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Photo Album - Indonesia, Bali & Philippines
Asia, 1935. Dutch East India (Indonesia), the Philippines, 1935. Album of 191 black and white snapshot photographs, by a German traveller who purposefully captured the local ways of life, fortuitously at the advent of development and economic transformation. Photographs vary slightly in size, the majority measuring 11 x 7 cm, and the smallest one measuring approximately 4,5 x 8 cm. Qto. quarter calf over irregular autumn yellow patterned paper, gilt lines and labels to spine. Volume measures approximately 30 x 24 x 4 cm. Slight wear to spine and corners, otherwise in Very Good Condition, with crisp and bright images. So sprightly, detailed and numerous are the scenes in this volume, that a comprehensive visual tale of Maritime Southeast Asian and Austronesian custom and history unfolds in delightful imagery. Industrious and energetic, most islanders are unaware that they are being photographed as they are occupied at fabricating and selling their wares, patrolling streets, tending rice fields, conveying produce or straw, washing linens in the river, harvesting crops, greeting foreigners and steering carriages, hence the snapshots provide a most authentic perspective. The 40 some photos taken in Singpaore, then part of the British Crown Colony known as the Straits Settlements, include a tour of Bukit Timah, Chinatown, the historic Raffles Hotel which dates back to early colonial times, bustling street scenes, and harbour views upon arrival. Six (6) photographs are taken in Johor. Especially rare and captivating are the 30 photographs of Bali, which had only recently been opened to tourism in 1914, as is evident by the very diminutive and humble original 'Bali Hotel'. Dating to the earliest stages of tourism and reprieve from oppressive foreign colonial administration, the images precede eminent development, and in and of themselves preserve Balinese tradition. In Kintamani, some residents are preparing for a coq fight (known as tajen, and practiced in an ancient religious purification ritual to expel evil spirits). Others are working hard at harvesting rice, and one man weaves a straw mat by hand with no tools or apparatus of any kind. The foreigners are welcomed with the traditional "Legong" Balinese dance. A lovely bamboo hut village and spectacular rice paddies fields are also photographed. [In response to negative criticism following the Southern Bali campaigns (1906-08), in order to establish of an "ethical policy" while introducing their modernization plans, the Dutch in Bali endeavoured to learn and preserve Balinese culture. Depicting Bali a "living museum" of classical culture, in 1914 Bali was opened to tourism. In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee created a western image of Bali as "an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature", and western tourism first developed on the island.] In Java the 26 images feature street scenes and beautiful ladies in Djokjarta (Yogyakarta), spectacular gardens, large bundles of straw balanced on the shoulders of hard working men. The photographer stayed at the Grand hotel and took a well warranted tour of the 9th century temple known as Borobudur, returning with views of exquisite reliefs including that of Queen Maya in a horse drawn carriage retreating to Lumbini to give birth to Prince Siddhartha Gautama, or Buddha (Lalitavistara). Batavia (now Jakarta) appears in 40 photographs, where nostalgic images include horse-drawn carriages, a simple street tram, locals merchandising on the street, riverside shops and an outdoor market, lovely views of the canal. Historic buildings include the museum, and the "Hotel des Indes" which was considered one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Asia. Three rare photographs show the first coffee plant in Weltevreden named Tek Sun Ho, Eerstee Weltrever-denschee Koffiebranderij, which was founded in 1878 by a Chinese immigrant from Guangdong, named Liaw Tek Sun (Liau Tek Siong) and his wife who is a native Indonesian. In front of the coffee factory, on the Molenvliet Canal, bamboo rafts are conveying building material and residents are washing linens. In South Sulawesi the photographer includes 3 views of the Balu Batoa peak near Pangkajene. In the Philippines, Manila and environs are seen in approximately 45 views , such as the palm tree flanked Bonifacio Drive named for leader of the 1896 Philippine Revolution, the legislative building (National Museum), a colonial college, and the baroque Quiapo Church as it stood before remodelling. Large businesses crowd a street along the Pasig river, one rooftop advertising the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry which was founded in 1932 by George Lucas Adamson. Manila being virtually unrecognizable compared to today, photographs include homes on stilts, tiered rice paddies, and a quaint little village of straw thatched roofs. The traveller arrived here during the American Period, after the Philippine Independence Act in 1934, but before the first Philippine Presidential elections held in September 1935. Dates and locations occasionally penciled in margins reveal that the two-week voyage on the SS Resolute of the Hamburg America Line, took place in March 1935, arriving in Singapore on the 16th. This may have been the vessel's final cruise voyage before being renamed "Lombardia" by the Italian Government and converted to a transport ship for the Abyssinian War. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2014-12-10           Check availability:      Biblio    


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