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Travel Posters
and Memorable Works on Paper
From Africa, China, India and Taiwan
plus illustrations of the people and customs of Afghanistan

Third Floor Gallery
November 15, 2001 through February 2002

An exhibition entitled Travel Posters and Memorable Works On Paper from Africa, China, India and Taiwan plus Illustrations of The people and Customs of Afghanistan is currently on view in a gallery of The Newark Public Library at 5 Washington Street in Downtown Newark. The display will be shown from November 15, 2001 through February 2002.
The most recent national census undertaken in 2000 by the Federal Government of the United States revealed and confirmed amazing shifts in national and regional populations. The theme of this Library exhibition is to explore in a survey manner some of the people, geography, manners and customs plus historic structures which make for a better understanding and appreciation of people coming to The Garden State from distant lands in our own time in the 21st century. The display is a colorful mixture of contemporary posters sent from official travel agencies from The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of South Africa, The Republic of India and from Taiwan, The Republic of China. There is also a section devoted to illustrations of the landscapes, people and modern history of The Islamic State of Afghanistan as there is such an intense interest in this remote region of Asia since the American tragedy which occurred on September 11, 2001 in Manhattan and the Washington Pentagon Building.

Two maps of the African continent show dramatic changes in political divisions due to exploration and internal governmental developments. The most current, highly colorful and informative map was researched and published in late 2001 by The National Geographic Society. Large posters depict the sweeping typography of South Africa as well as the remarkable art of the women of Ndebele in their ceremonial beadwork and the large murals that cover the walls of their homes. Another stunning poster entitled “Rick’s Place” shows the fictional café which was the setting for dramatic scenes in the celebrated 1942 Hollywood film, “Casablanca” set in Morocco and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Poster images received from The people’s Republic of China show the ever lovable pandas, the eternal architectural marvel of The Great Wall, and the Imperial Palaces from earlier Chinese dynastic history. A few hand painted Chinese flowers from Canton in 1806 owned by The Library since 1924 are shown as are several volumes profusely illustrated with photographs by noted authority, Olvald Siren on the Gardens and Imperial Peking Palaces in China. An absorbing map of China dating from the early 17th century by the Dutch cartographers, William and John Blaeu clearly indicates the confusion for geographic facts and terrestrial accuracy still so prevalent in the Western World even today.

Hand painted flowers, Canton, China, 1806.

From The Costume of Hindustan, published in 1804.


From The Republic of India came oversized posters showing elaborate costumes for religious ceremonies, elephants adorned in brilliant raiments sparkling with jewels and, of course, the splendid Taj Mahal which Emperor Shah Jehan built to honor the memory of his adored wife, Mumtaz Mahal in agra. Multiple patterns for Madras fabrics are shown along with costume sketches from Hindustan as published in 1804. 
Several literary works by V.S. Naipaul who received the 2001 Nobel Prize for literature are featured. Mr. Naipaul lives in Salisbury, England near prehistoric Stonehenge and he was born in Trinidad in 1932. However, he is the grandson of a Hindu in the Brahmin caste from the north regions of India. An exceedingly rare edition of a notable art book entitled, “Mediaeval Sinhalese Art” by Ananda K. Coomaraswany printed by The Essex House press in 1908 is from The Special Collections Division of The Library. Coomaraswany was a noted East Indian scholar who was recognized as a leading authority on Far Eastern Art while associated with The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Indian flower seller, 19th century watercolor.
New posters from Taiwan, The Republic of China, feature the countryside scenery of that island nation which has a total population of slightly over 22 million people. 

Men, women and children of the Islamic State of Afghanistan or “Land of The Afghans” are shown in color illustrations from travel magazines and recent issues of The New York Times. They feature the diverse tribal regions that came into existence as a single national entity in the 18th century. Biographic data on ex-King Mohammad Zahr Shah is given and this segment of the display was added in response to massive public curiosity about the country which has dominated news of the world sine mid-September of this year.

The exhibition, prepared by William J. Dane of the Library’s Special Collections Division, is open free of admission charges during regular Library hours which are Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For additional information or answers to general questions, please call (973) 733-7745.

Detail from "Visit India" travel poster.


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