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Download Hundreds of Japanese Fireworks Illustrations from the 1800s

Japanese Fireworks by Jinta Hirayama

Fireworks are beautiful to look at it and enjoy, but the moment can seem fleeting due to their temporary nature. That’s what makes this newly digitized catalog of fireworks illustrations from Jinta Hirayama so amazing. Fireworks are frozen in time to be enjoyed over and over. And the best part? They’re available to download for free.

Jinta Hirayama is responsible for bringing vibrant colors to Japanese fireworks at a time when muted orange hues were the dominant color palette. It’s every bit a mixture of science and surrealism. In fact, Hirayama was so invested in the world of fireworks that he is credited as the very first Japanese person to ever register a patent in America. The late 1800’s changed Japanese fireworks forever.

Hirayama founded his own fireworks company in Yokohama, Japan in 1877. He produced bilingual (Japanese-American) catalogs to display his wares and ultimately moved products internationally. Now, the Yokohama Library has made the illustrations available online for the first time here. (For those who don’t read Japanese, scroll down the page and click on any of the books titles written in English. On the next page that loads, click on “本体PDF画像” to download the file as a PDF.)

Part of the appeal of a proper fireworks show is the onslaught on the senses—the sounds and lights make a cacophonous dance. The digitized catalog presents illustrated pictures that invoke all of the excitement and appeal of a grand show without the piercing of eardrums. It’s an ideal situation, really. Scroll through the various pages to see the combination of colors and forms. Each illustration is whimsical and fantastical. Hirayama’s vision lives on hundreds of years later thanks to the wonders of technology and passionate archivists.

In the 1800s, Jinta Hirayama kept a record of different types of fireworks displays.

Japanese Fireworks by Jinta Hirayama

He mixed colors and patterns to create fireworks illustrations that leave a lasting impression.

Japanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta HirayamaJapanese Fireworks by Jinta Hirayama

h/t: [Spoon & Tamago]

All images via Yokohama City Library.

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