“Today, as before, in this manner, they exalt the flaggelation of Christ.”
Jean Frédéric Bernard, Bernard Picart
The Japanese God Daybot
Engraving, Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde.
DAIBUTSU!!! you silly Nederlandish 18c people
Oh I just love this.
This, I think, I what they’re trying to portray - I wonder if they’d seen a rough sketch, or just heard it described in detail? Including the “tightly-curling locks” that are actually, um, snails?
In the early 18th century, in the very first decades of the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, two men produced a multi-volume work that made readers – in French, English, Dutch and German – see religion in a new way. Bernard Picart (1673-1733) was one of the most prolific and talented engravers of his age. Jean Frederic Bernard (1683-1744) was a French language bookseller and publisher of Huguenot background based in Amsterdam. Together they prepared thousands of pages and hundreds of engravings that sought to capture the ritual and ceremonial life of all the known religions of the world.
Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde, or simply “Picart” as it was often subsequently known, broke with all the previous models. It presented religions, even those of the “idolatrous peoples” as even-handedly as possible. It argued for religious toleration by showing the ill effects of fanaticism, wherever it could be found, and by praising those religions, such as Islam, that offered toleration to others. At a time of widespread anti-Semitism, it offered one of the most sympathetic portraits then available of European Jewry.
Despite being the work of two French Protestant refugees who had fled to Holland, the book attempted to accurately depict even Catholic customs, and it gave more favorable and extended attention to Islam than anyone had before. Picart and Bernard devoted so much space to the “idolatrous peoples” of the New World, Asia and Africa because they sought in comparison of the world’s religions fresh evidence for new universalist arguments about the origins and development of religion. They themselves were more interested in what religions had in common – and perhaps even in an heretical religious syncretism – than in how they differed. When Picart and Bernard prepared their big book, the Dutch Republic stood at the heart of the European book trade. The two refugees took full advantage of the opportunities they found in their adopted land, and the Cérémonies in its various editions and translations sold a remarkable 4000 copies. Its translation into English removed some of the more radical comments about religion found in the original French text, though the Dutch one did not, and these translations, along with an abridgment in German, meant that the book and especially Picart’s images became the standard means of portraying many of the world’s religions until well into the nineteenth century.
That last part is what I would emphasize-notice how Eurocentric the framing is! After all, a Japanese worshipper wouldn’t need Picart’s book to portray their own religion.
Not only that, think of how this massively inaccurate depiction was considered the standard text on world religions, and as this was translated into English, Dutch, and German, become their standard text on world religions as well! It boggles the mind to consider how many of our views on this topic have been shaped over centuries by early texts like this one; I believe we should be analyzing these concepts right down to their very foundations, and Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde is absolutely one of them.
Another one of yours truly. Still waiting on the Court pictures, but in the meantime…
Terracotta Haniwa of a warrior with hat and mizura hairstyle
3rd-7th Century AD
(Source: The British Museum)
George Nelson - “How to Kill People” (1960)
Shinto female dancer. Hand-colored image, late 19th century, Japan. From the book Japanese Customs and Manners by K. Ogawa, Meiji 31 (1898)
The Sun Set
Indoors or out you can watch the Sun Set. The 7 inch SONY TV
Illustrations from Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing (Ajā’ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt - كتاب عجائب المخلوقات وغرائب الموجودات) by Zakarīyā’ ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī, originally published in 1283. The illustrator, copyist and date of the edition are unknown. The nature of paper, script, ink, illumination, and illustrations suggest that it was produced in provincial Mughal India, possibly the Punjab, in the 17th century.
islamic medical manuscripts
Luis Buñuel on the set of “La Voie lactée”