The Ameya by Robert Frederick Blum
The Ameya by Robert Frederick Blum

The Ameya, 1893

Robert Frederick Blum

This complicated street scene — almost photo-realistically painted in places, with sketchy brushwork in others — shows an elderly man in blue blowing through a tube while excited children, and their mothers, look on with rapt attention. Is he a glass blower? No — and this explains the childrens’ interest — he’s blowing candy, using the same techniques a glassblower would use, but instead of molten glass, he’s spinning molten sugar into beautiful candy baubles, like the ones hanging from the rack on his cart. What clues are there to time and place? The rickshaw in the street tells us this image predates cars, and the peoples’ dress — sandals and kimonos — let us know this is Japan.

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