A tea house, Japan, 1863-1864.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm

A tea house, Japan, 1863-1864.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Engraving from 'Zhivopisnaia Iaponiia', (St Petersburg, 1870), a Russian translation of 'Le Japon illustree' ('Japan illustrated'), (Paris, 1870) by Swiss diplomat Aime Humbert (1819-1900) who spent two years in Japan from 1863 to 1864. Tea-drinking is an important social institution in Japan. Here, travellers are visiting a roadside teahouse. As Envoy Extraordinary Minister Plenipotentiary for Switzerland, Humbert was able to travel beyond the barriers of the foreign settlement at Yokohama, including areas inaccessible to the ordinary person. The text illustrates and discusses the life, customs and activities of the Japanese, before the influence of foreign powers; the engravings are based on sketches and photographs done while en route.

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