Butterflies by Mortimer Menpes. 1901. Watercolor. Source: Japan: A Record in Colour, facing p. 122. Menpes was enchanted by the waiting-girls in the tea-houses, who would "move noiselessly through the rooms like gigantic butterflies flitting to and fro" (111). On his way back from an outing, he was delighted again to see, in passing, how the "tea-houses, with their festoons of lanterns and orange interiors, in which one caught glimpses of singing girls in their brilliant dresses, gleamed like golden patches in the cool purple" (112). Here, however, he depicts a group of the gorgeously costumed young women relaxing together in a mix of sunlight and shade, sharing a little gossip perhaps. — Jacqueline Banerjee

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Related Material


Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: A Record in Colour. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1901. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California Libraries. Web. 3 July 2019.

Created 30 June 2019