Books: You Were There

THE BLACK SHIP SCROLL by Oliver Statler. 80 pages. Tuttle. $5.

When Commodore Matthew Perry's U.S. flotilla pried open the door of hermetic Japan in 1854, the world gasped delightedly at the treasures within. The quaintness of Japanese life and the beauty of its art affected interior decoration from New York to Paris, influenced the course of modern painting, launched a flood of books and operas. What, while the West marveled, did the Japanese make of it all?

The question is partially answered by this slim, elegant volume that has been assembled by Nipponologist Oliver...

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