When you think about it, what is more appropriately aestheticized than a realistic depiction of birds and flowers?

The list at hand integrates two threads of intention in Japanese book illustration, the proto scientific ideal of realism and practicality, combined with a tradition of depiction imposed by the east asian ink brush.

By the beginning of restored cultural interaction between Japan and the West in the 18th century, domesticated techniques of realistic depiction combined with a practical desire to emulate the classification of nature as embodied in western science.

The history of bird and flower art in East Asia is an ancient one, going back at least 1300 years or more to the T'ang Dynasty in China. By the time the Tokugawa clan took power in Japan at the beginning of the 17th century, the bird and flower genre was long-established there, domesticated from China for centuries and full of creative power and traditional coda. Artists from every school participated in the naturalistic desire to imitate nature… Rimpa, Kanô, even Ukiyoe… There was both a literary/cultural and scientific interest in the naturalism of "kachô" (bird and flower) art and many classical ehon picture books of every school delved into the birds and flowers. Utamaro, Keisai Masayoshi, Soken, Hokusai himself - they all created masterpieces of the genre. By the time the interest in Western knowledge and science had accelerated at the end of the old regime and into the new era of Meiji westernizing Japan, another wave of bird and flower prints and books flourished via the medium of a reinvigorated woodblock printing industry able again to produce beautiful and realistic color images of birds, of flowers, of nature in general.

Combined with a passionate interest in botany and materia medica, as well as the long-standing interest of developing a nomenclature, a dictionary of nature which traces its roots to the Chinese Ehr Ya of the 3rd century BC, the Edo era produced a wonderful assortment of illustrated encyclopedia, materia medica (often encouraged by the feudal authorities, who supported herb gardens and the like) botanicals, bird studies, animal studies, etc., etc. Most, if not all recorded here have remarkable aesthetic interest as well.

Hope you enjoy. The thumbnails lead to many illustrations.

CV

 

 

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88309. [AGRICULTURE] Miyazaki Ryûjô. Kôeki NOKO ZENSHO 5 vols. Tôkyô, n.d.[1881]. Bound Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Original covers and title labels. 22.7 x 15.5 cm. An extensive guide to the practice of agriculture in the early modern era of Meiji Japan. Largely text, but illustrated throughout in woodcut, some of which in each volume are skillfully colored. Near fine condition. Unusual and important work. Miyazaki Ryûjô had also produced such importantlandmarks of modern learning as the Shintei Nihon yochi zenzu of 1878. Complete.

$1,750.00

 

 

 

 

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87171. [BIRDS & FLOWERS] Imao KEINEN. KEINEN KACHŌ GAFU. 景年花鳥画譜. Kyoto: Tanaka Jihei. Meiji 24-25 [1891-2]. 4 vols., each approx. 35.5 x 25.1 cm. Stringbound, fukuro-toji, Japanese style. Vol.1 [Spring] has 31 color woodblock prints of birds and flowers, of which 7 are huge double page prints. Vol.2 [Summer] has 32 plates, of which 8 are double page. Vol.3 [Autumn] has 38 prints, of which 4 are double page. Vol.4 [Winter] has 34 plates, of which 4 are double page, and one is a four page spread.

These original Tanaka Jihei issues (which preceded the Unsôdô versions) have become quite scarce, complete sets even more so, and sets with the western number captioning (the true first printing) almost impossible to find. The covers are original, with the titles directly printed there and the gold flecking. The summer issue has a single worm track in the margins, else it and the other volumes are impeccable, the printing excellent, the colors subtle and lovely. The nicest set we have ever handled. All in a clasped chitsu case which itself is quite rough. 4 vols., complete as issued by Tanaka Jihei, very unusual thus.
$7,500.00

 

 

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90205. [BIRDS & FLOWERS] Imao KEINEN. KEINEN KACHÔ GAFU. Natsu no bu. Kyoto: Tanaka Jihei. Meiji 24 [1891]. 1 vol., approx. 35.5 x 25.1 cm. Stringbound, fukuro-toji, Japanese style. This is Vol.2 [Summer] and has 32 plates. These original Tanaka Jihei issues (which preceded the Unsodo versions) have become quite scarce, and sets with the western number captioning (the true first printing) almost impossible to find. The covers are original, with the titles directly printed there and the gold flecking. There is some wear and spotting inside and out and many pages are separating at the outer edge, as happens with these sorts of bindings when westerners try to "open" the folded pages. The printing is good, the colors subtle and lovely. As issued by Tanaka Jihei, very unusual thus.

