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by unknown hand, top center in graphite: 19B 09; upper center in graphite: 39; lower right in graphite: 91.4417; lower right in graphite: A; on verso, by unknown hand, upper center in graphite: 40; center in typeset print on paper label: MENDICANT NUN. / According to Kaempfer, these nuns live under the protection of the nunneries at Kamakura and Kioto; and / pay to them a certain sum every year of what they get by begging, as an acknowledgment of their authority. / In his opinion they were much the handsomest girls her saw in Japan. / The daughters of poor peasants, if they be handsome and agreeable, apply for and easily obtain the privilege of begging in the habit of nuns, knowing that beauty is one of the most persuasive inducements to generosity. / The begging mountain priests frequently incorporate their own daughters with this religious order, and take / their wives from among them. / Mendicant nuns usually wear a large hat made of straw or plaited bamboo, to cover their faces and to shelter them also from the heat of the sun.


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