The present publication consists, as its title indicates, mainly of illustrations of a thousand objects of art selected from the possessions of Japan's most noted temples, as the best representatives of the works of the reading artists of all periods and schools.
These reproductions are printed either in colours from engraved wooden blocks, or in untinted collotypes prepared from photographic aegatives, Each of twenty volumes that are to complete the set will contain about fifty illustrations.
The purpose of this enterprise is make the more serious side of Japanese art better known to the world at large. The selection of specimens is, therefore, confined mainly to those of Japanese origin; but such important works of Indian, Chinese and Corean art are introduced as are necessary historically to explain certain Japanese features.
It must be confessed, however, that this publication can hardly claim complete historical, or any other systematic arrangement; the collection of so much heterogeneous materials having rendered inconvenient the following of any single principle. The work aims rather to present materials for future study, than to undertake the study itself. It may show the intelligent reader what he would see, were he to become a visitor at these ancient shrines. But it may be stated that in each volume this general order has been strictly observed:--
- Photographs from statues and paintings of sacred Buddhist subject.
- Photographs of works illustrating the history of Buddhism.
- Photographs of portraits, and paintings of landscape or other material object.
- Photographs of architecture, mostly from Buddhist temples.
In each of these classes the works of foreign artists follow those of Japanese, and the older specimens are placed before those of recent date.
On completion of the series, catalogues of all the illustrations, arranged according to subject, school and historical order, will be issued.
The text of the present publication will be confined to brief detached notes in both Japanese and English, accompanying each sacred nature, the place of these in Buddhist belief and ritual has been prominently but briefly noted. We are the more willing to exercise here this restraint, as we have in contemplation an elaborate history of Japanese art and religion, to form a sort of supplement to the volumes, which will thus already have furnished illustration of its principles and conclusions.
It may be remarked that the English and Japanese texts are not exactly translations one of another. It has been judged that, in English form of the explanatory notes, greater importance and space should be given to some features which might to abbreviated in the Japanese;--and vice versa.
The selection of the works of art whose illustrations are included in the series has been made by Professor Y. Imaidzumi of the Fine Arts Academy of Tokyo. The notes in Japanese and English are prepared respectively by Principal S. Fujii of the Middle School of Saitama, and Doctor J. Takakusu of the Imperial University of Tokyo, the latter being responsible for the scholarly transliteration of Buddhist names and texts. A final revision of the English text, and special notes in art criticism and history are furnished by Professor Ernest F. Fenollosa of the Tokyo Higher Normal School, who is one of the best connoisseurs of Japanese art. The noted photographer, Mr. K. Ogawa, the wood-engraver, Mr. O. Morikawa, and the colour-printer, Mr. T. Tamura, are responsible for the execution of the illustrations. Lastly the general editorial work and supervision are in the hands of Mr. S. Tajima of Kyoto.
- 田島志一編 『真美大観 第一册』 日本佛教眞美協會、1899年。