Saturday, 26 May 2018

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Collectors Treasury

Over a million items cram the shelves at Africa's largest shop of used and rare books. 

Well over one million items are crammed into nearly every inch of an eight-story building in Johannesburg’s CBD. It’s the largest shop selling rare and used books in Africa, and potentially the entire Southern Hemisphere.







Visitors to Collectors Treasury will find themselves stumbling into a plethora of second-hand books as soon as they enter the door. The books are packed into every corner and wedged atop any surface that will support them. They line the walls, are stacked into towering piles, and even occupy a bit of space in the elevator.
Take some time browsing through the seemingly endless maze of literary delights to unearth some real treasures! Keep your eyes peeled while scanning the floor-to-ceiling shelves to spot some rare finds from around the world, such as first-edition prints and books that are no longer even published.
Collectors Treasury also has maps, prints, engravings, newspapers, photographs, and thousands of vinyl records and 78 rpm discs, as well as a small selection of decorative art antiquities.
It’s a mystery to most how the store keeps track of its enormous collection, and yet brothers Jonathan and Geoffrey Klass have managed to keep the family business growing. They founded the store in 1974 in a shop above a garage, and have obviously had to relocate to a space large enough to hold their massive stock.



The Fairytale Forests of Yakushima

The island features deer, monkeys, and thousand-year-old trees.


Triangular openings that hikers can crawl through are born from the forking of trunks at the base of large trees.

Triangular openings that hikers can crawl through are born from the forking of 
trunks at the base of large trees. 

ALL PHOTOS: WIL KUAN

Yakushima is an almost perfectly round island 37 miles south off the southernmost point of the Japanese island of Kyushu. Its remote and isolated setting is home to one of the best-preserved moderate temperate growth rainforests in Japan.
The 17-mile-wide island also possesses one of the wettest climates anywhere in the world, so much so that locals say it rains “35 days a month.”
Diverse ecosystems coexist here, ranging from subtropical lowlands, to cool temperate highlands, where it can even snow. The combination of these factors has given Yakushima a mystical aura that is often compared to fantasy lands such as the island where King Kong resides (in large part due to its almost perfectly round shape), as well as providing inspiration for the animated film Princess Mononoke from the Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli.
Tiny red flags indicate where to go through the many winding trail paths found on the island.

Tiny red flags indicate where to go through the many winding trail paths found on the island.

To reach Yakushima, you take a leisurely four-hour ferry ride from Sakurajima, famous for its active volcano that makes headlines every few years as it spews ash to cover the city. The ferry lands at the north of the island in the port settlement of Miyanoura, where the majority of Yakushima’s population of about 13,000 resides. The rest of the population is sprinkled along the coastline supporting mostly tourism activity that has replaced the logging economy that once thrived here.
The undulating mountains at the center of the island serve as the backdrop for an archetypal Japanese lantern-covered wooden bridge at Miyanoura Port.

The undulating mountains at the center of the island serve as the backdrop for an archetypal Japanese 

lantern-covered wooden bridge at Miyanoura Port.

The desire for a spiritual experience with nature lures many to this island, where many Japanese salarymen relieve job stress by hiking the interior mountains. There are multiple walking trails, some of which traverse the entire width of the island. For those who wish to do overnight hikes, simple mountain huts found along certain parts of the trails that can be used free of charge.
Hard stone mixes with ever-present meandering roots on the trail of Shiratani Unsuikyo.

Hard stone mixes with ever-present meandering roots on the trail of Shiratani Unsuikyo.

The trails wind among Yakushima cedar trees (Yaku-sugi), which are famous for their incredibly old age. Most are around 1,000 years old, and a few are believed to be older than 7,000. Due to the abundant rainfall, there are moss-covered rocks all over the forest floor, which add to the overwhelming green.
The largest animals to be found are Yakushima macaque monkeys and spotted white sika deers that are endemic to the island. These two creatures sometimes show a symbiotic relationship. Some visitors have even reported seeing monkeys riding the deer for transportation purposes.
Tree trunks embracing one another.

