Photographs taken in Japan between the late Edo period and early Meiji periods found their way overseas, and played a major role in forming Westerners' image of Japan. Among these collections, the pictures gathered by the Swiss diplomat Aime Humbert (1819-1900) in the 1860s were crucial in building lasting representations of the island nation: many of these, mainly collected in 1863/64 during a sojourn in Yokohama and Edo, were used as sources for the well-known and largely distributed engravings of his famous book Le Japon illustre, published in Paris in 1870. Belonging to the collection of the MEN, these beautiful and well-preserved photographs are published here for the first time. Presented by Japanese and Swiss scholars before the narrative backdrop of their acquisition and application by foreigners, they offer a striking view of a lost world.
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