The tau tau and storytelling

Everything sooner or later turns into a story. Maybe in God-time the Word becomes Flesh. But in my experience Flesh fades into Word and the Word becomes Story. Yeah. People loved hanging out with my Irish-American parents, because any disaster could be neutralized by turning it into a story and having a good laugh. It… Continue reading The tau tau and storytelling

Japan #1847: drawing, calligraphy, oh my

This is a marvel: a hand-drawn manuscript for a small Japanese book by Utagawa Yashitora, an ukiyo-e print artist who (among other things) published over a hundred books during his active years, 1850-1880. With brush and ink, the artist tells his story of "Revenge at Igaguye" on 5 x 7 in. pages of rice paper.… Continue reading Japan #1847: drawing, calligraphy, oh my

#1850 Japanese Album

About four years ago, when I thought I'd finished inventorying and cataloging Jim's better collections, we opened one last drawer in his study -- the drawer where he kept trinkets and curios he used for gifts. Beneath the parrot brooches and the scuba-diver toys, we found a few "lost" treasures, including this one -- 25… Continue reading #1850 Japanese Album

Thoughts on knives

First thought: guy stuff. Keep it in the man cave. Second thought: useful tool. Where would civilization be without sharp-edged tools for cutting, chopping, slicing, carving, etc.? Third thought: power object. This gallery of Jim's collection shows knives, daggers, and swords that are as beautiful as they are useful. They are the product of centuries… Continue reading Thoughts on knives

Rosetsu: Boy on Elephant

Nagasawa Rosetsu, late 18th c. detail

Between winter cocoon projects and outdoor summer projects, while workers buzz and grind their way through our bathroom upgrade, I putter around in the files and come upon the little stack of catalogues where Jim's stuff has been exhibited -- back in some superheated era before I arrived on the scene and Jim retreated into… Continue reading Rosetsu: Boy on Elephant

Frances Willard: a chance encounter

Frances Willard, Rest Cottage, 1889

Jim had this old photogravure. Someone was a photograph collector like him. But look closer: a woman sits amid the clutter. Who? I followed up on the only clue: its caption The Den - Rest Cottage. Long story short, the woman is FRANCES WILLARD (1839-1898), feminist, suffragist, and president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union… Continue reading Frances Willard: a chance encounter

Nevada gold mining 1905

Cross-dressing on the old frontier As I was organizing shelves, this set of photos turned up in a box marked "miscellaneous." Some guy took his Kodak Brownie on a gold mining adventure near Goldfield, Nevada -- northwest of Las Vegas, about halfway to Reno. In December 1902 gold was discovered in the hills south of… Continue reading Nevada gold mining 1905