Alma Karlin’s Musical Miniatures

Japanese Musical Instruments from the Collection of Alma M. Karlin and their Relation to Religious Music

  • Klara Hrvatin Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
Keywords: Alma M. Karlin, Japan, Buddhist instruments, Shinto instruments, yakumo-koto, hyōshigi

Abstract

The following article serves as an introduction to one of the world’s greatest traveller Alma Maximiliane Karlin (1889–1950) and her music-religion related objects she probably brought from Japan, where she stayed from the beginning of June 1922 to July 1923. Not numerous, but in comparison to similar objects brought from other countries, the largest in number, the collection shows Karlin’s preference for simple instrument miniatures such as are models or miniatures of instruments shamisen, koto, yakumo-goto. Interesting are as well objects, which are indirectly related to Japanese music; ukiyo-e, postcards and small colored prins on postcards, depicting themes related to Japanese traditional instruments, small bronze tengu mask and others.                                                                                                     

In order to better define those instruments and find a possible relation of these instruments and their religious practices to Karlin’s life, the article focuses as well on the Karlin’s non-classical travelogue, Slovenian translations of Einsame Weltreise: Die Tragödie einer Frau (Lonely Travel, 1929), in particular where she depicts her travel and stay in Japan. From her collection of instruments and her writings, the author searches how and to what extent Karlin developed a sense of, or was devoted to certain instruments which express some relation to Shinto or Buddhist religious practices.

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Published
2019-12-18
How to Cite
Hrvatin, Klara. 2019. “Alma Karlin’s Musical Miniatures”. Poligrafi 24 (93/94), 109-35. https://doi.org/10.35469/poligrafi.2019.193.