Tag Archives: Traditional

The Heavenly Weaver 1975 Japanese picture book

Heavenly Weaver cover

Today I have a delightful Japanese story, The Heavenly Weaver, by Sachio Mitsukoshi, translated by Ann Herring and art direction by Kozo Shimizu. It was first published by Gakken (Japan) and published by Blackie and Son in the UK (both in 1975).

From what I can gather Gakken put out a series of these picture books in the 1970s – I have found pictures from The Grateful Crane, which look like the same setting, but with a different, but still dimensional, artwork style.

I’m not sure what the media is, perhaps clay or maybe salt dough. The clouds look like cotton wool and the season tapestry is painted cloth. The characters are dressed in ancient Japanese style.

The Heavenly Weaver is a traditional Japanese story. Princess Tanabata, the Sky-king’s daughter, sat at her loom every day and wove the seasons we have on earth. One day the Sky-king arranged for her to marry the Celestial Cowherd – whom she was very much in love with.

Heavenly Weaver

The Princess and the Cowherd were so happy as they wandered among the stars and clouds that they forgot to weave the tapestry and tend the cows.

Heavenly Weaver

So all the living creatures stopped moving, and the trees and plants faded and died.

The Sky-king couldn’t allow this to happen, so he separated the Weaver and the Cowherd by putting them on either side of the Milky Way and turned the Milky Way into a celestial river. But when he saw how sad the couple were, he allowed them to meet once a year if they were good. They meet on Midsummer Eve, and they say that if it rains that night the couple haven’t been allowed to meet and the rain is their tears. But when they meet, the birds form a bridge of wings across the Milky Way.

Heavenly Weaver

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Hilda Boswell’s Treasury books

Front covers

Front covers

I haven’t posted for a while, so here’s two books. They are both Treasury books, by Hilda Boswell, published by Collins. On the left we have Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Fairy Tales, published in 1962, and on the right, Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry, first published in 1968, but this is the revised 1978 edition.

I was given the Treasury of Poetry as a Christmas present in the early 1970s. I adored it – I read it over and over again. So much so that when I finally got around to replacing it a few weeks ago, I could remember pretty much every word and illustration. Here’s a small selection:

Clouds and rainbows

Clouds and rainbows

I love the lighting around the children on the left.

Illustrations from Hilda Boswell treasury

Mermaids and fairies

Many of Hilda’s illustrations feature little fairy/insect/flower hybrid creatures.

First page of The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies

First page of The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies

The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies is a traditional British folk song. There are several versions on Youtube including one by The Waterboys and a long entry about its history on Wikipedia.

Yesterday I came across The Treasury of Fairy Tales. I don’t remember having this book. It’s earlier, and you can see that her style is changing a bit and/or she’s using different media.

illustration from Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb

Illustration from The Wild Swans

Illustration from The Wild Swans

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty image

Sleeping Beauty

I can’t find much about Hilda Boswell other than a short Wikipedia entry: She was born in London in 1903 and died in 1976. She is also mentioned in the Wikipedia entry about Anne and Janet Grahame Johnstone. I’ve blogged about them before – and while their styles are different, they were working at more or less the same time and in the same genre. She is most known for illustrating Enid Blyton’s ‘Flower’ books in the 1940s and 1950s.

Back covers

Back covers

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