Aug 25 2011: Three Postcards Showing Views Of Mount Fuji (Japan, 1964)

Among the things I’ve been seeking out this year are old enevelopes, specifically from the period between around 1953 and 1977, preferably with their original stamps and postmarks intact. Not, it should be said, because I collect the stamps or postmarks themselves, but because these are easy to adapt into authenticating vessels for a continuation of the fictional correspondence between Robert Holcombe and Eduardo Paolozzi (and, perhaps, others) that began with Yelena Popova‘s Bookmark Project in the Study at Nottingham Contemporary earlier this year. So when I bought an envelope sent from Scandinavian Airlines System in London to Mr Ernest Dring of Attenborough, Nottinghamshire in the summer of 1964, its contents were of secondary interest to the envelope itself.

Yet among those contents were a collection of leaflets, brochures, postcards and other documents clearly relating to a trip taken by Mr Dring to Japan, presumably linked to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. More of these will be scanned in and presented in future posts here, but to begin it seemed that these three postcards – all showing different scenes in which modern and traditional Japan are contrasted, seen lying side by side in the landscape – had something consciously linked to the famous Hokusai series of ukiyo-e woodblock prints showing 36 views of Mount Fuji, as made between 1826 and 1833. As in Hokusai, so in these postcards, where an airport, skating rink and shelter each sit in a foreground that contrasts Japanese daily life against the unchanging presence of Mount Fuji itself.

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