Until 1854, Japan was basically off-limits to the outside world. With the advent of photography, the Western world could finally get a glimpse of the long-mysterious land and culture. And through the magic of animated GIFs, we can now view the hand-tinted stereoscopic images just as they appeared to an excited public over 150 years ago.
A subject would be photographed from two angles to simulate the view from the left and right eye. When viewed through Brewster’s stereoscope, the two imagines became one with a 3D effect. It was basically the Victorian era View-Master. But since there were no Fraggle Rock picture discs available, people had to settle for photos of far-off lands.
Source: Ink Tank