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The collector Heinrich Botho Scheube

Section about the collector Heinrich Botho Scheube

The Collector Heinrich Botho Scheube

There are different motives for collecting; for the physician, Heinrich Botho Scheube (1853-1923), his interest in Japanese culture goes back to his stay in Kyoto. In 1877, the Japanese government had recruited the assistant doctor, who had previously worked at the Leipzig University, to teach at the medical school in Kyoto. In 1882 he returned to Germany and handed over his collection to the Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig in 1891, followed by its purchase in 1909. On his travels through Japan and at the numerous industrial and agricultural exhibitions, Scheube acquired not only weapons and handicrafts made of lacquer and ceramics but above all items from everyday life.

© privat
Wilhelm A. Wrage (1861–1841), Porträt Heinrich Botho Scheube (nach einer Fotografie), 1929, Öl auf Leinwand, Leihgabe aus Privatbesitz

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Among these were objects from the Edo period (1603-1868) as well as contemporary objects that became part of everyday life in the course of "Western-oriented" modernization of the country. Scheube expanded his collection with artifacts from the Ainu, a linguistic and cultural minority group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Several of these objects can be discovered in the permanent exhibition.

 

 

[Translate to English:] 360° 2

© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
360° view of the section of the exhibition about the collector Heinrich Botho Scheube

Have a closer look on the displays...

Have a closer look on the displays...

All objects were acquired by Heinrich Botho Scheube in 1909 and are part of the collection of the GRASSI Ethnographic Museum Leipzig.

 

 

Black gold - Lacquerware

Since the first European contacts with Japan in the 16th century, objects covered with shiny black lacquer (urushi) were particularly popular with the European nobility. With the opening of Japan in 1854, lacquerware of Japanese everyday life as well as lacquer paintings and inlaid techniques for festive occasions also found their way into private collections in Europe. At the same time, modernization processes in Japan during the Meiji period (1686-1912) led to new forms and methods of lacquer processing.

Detail 1

Business card case (meshi-ire) or make-up case with the depiction of a lunar landscape with gate, pines, plums, and river, 1868–1882, wood, black lacquer, sprinkled gold and metal dust (hiramaki-e), inside and underside: lacquer with flakes of gold (nashiji), inv. no. OAs 04742 a, b

Sweet-box (kashibako) in the shape of a rooster on a drum, 19th century, black lacquer, sprinkled gold and metal dust (hiramaki-e), red lacquer decoration, inside: lacquer with flakes of gold (nashiji), inv. no. OAs 04753 a-c

Spectacle (megane) or cigarette case (makitabako-ire), Wakasa style, 1868-1882, wood, polychrome lacquer, mother-of-pearl inlays (raden), inv. no. OAs 04756 a, b

Spectacle (megane) or cigarette case (makitabako-ire), Wakasa style, 1868-1882, wood, polychrome lacquer, gold lacquer, inv. no. OAs 04757 a, b

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Pastimes and leisure

The world of pastimes had a unique attraction for Europeans. The museum collections contain both upper-class objects such as a fragrance game and items of common pastimes: sake bowls, writing boxes, playing cards or smoking utensils. In the case of the latter, the social changes during the Meiji period (1868-1912) are particularly vividly depicted: Instead of a pipe, people now turned to cigarettes.

Detail 3

Box with game pieces, part of the play “The Incense” (jusshukō), probably 19th century, wood, gold varnish, and sprinkled gold powder (maki-e), inv. no. OAs 04745 and OAs 04750

Playing cards (karuta), probably 2nd half of the 19th century, paper, woodcut, inv. no. OAs 05051

Detail 4

Cigarette case (makitabako-ire) with four cigarettes (kamimaki-tabako), probably around 1880, bamboo, textile, paper, tobacco, inv. no. OAs 05020

Tobacco pipe (kiseru) with representations of plants, tobacco pouch (tabakoire), pipe case (kiseruzutsu) with an illustration of bamboo, probably 19th century, pipe: bamboo cane, metal; pouch: leather, metal; case: bone, ivory inlay, inv. no. OAs 05015 a-c

Detail 5

Writing box (suzuribako) with inkstone (suzuri) and water dropper (suiteki) with a depiction of rocks and water, 18th/19th century, case: wood, black lacquer, built up and flat sprinkled gold and silver dust (takamaki-e and hiramaki-e), inside: lacquer with flakes of gold (nashiji); rubbing stone: stone; water dropper: bronze, inv. no. OAs 04734 a-e

Portable writing set (yatate), before 1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04725

Detail 6

Smoking service (tobacco-bon) with geometric patterns and plovers over waves, 1868-1882, wood, metal, black lacquer, gold lacquer, and scattered gold dust (maki-e), inv. no. OAs 04735 a-c

Detail 7

Go-Table with boxes and gaming pieces, probably 19th century, wood, metal, black lacquer, gold lacquer, and scattered gold dust (maki-e), stone, Inv.-Nr. 04746

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A transition in small details

Along with new European techniques, Western European fashion found its way to Japan. Clothes used to be tied and did not require buttons and pockets. Small belt weights (netsuke) prevented the bags and other things stuck in the belt from slipping through. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), buttons and cufflinks were needed for the garments now worn. Especially the latter offered a new field of work for specialized artisans whose clientele had drastically declined due to social upheavals.

Detail 8

[18] Netsuke in the form of a toad on a walnut, 1600-1882, wood, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04711
[19]
Netsuke in the form of a mythical sea creature (kappa) on a shell, 1600-1882, wood, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04704
[20]
Netsuke in the form of a peach, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04710
[21]
Netsuke in the form of an old woman with basket, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04705
[22]
Netsuke in the form of a turtle on rock and net, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04715
[23]
Netsuke in the form of an old man at a well with a demon (oni) therein, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04721
[24]
Netsuke in the form of a man in a box, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04713
[25]
Netsuke in the form of a monkey on a peach, 1600-1882, wood, inv. no. OAs 04709
[26]
Netsuke in the form of the folklore animal Tanuki, 18th century, boxwood, inv. no. OAs 04708

Detail 9

[27] Netsuke in the form of fish, 19th century, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04694
[28] Small sculpture (okimono) in the form of a human skull without lower jaw, with snake and frog, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04702

[29] Netsuke in the form of a monkey lying on a peach, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04701

[30] Netsuke in the form of an octopus with child, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04688

[32] Netsuke in the form of a turtle, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04723

[33] Netsuke in the form of an auspicious Buddhist Daruma figure as snowman and Chinese child (karako), mid-1
9th century, ivory, inv. no. Has 04692
[34]
Netsuke in the form of two demons (oni) with drum (taiko), 19th century, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04695
[35] Netsuke in the form of a demon in the garb of a pilgrim monk (oni no nembutsu), 1600-1882, wood, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04693
[36]
Netsuke in the form of a fly on an octopus arm, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04703
[37] Netsuke in the form of a sitting Japanese woman, 1600-1882, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04687

[38] Small sculpture (okimono) in the form of a human skull, 19
th century, ivory, inv. no. OAs 04681

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