Tree trunks embracing one another.

The endemic Yaku sugi (cryptomeria cedars) are often entirely covered with younger sugi and epiphytes.

The endemic Yaku sugi (cryptomeria cedars) are often entirely covered with younger sugi and epiphytes.
Flowing water in a brook appears to make a green moss-covered rock rise up from among its neighbors.

Flowing water in a brook appears to make a green moss-covered rock rise up from among its neighbors.
A steep portion of the trail is made easier by the placement of irregular planks of wood.

A steep portion of the trail is made easier by the placement of irregular planks of wood.

Sprouting out from a trunk, bare black branches swirl in all directions.

Sprouting out from a trunk, bare black branches swirl in all directions.


https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/yakushima-island-hikes-japan?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5cf9fad9d3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f36db9c480-5cf9fad9d3-65897069&ct=t()&mc_cid=5cf9fad9d3&mc_eid=2cd79a4b6a


In Search of Cemeteries Alive With Beauty, Art, and History

These resting places celebrate life.

<em>The Kiss of Death</em>, designed by Joan Fonternat and carved by Jaume Barba in 1930, in Barcelona’s Poblenau Cemetery. It marks the grave of textile manufacturer Josep Llaudet Soler.

The Kiss of Death, designed by Joan Fonternat and carved by Jaume Barba in 
1930, in Barcelona’s Poblenau Cemetery. It marks the grave of textile 
manufacturer Josep Llaudet Soler. 

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Despite its irreverent title,
 the new book 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die is quite specific about appropriate behavior in graveyards. “Rule number one is be respectful,” Loren Rhoads writes. “Even cemeteries that are closed to new burials deserve to be treated like something precious and irreplaceable, because they are.”
Cemeteries are, by their nature, full of stories, which is what Rhoads wanted to tap into when creating the book. “Our relationships with the places we visit can be deepened and enriched by learning the stories of those who came—and stayed—before us,” she writes.
Reilig Odhrán is a graveyard on the Isle of Iona in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. In the 16th century, the site was determined to have held 48 Scottish, eight Norwegian, and four Irish kings.

Reilig Odhrán is a graveyard on the Isle of Iona in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. In the 16th century, the site 

was determined to have held 48 Scottish, eight Norwegian, and four Irish kings. 

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The book spans burial sites across the globe and through the ages. In the remote Scottish Hebrides, at Reilig Odhrán on the Isle of Iona, ancient, worn gravestones mark the resting places of Irish, Scottish, and Norwegian kings. Argentinian First Lady Eva Perón is buried in La Recoleta, a cemetery in Buenos Aires. In Iran, the grave of 12th-century mathematician and writer Omar Khayyám is marked with a towering, geometric 20th-century monument.
The book doesn’t just focus on the resting places of famous figures. Some are there for beauty alone. Barcelona’s Poblenau Cemetery contains a sculpture of young man, collapsed to his knees, in the tender embrace of a winged skeleton. Known as The Kiss of Death, it is both beautiful and unsettling—both work of art and memorial. Sydney’s Waverley Cemetery sprawls across 40 acres of oceanfront land, where headstones and monuments tumble towards the water. And in Romania’s Merry Cemetery, bright blue grave markers hold paintings of the deceased. These markers both create an atmosphere and hold important symbols.
Cemeteries are monuments to death, but also sites of contemplation and appreciation of life. “There’s nothing like visiting a cemetery to give you a little perspective,” writes Rhoads. Atlas Obscura has a selection of images from the book, which will be released on October 3.
Markers in Merry Cemetery in Romania include poems about the deceased.

Markers in Merry Cemetery in Romania include poems about the deceased. 

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Omar Khayyám's tomb complex in Nishapur, Iran, where he died, was designed by architect Houshang Seyhoun in 1963.

