 1878. The second series was published in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong and had a much greater focus on China and appears to be even rarer than the first series.
Courtesy of Terry Bennett (Old Japan - www.old-japan.co.uk)