Printed Cottons of Asia ; The Romance of Trade Textiles by Tamezo Osumi ; Revised and adapted from an English translation by George Saito
Tokyo, Japan ; Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, 1963. Hardcover. 186 pages ; illustrated ; 33 cm. Soiling to the dust jacket cover, otherwise the rest of the book is in very good condition with clean and unmarked pages, and binding is firm.
In the middle years of the sixteenth century, Portuguese and Dutch traders first penetrated the northern Pacific to the coasts of Japan. Their ships brought many new prod and ideas, and among the foreign merchandise that excited curiosity were the colorful printed cottons from India, Java, Siam, and China that came to be known in Japan as sarasa and in Europe as chintz. The Japanese were surprised and fascinated by the Strange designs in gay, vivid colors. Japan, no less than Europe, proved a ready market for these brilliant fabrics, and the trade textiles, introduced by foreigners, becanle an example of a completely alien product that was treasured and later assimilated into traditional techniques and designs.
It is with these printed cottons of Asia that this remarkable and lavishly illustrated book is concerned. The textiles from which the illukårations (all in color) were made are in private Japanese collections that were gathered, for the mokå part, from the trickle of foreign goods that continued during the Edo period ( 1603—1868), when the earlier flow had been almoéi entirely cut off by the isolation policy of the Tokugawa shoguns. The plates thus show aétual samples of printed cottons that were available to Japanese craftsmen of the period. At the same time, they provide the reader with a rare opportunity to observe treasures not ordinarily placed on public display.
The text presents a general view of the subjeét for those whose intereßi lies primarily in the patterns and colors themselves. Beginning with an account of the birth of the Indian textile trade, it goes on to discuss the impact of chintz on Japan, traditional pattern and Såyle in Indian chintz, and, finally, cotton fabrics and cotton printing.
In a word, this unusual work, as an English version of the only well-illuStrated Japanese book on the subject, offérs the Western reader a delightful introduétion to these hitherto neglected fabrics—intervals of pattern and color that merit the serious Study of scholars and designers everywhere in the world,
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