Omar Khayyám’s tomb complex in Nishapur, Iran, where he died, was designed by architect Houshang Seyhoun in 1963. 

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Waverley Cemetery, New South Wales, Australia, holds the graves of many notable Australians.

Waverley Cemetery, New South Wales, Australia, holds the graves of many notable Australians. 

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Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, is the resting place of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Oscar. Her original wish, to be buried at the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, was denied because at the time of her death in 1952, it was segregated.

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, is the resting place of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-

American actress to win an Oscar. Her original wish, to be buried at the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, 

was denied because at the time of her death in 1952, it was segregated. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/ 

CAROL HIGHSMITH

<em>Il Cimitero Acattolico di Roma</em> is the "Non-Catholic" cemetery of Rome, Italy. Prior to 1738, the Vatican prohibited people who were not Catholic from being buried in the city.

Il Cimitero Acattolico di Roma is the “Non-Catholic” cemetery of Rome, Italy. Prior to 1738, the Vatican prohibited people who were not Catholic from being buried in the city. 

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<em>Kungshögarna</em>, the Royal Mounds in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden.

Kungshögarna, the Royal Mounds in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden. 

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The Sengakuji Buddhist temple complex in Tokyo, Japan, is where the famous 47 Ronin are buried.

The Sengakuji Buddhist temple complex in Tokyo, Japan, is where the famous 47 Ronin are buried. 

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La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

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How Constance and Oscar Wilde Helped Get Women Into Trousers

One small step for clothing historians, one giant leap for womankind.

The year was 1884, and Oscar Wilde was already something of a London celebrity. Though he had not yet published the plays that would earn him his spot among the Victorian literati, he had made a name for himself as aesthete, man-about-town, and lecturer—with public views on everything aesthetic, including clothes.
At the beginning of the year, he announced his engagement to Constance Lloyd, who he had met in Ireland some years earlier. Newspapers frothed about the news, and appeared relieved that Wilde, and his new wife, would not be moving to Dublin: “there was some fear lest London should lose its lion and society its favorite source of admiration and ridicule. … Happily this danger is averted. We keep Oscar.”
Oscar and Constance Wilde, with their son Cyril, pictured in 1892.

Oscar and Constance Wilde, with their son Cyril, pictured in 1892. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

But Wilde also appeared in the papers that year for another reason. In a series of letters published in the Pall Mall Gazette, he wrote about how women ought to dress. The following year, in the New York Tribune, he published his essay “The Philosophy of Dress,” in which he stressed the important relationship between clothing and one’s soul.
This famous 1882 portrait of Oscar Wilde shows him in clothes he had commissioned and designed himself.

This famous 1882 portrait of Oscar Wilde shows him in clothes he had commissioned and designed himself. 

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At that time, women commonly wore heavy, restrictive underwear, and long, cumbersome skirts with crinolines or bustles. Corsets were certainly uncomfortable, but they could also be lethal, deforming skeletons, compromising fertility and even driving internal organs into places they oughtn’t have been. Despite that, people continued to wear them, and to “tight-lace,” ignoring doctors’ concerns and claiming these devices improved posture.
It was in this climate that people began to call for dress reform, with some asserting that these corsets were immodest and promoted an objectifying take on women’s bodies. In time, “dress reform” would come to be seen as a crucial part of the fight for women’s equality. It’s ironic, then, that many of the “reformed” clothes suggested as an alternative were themselves deemed shocking and morally questionable.
Patterns from the Rational Dress Society, dating from 1885, proposed less restrictive outfits for women.

