Working on a donated collection of books can sometimes be a repetitive task – as collectors usually focus on one theme in particular, donations may consist of hundreds of books studying the same subject from slightly different angles. Occasionally though, we come across something entirely unexpected and sometimes amusing. I had such a moment a few days ago when I discovered, among the collection of art books donated by Professor Jean Michel Massing, a 1906 illustrated Swiss manual of jujutsu. The Japanese martial art is here shown performed by two portly, mustachioed, middle-aged European men who have somehow decided that a three-piece suit with bow tie was the best outfit for this kind of activity. It makes for some amazing pictures :
The book, entitled Handbuch des Dschiu-Dschitsu, is a German translation of the original French Manuel de jiu-jitsu. Its author is Armand Cherpillod, a Swiss world champion of wrestling; in the introduction, Cherpillod explains that he learned jujutsu in London from the two Japanese masters Sadakazu Uyenishi and Yukio Tani.
The last page of the book advertises another jujutsu manual aimed at ladies, which sadly we don’t seem to have.