to 'no zu' or not to 'no zu'

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Posted by Kurt ( on November 06, 2015 at 14:22:27:

An odd question, I know...

I'm interested in your opinions on transcribing titles with (picture of, view of) 'no zu' 之図 / 之圖 in them. There appears to be no consistency across museum and auction websites, even books... a lot of musha-e from the mid 1800s rarely have 'Picture of' recorded, even though the kanji characters are there, yet I have noticed that landscapes of the late 1800s normally have 'view of' transcribed (of course, this might just be a case of the museum sites I look at).

As an artist it seems odd that a complete title is not translated by a cultural institution as an artist/publisher intended, especially when there are examples of the same subject by artists with and without 'no zu', e.g. The Battle of Yamazaki from the Taiheiki 太平記山崎合戦, and Picture of the Great Battle of Yamazaki from the Taiheiki 太平記屋間崎大合戦之圖... I would doubt that a British C19th painting with the title 'View of the River Thames' would have it shortened to 'The River Thames' by a museum, because the 'view of' is considered linguistically or culturally redundant!

So, is there a style book, a preference of practice... I can't find anything on the web that indicates a scholarly position on whether it should be included or not? Is it a free for all?

Any thoughts you have, musings or definitive guides, would be of great interest.


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