$1,250.00

 

 

 

 

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87806. [EHON] Imao KEINEN. KEINEN KACHŌ GAFU 景年花鳥画譜 . Kyoto: Tanaka Jihei. Meiji 24-25 [1891-2]. 4 vols., each approx. 35.5 x 25.1 cm. Stringbound, fukuro-toji, Japanese style. Vol.1 [Spring] has 31 color woodblock prints of birds and flowers, of which 7 are huge double page prints. Vol.2 [Summer] has 32 plates, of which 8 are double page. Vol.3 [Autumn] has 38 prints, of which 4 are double page. Vol.4 [Winter] has 34 plates, of which 4 are double page, and one is a four page spread.

The prints are very clean, the colors delicate and the printing quality is quite good. These original Tanaka Jihei issues (which preceded the Unsôdô versions) have become quite scarce, complete sets even more so. The covers are original, with the titles directly printed there. All in the publisher's clasped paper chitsu. 4 vols., It appears the binding of the "Spring" volume has been resewn. Complete as issued by Tanaka Jihei, very unusual thus.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

     $4,500.00

 

 

 

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86892. [BIRDS & FLOWERS] Tsuchida EISHÔ, Takeuchi SEIHÔ, artists. EISHÔ HYAKUCHÔ GAFU. 4 vols., complete, 22.7 X 33.1 cm., Kyoto, Unsôdô, Taisho 3, 3, 12, 14 [1914, 14, 23, 25]. Profusely illustrated set of images of birds, often quite surreal renderings, ostensibly after design by Tsuchida Eishô, the mid-19th century painter, here re-interpreted by Seihô, the 20th century master, and subtly printed by the Unsôdô. Very unusual work, complete in a clasped chitsu case. Published over the course of more than a decade, it is seldom found complete. Very good colors, impressions, condition. A brief notice can be seen at Mitchell, p. 249, referencing Brown, p.202.

$6,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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88024. [EHON] Tanigami Kônan, artist. Seiyô SOKA ZUFU. Kyoto: Unsôdô, Taishô 6 [1917]. 5 volumes. Orihon folding albums, each 27.8 x 18.8 cm, in boards with printed paper title labels. There are two "Spring" volumes, bound separately, two "Summer" volumes, then "Fall" & "Winter" are bound together, each with the publisher's title slip. Each season has a table of contents listing the prints [in English, kana and kanji, where appropriate]. This complete set consists of 125 (each image size 22.4 x 33.1cm) double-page prints. There is no mention of this book in any of the standard Western references (a fact which illustrates again the need for an Unsôdô bibliography!). These "Seiyô", i.e. "Western", flowers are depicted in a realistic fashion and printed in lovely rich colors with a great deal of skill. Unlike some other botanicals, no bald descriptive text intrudes upon the print itself. The captions are banished to the margin. In the case of the SEIYÔ ZUFU, the very earliest impressions are on delicate paper which weakens a bit at the fold. The covers are a bit worn, but the impressions are very good, the internal condition good (with some paper browning and some folds starting a bit) and the colors lovely. It is one of the nicer examples of this important botanical that we have seen.

$4,250.00

 

  

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88048. [BOTANICAL] Toneri Shigetaka. SÔMOKU SEIFU; YÛDOKU SÔMOKU ZUSETSU. [Nagoya], Eirakuya Tôshirô, Bunsei 10 [1827]. 5 volumes, string-bound Japanese style, fukuro-toji, original printed paper title labels. 28.3 x 19.2 cm. Perfect condition. An interesting illustrated work (some color) on poisonous plants. Found at Kerlen 1657,1895. Complete. In a modern clasped chitsu case.

