Tuesday, April 8, 2014

eBay Eyes: Vintage Baseball Goodies From Japan

Baseball season is well underway and April is National Kite Month! I came across these vintage baseball-player kites on eBay a while back along with some mid-century "baseball menko" cards.

eBay Eyes is an occasional presentation of found visual treats from that ever expanding , electronic mega-marketplate. 

I was amazed to see pictorial elements of traditional Japanese prints in the three "bookmark" cards above. 

European artists were smitten with the "new" aesthetic they encountered when Japanese prints found their way to the continent in the later part of the 19th Century. The influence of ukiyo-e on the Impressionists, and everything from fashion to décor was profound.

These baseball cards confirm how culturally determined our sense of design really is. What struck the eyes of Western artists as “fresh” in Japanese prints—asymmetrical compositions, adventurous cropping, the flat indication of space—were elements of design native to the Japanese sensibility. So much so, as to show up in in their baseball cards!

The portrait cards, below, are formatted with traditional Western composition.

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