Neptunia – Traditional Japanese Boats Through Prints

I have had the good fortune of having been in many email exchanges with French author Jean-Pierre Mélis and our mutual friends in Japan for about the last year or so. Mr. Mélis has been writing a three part series of articles in Neptunia, the Journal of the Friends of the French National Maritime Museum.

The series explores different types of Japanese watercraft as depicted in  Japanese woodblock prints. The journal is in French, but with modern translation tools, it’s not too difficult to read in English. This is how I was able to read the first issue, and it was a very interesting read. Plus, it was the first time I’d seen many of the prints.

It may seem odd that the subject of Japanese boats appears in a French journal, but it was Admiral Paris’s book Le Souvenirs de Marine, first published in 1888, with the most recent reprint that I know of being in 1962, that gives westerners the earliest detailed look at Japanese watercraft. A model based on this work also appears in the French National Maritime Museum, and is featured on the cover of the first issue above.

From Le Souvenirs de Marine

Mr. Mélis informed me the other day of the publication of his final article, which looks at the boats used to navigate the rivers and canals of Japan during the final years of the Shogun period.

If you are interested in reading the articles, you can purchase copies from the publisher’s website: http://www.aamm.fr/neptunia/derniers_numeros 

Specifically, the issues are numbers 281, 283 and 285.

The articles should be interesting and informative, and I am looking forward to seeing the artwork as well.

 

Traditional Japanese Boats through Prints

The second installment of a 4-part article on an examination of traditional Japanese boats through famous woodblock prints is in the September 2016 issue of the French journal Neptunia. The journal is a quarterly publication of the Association of the Friends of the National Maritime Museum of France.

couv283

I have yet to see the issue, but I have the March 2016 issue, which contains the first article. Being that it is an examination of the boats through art, the article is filled with some wonderful photos of Japanese woodblock prints. And, while my ability to read French is limited, a scan through optical character recognition software (free online), and Google Translate, make it possible to understand the majority of the text.

couv281

I’ve been in pretty close email contact with the author, Mr. Jean Pierre Mélis, since late Summer, and we have been exchanging and discussion the subject of Japanese watercraft pretty regularly. I highly recommend taking a look at the articles if you can. Check your libraries for availability or purchase single issues directly from the Association here. Ω