$3,850.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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85105. [EHON - BIRDS & FLOWERS] [Nakayama SUGAKUDO]. Shasei SHIJU-HACHI TAKA GAJO. Tokyo, et al., Hakubunsha, 1888. 35.8 x 23.4 cm. Orihon folding album, in cloth-covered boards with printed paper title label, of 48 color woodcut images of birds and flowers after designs done by Sûgakudô, an important student of Hiroshige, for a series of prints printed circa 1860. This set from recut blocks was printed under the supervision of Nagao Keihitsu, for the publishing house Hakubunsha. Clearly, the same team of skilled engravers and printers who had worked on Taki Katei's album of birds, done the same year for Hakubunsha, worked on this album as well. The images are titled in both English and Japanese. The printing is exquisite, the colors lovely, in excellent impression and condition. Former owner's stamp on the front cover, brief title on the rear cover. Complete, as issued. Very scarce and lovely work.                                                                                                                                                  

$3,500.00

 

 

 

  

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82254. [EHON - BOTANICAL] Iwasaki Tsunemasa. HONSO ZUFU. 25.6 X 17.5 cm. [n.p, n.d. Taishô era, Japan] String-bound Japanese-style fukuro toji, 3 volumes from the printed series of 93 volumes (plus a 2 volume index). A small part of Iwasaki's classic work of botanical classification, which was begun in woodcut, then continued in manuscript form during the mid-19th Century. It was finally edited by Shirai and published in final form, printed by color woodblock, in 1920-22. [See Bartlett & Shiohara for much more on this important work] The volumes here included are: Volumes 27, 28 & 29. The impressions and condition are very good. Very lovely group.

$1,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

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90265. [EHON] Tanigami KÔNAN, artist. SHÔKEI KABENJÔ Ichi. Kyoto, Unsodo, Taisho 12 [1923]. There is a complex series of puns involved with the titling of this work. Suffice it to say that the title describes a collection of designs of flowers and grasses of an unusually large size. They are, indeed, unusually large for the genre. Each of the 12 double page prints is approximately 39.1 x 52.6 cm in image size. Within edgeworn cloth over board covers and a printed title label. A bit of light browning to the the margins but the images are lovely, with bold impressions and colors. Most copies have been broken up for their prints, unusual complete.

$2,750.00

 

 

 

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90266.  [EHON - BOTANICAL] Tanigami KÔNAN, artist. SHÔKEI KABENJÔ San. Kyoto, Unsôdô, Shôwa 4 [1929]. There is a complex series of puns involved with the titling of this work. Suffice it to say that the title describes a collection of designs of flowers and grasses of an unusually large size. They are, indeed, unusually large for the genre. Each of the 10 double page prints is approximately 31 x 44.5 cm in image size within the printed borders. This volume is volume 3 of 3. Very delicate and lovely printing in good condition with just a bit of marginal dust-soiling. Within edgeworn cloth over board covers, printed silk title label. Most copies have been broken up for their prints, unusual complete.

$2,250.00

 

 

 

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90269. [EHON - Design Book] Yamada Unsôdô, publisher. MOMIJI. Kyoto: Yamada Unsodo, Meiji 44 [1911]. 26.5 x 19 cm. Orihon, with printed paper covers over boards. Thirty double fold sets of color woodcuts detailing the leaf forms of some 187 different species of Japanese maple. A scarce example of Unsodo's wonderful design work with a naturalistic theme from the early part of the 20th century. The covers are a bit worn, but the impressions and colors are very good. Complete as issued, in one volume.

$1,200.00

 

 

 

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88773. [EHON] NAKAMURA Tekisai. KINMO ZU-I 訓蒙図彙 14 vols in 5. Kanbun era date in the preface from 1666. [20 kan of pictures and, {from the first kan} two table of contents volumes.] 27.0 x 19.7 cm, ôbon in size, string-bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji, with early blue covers but without the printed paper title labels. There are literally hundreds of b+w woodblock-printed images with brief descriptive headers and a title which gives the correct Chinese character for the thing described.

