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Welcome to Prospero's Blog! My wife Mollie and I work together in our Rough Magic studio on the coast of Maine. I've always loved old books, memorabilia, curiosities and Americana (especially 19th century dramatic literature) and am happy to share my discoveries in my Etsy Shops. Please come by and browse ~ there's just no telling what you'll find!

March 31, 2010

Famous Chinese Short Stories, Translated and Introduced Lin Yutang

Translated into English and introduced by Lin Yutang, who has been credited with "popularizing Chinese literature in the West," here is the 12th printing (1967) of the paperback edition of the classic book copyrighted in 1948.   

This 299-page edition is self-described as comprising "tales of adventure and mystery, love, ghosts, satire, fancy and humor gleaned from the finest tales ever told in China since history began."

This copy of the book is in very good vintage condition. With the exception of the first page (quoted above) which is loose near the top, all pages are firmly bound and unmarked. The spine is tight. The cover shows wear at the edges and some creasing on the back. Remnants of a previous owner's bookplate remain inside front cover.


To purchase it now from my Etsy Shop, click the button below:

March 27, 2010

Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia Mohd Taib Osman

Attention: Collectors, historians, theatre buffs, and everybody who loves Asian theatre, music and culture!

Look what I found ~ especially for you!   A rare and valuable book!

Here's a 354-page collection of papers, edited by Mohd. Taib Osman (then president of the Malaysian Society for Asian Studies), published Kuala Lumpur in 1974, and absolutely packed with information on theatrical and musical traditions in Southeast Asia.

The book is written in English and subtitled "Papers presented at the International Conference on Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur, 27th to 30 August, 1969."

The papers are organized by section, as follow ~

Section A: The Shadow Play in Southeast Asia
Section B: Traditional Theatre in Southeast Asia
Section C: Music and Musical Instruments in Southeast Asia

Throughout the book are a number of black and white illustrations, outlines, and several pages of musical notations, as well as scholarly documentation in the form of footnotes and two appendices.

The book is in very good to excellent condition.  The spine is firm, and the pages are clean and tightly bound. A few pages show some creasing but no tears, and there is wear to the dust jacket. There is a small scuff mark on the inside front cover, and a previous owner's name is written in ink on the fly leaf.

This book will ship free to the United States and Canada. For shipping to other destinations, please contact me through my Etsy Shop.


To order now through my Etsy Shop click the button below:

March 25, 2010

And from the Malaysian Shadow Theatre ...

ATTN: Collectors, Historians, Theatre Buffs, and everybody interested in Asian culture!

Hanuman, the Monkey King or Monkey God, is a major mythical and spiritual figure in Southeast Asian, Chinese and Indian literature.

And the shadow play, or shadow theatre, has for centuries been a major form of entertainment and moral instruction throughout that part of the world.

This authentic Hanuman shadow puppet from Malaysia, handcrafted of water buffalo hide, is at least 50 years old. Having been operated at the hands of its dalang (Malaysian puppeteer) in actual shadow performances, he is in very good vintage condition. The colors have faded a bit over time.

Hanuman is 21-1/2" tall and 12" wide, with one articulated arm, and is operated by wooden sticks.

For collectors, this Hanuman puppet is a rare find. He would also look stunning as a wall hanging!

Hanuman will ship free to the United States and Canada. (For international shipping, please contact me through my Etsy shop before ordering.)

To order now from my Etsy shop, please click the button below:

March 23, 2010

From a Malaysian Kitchen ...

This vintage footed mortar and pestle set, hand hewn of stone, was brought to the U.S.A. in the 1970s from Malaysia, where it was used as a functional grinding tool.

Including two slight protrusions (handles) the mortar is 7" wide at the top and 3-1/2" high; the tapering pestle is 5-1/4" long x 1-7/8" wide at base. Both are varying shades of gray, with a few white speckles here and there.  

To the best of my knowledge, the set is at least 50 years old. Both pieces are in excellent condition, clean and without damage or cracks. Because it is handmade, the shape is somewhat irregular. There is a  small indentation at the edge of the footed base and some larger ones on the bottom of the foot; these are original to the piece rather than chips. The base of the pestle still bears faint traces of a slightly aromatic blend of oriental spices.
Together the two pieces weigh about 7 pounds.

$135.00 ~ includes shipping to addresses in the U.S.A.  For international shipping, please contact me through my Etsy shop.

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