Wow. Reiji Esaki was one of the leading photographers in Meiji Era Tokyo. His studio, Esaki Shashinkan apparently saw a brisk business, because it took him just three years to shoot the 1,700 baby portraits he turned into this incredible photocollage.
According to the Old Japan photo expert Rob Oeschle, whose rarity-filled photostream is one of the most incredible I've ever seen on flickr, Esaki rephotographed the collage and began selling prints to the public in 1893.
Which means I now have to start tracking down a print of my own from somewhere [somewhere that trafficks in vintage Japanese photography with a contemporary, conceptual edge, obviously. Good luck with that.]
1700 JAPANESE BABIES -- Back in the Days When the Japanese Were Actually Having SEX, and Actually MAKING BABIES [okinawa soba's flickr stream]
Esaki's photo is also featured in Terry Bennet's definitive 2006 book, Photography in Japan 1853-1912 [amazon]