Originally conceived as a sort of combination of encyclopedia and character dictionary for those learning to read, the images and brief description of "all knowledge" in the KINMO ZU-I created a new and immensely popular genre in early modern Japan. There were soon KINMO ZU-I dedicated to everything from the world of humankind and its variety, the world of Chinese culture, through everything one would want to know about plants to a encyclopedic look at the theatre and, of course, human sexual behavior (the KOSHOKU KINMO ZU-I). And the original work, originally published in the 1660s, went through countless additions and re-creations. Even this early version, done barely two or three years after the original, already bears little resemblance to it.
This version, with most pages quartered into four images, is the version which Engelbert Kaempfer saw and purchased on his travels in Japan in 1690-1. He employed knowledge gained from the KINMO ZU-I in his two great works on Japan, especially his HISTORY OF JAPAN. He actually reproduced a series of images from the version of KINMO ZU-I we are offering here as illustrations to his HISTORY. Thus, not only is this set a remarkably important guide to the state of Japanese knowledge in the early modern period, it is also historically important as perhaps the first Japanese book to be explicitly used as a resource in a scholarly work produced in the West. There were other new and important contemporary versions produced in the 1690s and 1780s and then done anew in the 19th century. It was the absolute authority for science, botany, astronomy, technology, etc. in the popular imagination. But this version at hand is not only amazingly early, it is also acknowledged as perhaps the most interesting and well-printed version, as well.
This copy is in good condition, though the covers are worn throughout. The impressions are very good throughout. A very unusual item complete, especially this extremely early version of the work, of which even odd volumes are scarcely ever found. (This version is the first exhibit in the botany exhibition catalogued in Bartlett & Shiohara's fine bibliography of science and botany in Tokugawa Japan. They claim it is the first edition, but the first version was printed with different blocks, usually bearing but two images per page, not four, as here. Some copies of this edition omit the title phrase "zôho" [revised], as does ours, but revised it is. Most attribute our version to a date two years after the first.

$8,500.00

 

 

 

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89555. [EHON] OKA Genpô, editor. Tachibana Kunio, artist. MÔSHI HINBUTSU GAKÔ. 7 kan in 3 volumes. Edo, Naniwa, Heian, Temmei 5 [1785]. 26.3 x 18.7 cm. String-bound Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Original blindstamped blue paper covers, no title labels. Slight worming, else very good in very good impression. Lovely set of b+w images of plants and animals described in the Chinese classic Book of Odes. The recourse to the Classics for the cataloging and analysis of the natural world was as common in the West as it is here, before the introduction of the scientific method. Useful as a vade mecum to traditional science in East Asia, to the vibrancy of the Japanese publishing world in producing Chinese works for the Japanese public and to the use of the visual image in depicting the natural world with increasing accuracy. Complete in a recent navy blue chitsu clasped case.

$2,250.00

 

 

  

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90403. Inoue Gensuke 井上源助 . Omoto Chasei Chūkei 万年青写生注解. n.p.: Meiji 16 [1883]. 2 volumes, Vol 1 17 x 12cm and Vol 2 17.5 x 12cm, bound western style with green paper wrappers and red printed title slips and enclosed in a modern green chitsu 18 x 13cm. Volume 1 has an index to the lily types. A treatise on the 100 varieties of Rhodea Japonica, a species of Japanese lily known more for its greenery than its flowers, published in early Meiji. Each volume has 50 lovely color illustrations of potted lilies, for a total of 100.

From a period in printing history when many hybrid techniques were evolving and this one may involve not only copper plates but also stencil and wood engraving.

NDL version and our copy have slightly different order of plant illustrations.

Very scarce. Some bleeding of red inner wrapper to backing paper of last illustration in Volume 1. Lower joint is starting. Refer to Bartlett and Shohara p.165.

$5,250.00

 

 

 

 

  

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88051. MATERIA MEDICA] Li Shizhen; translated by Makino Tomitarô, et l.. Tôchû KOKUYAKU HONSÔ KÔMOKU. Shunyôdô, Tôkyô, Shôwa [1929] 15 volumes, bound Western-style in decorated cloth over boards, slipcases. The late 16th century Chinese materia medica, onzô Kômoku, was imported into Japan by the early 17th century. he first japanese edition appeared in 1637, the definitive enlarged japanese edition in 1714, with native japanese plants added. The do era versions were printed in classical Chinese with diacritical arks (kanbun) to aid the Japanese reader. This set at hand was translated into modern pre-war Japanese and, as such, became the first version of the text useful to the general Japanese reading public. One of the most important guides to the medicinal uses of plants in East Asia. It should be noted that the binding decorations are quite lovely Deco-inspired floral designs, here till in excellent, clean condition. Complete.

