PERCKHAMMER, Heinz Von. Edle Nacktheit in China [Culture of the Nude in China]. Berlin: Eigenbrodler-Verlag, (1928). PRESENTATION COPY

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Edle Nacktheit in China [Culture of the Nude in China].
Berlin: Eigenbrodler-Verlag, (1928).

4to (269 × 206 mm), pp.40 (20 french-folded leaves). 31 black-and-white photographs printed in gravure. Red endleaves. Yellow card covers, titles and design stamped in red to front, bound with a yellow ribbon through three holes, later red cloth spine. Black-and-white photo-illustrated dust-jacket printed in black and gold; lightly rubbed and worn, soiling and creasing to rear panel. Spine and flap-folds split and now strengthened with tape to verso. ‘Perckhammer Bilder’ written in black ink on rear panel of dust-jacket. Perckhammer’s presentation inscription in black ink on first page.

First edition, a presentation copy inscribed in the year of publication: ‘Herrn Major Schaumburg / Freundlichst zugeeignet / Berlin […] 1928’. Heinz von Perckhammer was born in Merano, Austria-Hungary (now Italy) in 1895. During the First World War he served aboard the SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth during the Siege of Tsingtao and between 1917 and 1919 was held by the Japanese as a prisoner of war. It was during this time when he was held captive that his interest in photography began. He apparently remained in China for much of the 1920s, and took these soft-focused and stylized photographs of women in Macao brothels.

In the introduction to Edle Nacktheit in China he writes: ‘Pictures of nude women, setting aside the ugly caricatures of the “Spring pictures” of erotic scenes, simply do not exist in China. Therefore I believe, I have created something entirely new and of value.’ Edle Nacktheit in China was later suppressed by the Nazis and appeared on the Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums [List of harmful and undesirable writing].

The recipient is believed to be Wilhelm Max Schaumburg-Lippe, or to give his full name: Wilhelm Eugen Georg Konstantin Maximilian Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1898 - 1974), best known as a German-Austrian racing car driver who drove for BMW and Mercedes. He served as an officer in World War I, and held the rank of Major in World War II, where he was commander of a tank reconnaissance unit.

Parr, M. and Wassinklundgren., The Chinese Photobook: From the 1900s to the Present pp.48-9.


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