Patterns from the Rational Dress Society, dating from 1885, proposed less restrictive outfits for women. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

Wilde’s letters were strongly in favor of simple, comfortable outfits for women, with minimal “fringes, flounces and kilting.” More radically, he expressed his fondness for the “divided skirt.” This controversial article of clothing was essentially an extremely wide-legged pair of trousers. It had caused some anxiety in the British press, amid concerns that two-legged clothing for women would promote immoral ideals. The divided skirt—a trouser posing as a skirt—was a compromise of sorts. In a public letter, Constance, Wilde’s wife, described it as trying to “look as though it were not divided, on account of the intolerance of the British public.” Those who did wear it loved the liberty it afforded them. One wearer described “the delightful sense of freedom that results from the removal of petticoats.”
This riding habit, from around 1900, features a divided skirt, barely visible below the jacket.

This riding habit, from around 1900, features a divided skirt, barely visible below the jacket. 

HUGO MAERTENS/CC A-SA 3.0

Constance was propelled to stardom through her celebrity marriage. Even the New York Times reported on her wedding dress, which Wilde is alleged to have designed. (In his biography of Wilde, Richard Ellmann describes “rich creamy satin,” “a delicate cowslip tint … a high Medici collar; ample, puffed sleeves [and a] veil of saffron-colored Indian gauze.”)
On her honeymoon, the now-Constance Wilde ruminated on what to do, beyond being mother and wife, writing to a friend that she wanted a career: “I am thinking of becoming a correspondent to some paper, or else going on the stage.” Though she didn’t go on the stage, nor became a reporter, she was instead a star campaigner for multiple causes. Women’s dress reform, and the divided skirt, would be one of her most public targets.
Constance Wilde, pictured in 1887 amid the height of her involvement with the Rational Dress Society.

Constance Wilde, pictured in 1887 amid the height of her involvement with the Rational Dress Society. 

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A few years earlier, in 1881, Lady Frances Harberton had launched the British arm of the Rational Dress Society, an organization that later promised to “promote the adoption, according to individual taste and convenience, of a style of dress based on considerations of health, comfort and beauty.” Staggeringly, it advocated for underwear that weighed under seven pounds. The Society came four decades after the bloomers craze of the 1850s, but similarly promoted towards the liberation of bifurcated leg cladding: the “divided skirt.”
The satirical magazine Punch had plenty to say about the “divided skirt”: in June 1881, it published a not-inaccurate poem about what, exactly, the divided skirt was:
“Skirts be divided—oh, what an atrocity!
To ‘dual garmenture’ folks must attain.
True that another skirt hides this insanity
Miss Mary Walker in old days began;
Yet it should flatter our masculine vanity,
For this means simply the trousers of Man!”
An 1851 <em>Punch</em> caricature shows women in bloomers smoking equally shocking cigarettes.

An 1851 Punch caricature shows women in bloomers smoking equally shocking cigarettes. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

The following month, they decried it simply as “revived Bloomerism,” and proposed that its proponents be nicknamed “Pantaloon-atics.” Bloomers were Turkish-style trousers popular in the early 1850s, for similar reasons to the “divided skirt”. It was short-lived, but the media furore it provoked continued, and it loomed large in the popular imagination.
Constance seems to have agreed with, and sought to propagate, Wilde’s strong views on women’s clothing. She dressed as much for him as herself: The actress Elizabeth Robins remembered meeting her at home, where she wore a white muslin dress, despite the relatively cold August day. Seeing Robins staring at her “midsummer frock”, Constance is said to have remarked: “My husband likes me to wear white.” On other occasions, onlookers remembered Constance’s “very peculiar and eccentric clothes,” which she wore apparently “to please Oscar, not herself.” At a private viewing, “instead of looking at the pictures on the walls, a great many people were asking each other if they had seen Mrs. Oscar Wilde.”
A press illustration shows Constance Wilde manning a charity flower stall at the ‘Healtheries’, in a divided skirt, one of the then latest ‘rational’ outfits.


