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  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, Yamagishi neighborhood, small shrine on the side of a street
    Shinto shrine, Yamagishi neighborhood, small shrine on the side of a street

    The torii gate on the left in this image marks the presence of a shrine and its kami. Such shrines by the side of a street or a road (or in the middle of a field, or elsewhere) are common in Japan. This particular one is on a quiet back street in the Yamagishi neighborhood of Morioka. Throughout the day, passing residents stop at the shrine, bowing twice and clapping their hands twice, to summon the attention of the kami, then standing quietly with clasped hands and head bowed in prayer or in thanksgiving. -- The stone torii on the right marks the path that leads up the stone stairs to a shrine at the top of the hill, overlooking the Yamagishi district.

  • Thumbnail for Environmental Implications of Japan's Geology 17, Accessibility of natural world in traditional Japanese building style.
    Environmental Implications of Japan's Geology 17, Accessibility of natural world in traditional Japanese building style.

    Accessibility of natural world in traditional Japanese building style. -- Over the centuries the constant threat of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods and tsunami in Japan have produced a culture that emphasizes co-existence with nature rather than the more typical Western approach of trying to overcome or modify the natural world. It is, therefore, not surprising that traditional Japanese buildings have sliding panels that can be opened to allow the outside world to merge with that inside the building. The boundary between inside and outside becomes less well defined and the inside becomes almost an extension of the natural environment.

  • Thumbnail for Japan, 1951:  Bicycles frequently used for transportation
    Japan, 1951: Bicycles frequently used for transportation

    In the early period after the war, bicycle were perhaps the most common form of transportation used in Japan, even for the transporting of goods, as seen in this image. [note: description written by IDEAS editor. The photographer, Arthur O. Rinden, did not provide a description for this image.]

  • Thumbnail for ATM, close-up 1
    ATM, close-up 1

    A closer look at a Japanese ATM.

  • Thumbnail for Post Office:  Hoka Mado
    Post Office: Hoka Mado

    Text: "Hoka no madoguchi o go-riyoo kudasai" ("Please go to the next station")

  • Thumbnail for Railway Employees Moving People
    Railway Employees Moving People

    Even though this picture was taken in the 60's, it could easily be replicated today. People in Tokyo have had to rely on a hefty push from railway employees to get them to work during rush hour for decades.

  • Thumbnail for Funerary Vases (view 1) vase 1
    Funerary Vases (view 1) vase 1

    One of two funerary vases. This unusual green glaze jar belongs to a particular type of funerary vessel made during the Three Kingdoms and Western Jin dynasties. Called a hunping (spirit jar), it has a long tapered body topped by a configuration of architectural elements and animals. In this example, figures circle the jar as other creatures swarm up the neck of the container.

  • Thumbnail for Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: two friends greeting eachother
    Sketches of Men and Things of Fuchou China: two friends greeting eachother

    A (Western style) bound volume, consisting of 175 pages with text in English by a missionary, with ink drawings done by a Chinese artist. Text and drawings illustrate Chinese people and their activities with detailed depiction of tools and other objects, and activities of everyday life in Fuzhou. According to Susan Huntington, this sort of book was commonly produced by British missionaries to India. This was a very impressive, interesting group of pictures of daily life and people of China. The black ink sketches on the right hand pages are labeled in Chinese, often with English translations. The left-side pages are English descriptions of the activities and objects illustrated by the ink drawings. Nathan Sites was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church who served in Fuzhou between 1861-1895. He was the first Ohio Wesleyan University graduate to serve as a missionary. The book was designed and commissioned by Rev. and Mrs. Nathan Sites, Methodist missionaries to “Fuhchou.†Drawings were made by a Chinese artist. The purpose of the book was to show relatives and friends in America the customs of Chinese in “Fuhchou.†A letter written November 7th, 1863 appears at the beginning of the journal: “Dear Friends at Home: Feeling anxious to give you as clear an understanding as we possibly could of the people, their dress, employments, mode of life of this heathen country, we hit upon the following plan as the best to convey to your minds their appearance, manner and customs. Most of these sketches are really life-like. We have seen men and women engaged in many of the employments here sketched.â€

  • Thumbnail for Dao Coin with Circular Top
    Dao Coin with Circular Top

    Dao are early coins made in the shape of weapons, datable to the 1st c BCE to the 1st century CE. Material: cast metal alloy. 7.5 cm in total length; handle is 1.2 cm in width and the circular top is 2.6 cm in width. This is an example of early coinage that was issued while the economy evolved from a barter to an monetary economy. Bronze knives and bronze spades were common barter items in ancient China, but a bit awkward or hazardous to carry around to trade. Some of China's first coins were made to look like a knife or like a stylized spade, so that people would think of them as money, however they were too thin and fragile to be used for anything but money. The knife coin and the spade coin developed in different areas of China about the same time. This knife coin is called the "Ming" after the city where it was made (not the dynasty that was much later).

