Thé: Guimet Photographic Collection

Treasured photographs of both ritual and ceremony.

Overview and History

A country steeped in tradition, the symbolic ceremonies practiced within Japan have continued to fascinate individuals from historians and artists for centuries. Originating from its use in China and imported back to Japan through Buddhist monks, the practice of tea drinking transformed from a religious act to ceremonial performance, forming one of the most symbolic cultural traditions of Japan.

Project Story

Housing the largest collection of Asian arts outside of Asia, The Guimet Asian Arts National Museum in Paris includes within its photographic collection a wealth of rare and historical prints depicting various aspects of the art and culture of Japanese tea drinking. Form Planting, harvesting, tasting and even architecture, Benrido Collotype in collaboration with the Guimet presents a portrait of both ceremony and performance, bringing light to the history of its origins and its presence in the county’s social fabric. The photographs offer the opportunity to enjoy treasured photographs from another century and to appreciate the fascination they exerted as time went by.


Portfolio Details

The 20 images include both black and white as well as hand-coloured works on fine art pulp, paper, printed by the master artisans at the Benrido Atelier using the collotype process. The collotype’s ability to create rich hues and produce tonal nuances both recreate and preserve the historical value of each print.  The limited edition of 80 portfolios is housed in a clothbound cover with with hand printed text.

The portfolio includes a catalogue with detailed annotations by Photography Historian Claude Estèbe and introduction by Jerome Ghesquiere, director of photography collections at Guimet.

Text available in Japanese, French and English.




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