A press illustration shows Constance Wilde manning a charity flower stall at the ‘Healtheries’, in a divided skirt, one of the then latest ‘rational’ outfits. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

All of these things collided—Constance’s sudden shunt into the limelight; her readiness to wear unusual clothes; Wilde’s strong and supportive views on dress reform; her desire to do something beyond being Wilde’s wife and mother to their two sons. She quickly became one of the Rational Dress Society’s most vocal and visible advocates.
In this, she was well-supported by her husband. (Wilde loved clothes of all sorts, and wrote to the Daily Telegraph that waistcoats ought to “show whether a man can admire poetry or not.”) In November 1888, she gave one of a few lectures for the society, entitled “Clothed in Our Right Minds,” in which she modeled the “divided skirt” herself and spoke out against the claims that such garments were indecent. Around the same time, she became editor of the Rational Dress Society’s gazette.
The <em>Rational Dress Society</em> frequently published caricatures from elsewhere, as if to highlight the difference between what they were asking for and how they were perceived.

The Rational Dress Society frequently published caricatures from elsewhere, as 

if to highlight the difference between what they were asking for and how they 

were perceived. 

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Wilde himself was unambiguous about the divided skirt—that it should not be “ashamed of its own division,” that “the principle of the dress is good,” and that it was “a step towards … perfection” in women’s clothing. If anything, he called for even more radicalism in women’s legwear. “If the divided skirt is to be of any positive value, it must give up all idea of ‘being identical in appearance with an ordinary skirt’;” he wrote. “It must diminish the moderate width of each of its divisions, and sacrifice its foolish frills and flounces; the moment it imitates a dress it is lost; but let it visibly announce itself as what it actually is, and it will go far towards solving a real difficulty.” Indeed, he said that he would like to see women in “some adaptation of the divided skirt or long and moderately loose knickerbockers.”
All the year before, Constance had become more and more confident as a Dress Reformer, wearing the “divided skirt” in public as proof that it could be an elegant, beautiful garment, worn in her case as part of a suit of striped cheviot wool, trimmed with blue fur and birds’ wings.
A later example of rational dress, from 1893, which claimed to liberate the internal organs and to abide by "the laws of health, art, and morals".

A later example of rational dress, from 1893, which claimed to liberate the 

internal organs and to abide by “the laws of health, art, and morals”. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

In the meantime, Wilde was busying himself with the editorship of the Woman’s World, a regular magazine for women about life, culture, and fashion. When asked to edit it, in 1887, he responded enthusiastically: “No one appreciates more fully than I do the value and importance of Dress, in its relation to good taste and good health.” He seems to have hoped that the magazine could be a vehicle for progressive views, and attempted to lower the cover price so that it was easily accessible to women of all classes. Constance, too, was drawn in to write a couple of articles about children’s clothing, in which she spoke out in favor of the “divided skirt” for little girls: “The Rational Dress should be adopted by all mothers who wish their girls to grow up healthy and happy.”
But their enthusiasm for these projects—the Woman’s World, rational dress reform, even the divided skirt—waned as Oscar’s star rose in the 1890s. He became not just a celebrity, but a celebrity playwright. Then, in 1895, he was a cause célèbre, sentenced to two years’ hard labor on charges of sodomy and gross indecency.
A later version of the 'divided skirt', the 'pantaloon skirt', seen here in New York in 1910.

A later version of the ‘divided skirt’, the ‘pantaloon skirt’, seen here in New York 

in 1910. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN

Even without the Wildes’ involvement, the push for the “divided skirt” hurried, or perhaps shuffled, onwards. Their celebrity had undoubtedly added momentum and public attention to the cause, though many years would pass before trousers and their antecedents were anything other than shocking for women. In 1898, Lady Harberton, the founder of the society, was refused entry to the Hautboy Hotel for wearing a later incarnation of the divided skirt. And the suffragettes, 10 years on from that, were labeled “droll objects” for wearing the divided skirt while campaigning.
It would not be until the 20th century, and long after Wilde and Constance’s deaths, that trousers became de rigueur for women—though both would surely be pleased about their own small part in making that happen. Sadly, though, waistcoats that demonstrate poetic appreciation are still far from the norm.