OpenGLAM Pick of the Week: “A Fashionable Melange of English Words”

OpenGLAM Pick of the Week showcases handpicked digitised cultural artefacts made available by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums from around the world under an open license. Every week a guest curator highlights a favorite work of theirs from the digital commons and gives some context on their chosen item. To kick off the series Adam Green, editor of The Public Domain Review, takes his pick.

This is a Japanese woodcut by Kamekichi Tsunajima titled “Ryūkō eigo zukushi”, or “A Fashionable Melange of English Words”. The print shows images of animals, activities and objects each with their Japanese and English names. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) some spelling mistakes have given rise to some interesting new activities such as “Refreshiug” and “Cuting Rice”, and the “Gaot”, “Hoise” and “Tea Po”. The introduction of activities (including the very Zen-like “Looking Moon”) give an interesting take on the often more object-orientated Western equivalents. Also worth noting the interesting additions of “Cross Child” rather than simply “Child” , and “Blank Book” rather than “Book”.

(This image has been “restored” by Wikimedia user trialanderrors and is housed at Wikimedia Commons. The original can be found at the Library of Congress. Public Domain.).