On the Laws of Japanese Painting: An Introduction to the Study of the Art of Japan

On the Laws of Japanese Painting: An Introduction to the Study of the Art of Japan

On the Laws of Japanese Painting: An Introduction to the Study of the Art of Japan

On the Laws of Japanese Painting: An Introduction to the Study of the Art of Japan

Excerpt

First of all, I should state that in the year 1909 I accompanied the Honorable Japanese Commercial Commissioners in their visit to the various American capitals and other cities of the United States, where we were met with the heartiest welcome, and for which we all felt the most profound gratitude. We were all so happy, but I was especially so; indeed, it would be impossible to be more happy than I felt, and particularly was this true of one day, namely, the twenty-seventh of November of the year named, when Henry P. Bowie, Esq., invited us to hit residence in San Mateo, where we found erected by him a Memorial Gate to commemorate our victories in the Japanese-Russian War; and its dedication had been reserved for this day of our visit. Suspended above the portals was a bronze tablet inscribed with letters written by my late father, Ichi Roku. The evening of that same day we were invited by our host to a reception extended to us in San Francisco by the Japan Society of America, where I had the honor of delivering a short address on Japanese folk-lore. In adjoining halls was exhibited a large collection of Japanese writings and paintings, the latter chiefly the work of the artist, Kubota Beisen, while the writings were from the brush of my deceased father, between whom and Mr. Bowie there existed the relations of the warmest friendship and mutual esteem.

Two years or more have passed and I am now in receipt of information from Mr. Shimada Sekko that Mr. Bowie is about to publish a work upon the laws of Japanese painting and I am requested to write a preface to the same. I am well aware how unfitted I am for such an undertaking, but in view of all I have here related I feel I am not permitted to refuse.

Indeed, it seems to me that the art of our country has for many years past been introduced to the public of Europe and America in all sorts of ways, and hundreds of books about Japanese art have appeared in several foreign languages; but I have been privately alarmed for the reason that a great many such books contain either superficial observations made during sightseeing sajourns of six months or a year in our country or are but hasty commentaries, compilations, extracts or references, chosen here and therefrom other . . .

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