4to. 27.5 by 21 cm. 7 pp., followed by 31 photographic plates. The 32nd photograph is on the dust jacket, making this copy complete. A gravure process was used for the photos, creating a slightly gauzy, dreamy feel. The composition of each is striking, with a single prop generally and a plain background. The photos are arresting in their Sino minimalism. The nudity, it seems to us, is about this paring down of distraction and not meant to be erotic. We wonder what the nude woman might be thinking or what she is about, but she remains an fascinating enigma. Foxing on dust jacket edges, and some miniscule tears (one mm at most) along edges of DJ. Very slight light foxing on edge of a few leaves. Mostly clean. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: The Culture of the Nude in China With 32 ...
Publisher: Eigenbrödler Verlag
Publication Date: 1928
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: First edition.
Book Description Berlin: Eigenbrodler-Verlag, 1928, 1928. Quarto. Original japon over flexible boards, yellow silk sewing to the spine, title and illustration in red to front board, red endpapers. With the photographic and decorated dust jacket designed by Perckhammer. Boards a little bowed, light wear to ends and corners, some faint spotting to boards and to edges, internally sound and clean, an excellent copy with the dust jacket generally somewhat spotted and marked, a little chipped at the ends and with some light rubbing and small closed tears to the edges. 31 black and white photographs by Perckhammer, the 32rd being on the dust jacket. First English edition, first printing, deluxe issue printed on japon and bound in flexible illustrated boards instead of plain wraps, with the scarce dust jacket (which carries one of the 32 called for photographs). The title was printed in German in the same year by the same publisher as Edle Nacktheit in China. This is a superior copy of Perckhammer's pioneering photographic study of the Chinese nude, a genre which had not been (at least in the West) heretofore explored for cultural reasons, as the photographer explains in his preface: "To the contemplating European her better known Japanese sister forces her way onto the picture and clouds it to the disadvantage of the Chinese woman. Unjustly! The manifold Japanese art has given us thousands of women's portraits, so that the Japanese woman has been more familiar to us than her Chinese sister. She presents herself, following the custom of her country, in strict concealment of her body, so that her images only permit us to admire face and hands, again in contrast to the Japanese women. Therefore it was my intention to show the Chinese woman as she really is nude. More easily said than done, My purpose was threatened with frustration by the strong sense of shame of this nation of contrasts. In China nudity has never been the object of plastic art as in Greece, Rome, India, not even approaching Egyptian art. Women of rank never bared their bosom in society as in Japan. Pictures of nude women, setting aside the ugly caricatures of the 'Spring pictures' of erotic scenes, simply do not exist in china. Therefore, I believe, I have created something entirely new and of value. It was infinitely difficult to approach the models. only possible after a lengthy acquaintance and searching study of the psychology of these women to bring them to the camera." The subjects were in fact prostitutes from Macao. The photographer Heinz von Perckhammer had served in the Siege of Tsingtao during the First World War, and was a Japanese prisoner of war from 1917-1919. After his release he remained in China and produced two works of photography - one of Peking street scenes, and this the other. This copy also contains, charmingly, an original ink sketch, on tissue paper, of a female nude, apparently in copy of an 18th century Indian artwork (captioned "Indien Ende 18 Jahr"). Bookseller Inventory # 117258