  • Thumbnail for Morning of New Year’s in Ginza
    Morning of New Year’s in Ginza by Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995)

    Woodblock Print, 10.25 x 7.5 inches. A 1958 cityscape of the well-known Ginza shopping area in Tokyo, with cars and a streetcar in the dark gray foreground and with a horizon of skyscrapers against a pink sky. Dawn might also suggest Tokyo's amazing recovery 13 years after the end of the Second World War. The style Toshi used - straight horizontal, vertical and wavy lines - is unique to this print. It would have made an attractive New Year's gift for American buyers of Yoshida family prints. Many American soldiers were still stationed in Japan at that time, and many of them visited the Yoshida Studio, bought prints, and began collections that still remain intact at the present time.

  • Thumbnail for Letter Seal
    Letter Seal by Unknown

    2 (L) x 1/2 (Dia.) inches. Conical iron seal with a rattle inside and a lotus flower finial with a hole in it for a cord. Reticulated and engraved floral design, the vase with calligraphic design.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 094, Sunset Guilin
    Thorp Collection 094, Sunset Guilin

    Sunset Guilin. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. No. ecasia000072, ""Altar of Heaven at night, Beijing.""

  • Thumbnail for Shoes are removed on entering a Japanese home
    Shoes are removed on entering a Japanese home

    As one enters a Japanese home, one removes one's shoes in the entry way foyer, then steps up into the house, stepping into slippers that are worn only in the house. If one is visiting, the street shoes usually would be left on the floor in the foyer, with the shoe toes pointed away from the interior of the house, so that they can be stepped into easily as one leaves. If it is one's own home, the shoes usually would be placed in the cabinet next to the step. -- This custom has to do with the ideals of "purity," not allowing "dirt" from the outside to enter the house. This includes not only physical dirt but also, just as importantly, it includes the ideal of leaving psychic and emotional involvements with the outside world as one enters the sanctity of the home. In that sense, the removal of one's shoes is a symbolic separation from the concerns of the everyday world as one enters one's home.

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, Qur'anic inscription
    Aurangzeb Mosque, Qur'anic inscription

    Passages from the Qur'an are used as decorations and as reminders of the presence of God in homes and in public places, as well as in mosques.

  • Thumbnail for Post Office Sorting Box, close up
    Post Office Sorting Box, close up

    A sorting box, used to divide mail into prefectures, by hand.

  • Thumbnail for Air Raid Drills
    Air Raid Drills

    Air raid drills in Japan during World War II.

  • Thumbnail for Subway turnstyle
    Subway turnstyle

    A turnstyle, ready to take your ticket.

  • Thumbnail for Farmers in Japan
    Farmers in Japan

    There was a chore for everyone including the undernourished horse. The farmers accepted poverty as inevitable and were slow to accept change, even if it meant improving their lot.

  • Thumbnail for Traditional  loom
    Traditional loom

    This is a traditional loom located within the Korean folk village. Seoul, South Korea.

  • Thumbnail for Funerary Vases (view 2) vase 1
    Funerary Vases (view 2) vase 1

    One of two funerary vases. This unusual green glaze jar belongs to a particular type of funerary vessel made during the Three Kingdoms and Western Jin dynasties. Called a hunping (spirit jar), it has a long tapered body topped by a configuration of architectural elements and animals. In this example, figures circle the jar as other creatures swarm up the neck of the container.

  • Thumbnail for Fruit, Large, and Juicy
    Fruit, Large, and Juicy by Unknown

    Woodblock print, 19.5 x 26 inches. It shows Chinese workers harvesting fruit that fill the trees in an orchard. A red flag, signifying the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976, waves over heavily laden carts. This is an example of peasant art used as state propaganda. This and images like this originated as gouache paintings done by Chinese peasants. The exhibition of the paintings in France was so successful that the government directed woodblock artists to make exact copies for sale.

  • Thumbnail for “Irises and Grasshopper†from “Large Flower†Series
    “Irises and Grasshopper†from “Large Flower†Series by Hokusai

    8 X 11 inches. Woodblock print depicting irises and grasshopper.

  • Thumbnail for Fukeroi
    Fukeroi by Hiroshige I

    Three trees against spring sky, figures working in rice paddies, two kites flying and calligraphy.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 027, waterfront, Chongqing, Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 027, waterfront, Chongqing, Sichuan

    Waterfront, Chongqing, Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Environmental Implications of Japan's Geology 14, Isolated mountain valleys, Kitakami Highlands, near Mt. Komagatake
    Environmental Implications of Japan's Geology 14, Isolated mountain valleys, Kitakami Highlands, near Mt. Komagatake

    Isolated mountain valleys, Kitakami Highlands, near Mt. Komagatake. -- Many valleys in Japan with enough flat land to support a village or town are separated from each other by mountainous terrain. Here two such valleys can be seen, one in the left foreground, the other in the middle distance on the right. Small settlements are present in each of these valleys. Recent road and railroad construction has improved communication, but for much of their history, many Japanese villages were relatively isolated from the rest of the country.