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Inscription

by unknown hand, top center in graphite: 11; upper left in graphite: 198 09; lower right in graphite: 91.4406; lower right in graphite: A; on verso, by unknown hand, upper center in graphite: 12; center in typeset print on paper label: PRIESTS OR ZEN SHU. / THESE Priests are of the Nitchi-ren-shu sect, an order of about six hundred years standing. Their beads, which are one hundred and eight in number, are supposed to correspond with the catalogue of mortal sins, / which must be atoned for by prayer, &c. They are maintained by contributions which are voluntary; by the / endowments of their temples, grounds and lands; they also collect sums of money under pretence of building new / temples; and although they frequently appropriate the sums so collected to their own use, lending them out at inter- / est, and live on the interest thus derived, there does not seem to be any public scandal attached to this processing. / The rate of interest exacted by the priesthood is the lowest in Japan, and perhaps this may in some degree / excuse their misapplying funds intended for other purposes.

Provenance

Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography, London, acquired 1991; gift to NGA, 2012.