Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts, Photographic Collections

Last Samurais, First Photographs

The Guimet Museum of Asian Art in Paris has one of the world’s largest collections of Asian art outside of Asia itself. Its vast archive holds a large number of precious photographic images from Japan, a selection of which will be seen in this country for the first time.

Of particular note is the first-ever showing of Guimet’s holdings of one of two existing albums of the works of Apollinaire Le Bas, an officer in the French navy, taken in the period following the naval conflicts of 1864 at Shimonoseki. His portraits of Japanese samurai in their full armour represent an invaluable historical record of these formidable men, members of the warrior class that was fated to vanish amidst the tide of social change in the late nineteenth century. Among the other pieces on display are precious photographs, still arranged in their original albums, as well as 60 vintage prints from the pioneers of early photography in Japan, Hikoma Ueno and Renjō Shimooka, as well as Felice Beato, considered to be one of the world’s first photojournalists.


Apollinaire Le Bas, Japanese Warrior, 1864 © Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts

①TORAYA Kyoto Gallery

Karasuma Nishi-iru, Ichijo-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-0911
Subway Karasuma Line” Imadegawa Station” 7 min. on foot from exit 6

Open Everyday

Exhibition until May 31st
Entrance Free

[Related program]

4/19 17:00-18:00

toraya© 2014 Naoyuki Ogino