$650.00

 

 

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88052. [MATERIA MEDICA] Li Shizhen; translated by Suzuki Masaumi, et al.. Shinchû Kôtei KOKUYAKU HONSÔ KÔMOKU. Shunyôdô, Tôkyô, Shôwa 48 [1973] 15 volumes, bound Western-style in decorated cloth over boards, slipcases. The late 16th century Chinese materia medica, Honzô Kômoku, was imported into Japan by the early 17th century. The first japanese edition appeared in 1637, the definitve enlarged Japanese edition in 1714, with native japanese plants added. The Edo era versions were printed in classical Chinese with diacritical marks (kanbun) to aid the Japanese reader. This set at hand was translated into modern postwar Japanese and is thus useful to a contemporary Japanese audience. One of the most important guides to the medicinal uses of plants in East Asia. It should be noted that the binding decorations are after designs by the famous artist Tsuda Seifû, here still in excellent, clean condition. Complete.

$750.00

 

 

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51923. MITTEN, William. ON THE SPECIES OF MUSCI AND HEPATICA RECORDED FROM JAPAN. London: Printed for the Linnean Society by Taylor and Francis, June 1891. The Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. Second Series, Botany. Volume III, Part 3. 53pp. (pp. # 153- 206). 1 plate. 4to., blue paper wrappers, sewn signatures. Near fine, a clean copy, showing light foxing to fore-edge and minimal soiling to wrappers.

$36.00

 

 

 

 

 

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40981. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF JAPAN. JAPANESE JOURNAL OF BOTANY. Transactions and Abstracts. Tokyo: 1922-1941. Volumes 1-11 (the serial continued until 1970). Vols. 2-11 bound in black cloth, vol.1 #1-4 in wrappers. Wrappers torn at spines, front wrapper missing of vol.1, #2. Some soiling at boards. Very good.

$220.00

 

 

 

 

 

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85791. OHWI, Jisaburo. FLORA OF JAPAN (IN ENGLISH). A combined, much revised, and extended translation by the author of his [Nihon shokubutsushi] FLORA OF JAPAN (1953) and [Nihon shokubutsushi Shida hen] FLORA OF JAPAN--PTERIDOPHYTA (1957). Edited by Frederick G. Meyer and Egbert H. Walker. Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, 1965. Illustrated with a black and white frontispiece, 16 numbered black and white plates, 17 text figures, and endpaper maps. Thick quarto (27.5 x 20 cm): ix,1067 pp. Publisher's green cloth binding with gilt-stamped title on spine and the Smithsonian seal on upper board. A clean copy in fine condition.

$225.00

 

 

 

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90544. Takeda Hisayoshi 武田久吉, author & Funazaki Kōjirō 船崎光治郎, artist. Kōzan Kafu 高山花譜. Tokyo: Fugaku Honsha 富岳本社. Shōwa 22 昭和22 [1947]. 73 pages. Author and artist hanko are tipped-in to colophon. 28.5 x 20.5 cm, bound western-style (opens Japanese style) with a color, wrap-around woodblock-printed dust wrapper. In modern chitsu with clasps. Foreword by author and botanist Takeda Hisayoshi 武田久吉 (1883-1972) and afterword by artist Funazaki Kōjirō 船崎光治郎. Index with guide to plates with plant names in Latin and Japanese. The 33 laid-down color woodcut prints of mountain flowers by Funazaki enhance the text and its black and white halftones. They are in a sōsaku hanga 創作版画 (Creative Print Movement) style and are quite beautiful. It is obvious that this work was more than a botanical guide with its large format and lovely prints.

It is remarkable that works like this were being published in 1946-7 in Japan, considering the extreme shortages, particularly of paper of any kind, never mind the high quality paper used in these publications. Fugaku Honsha 富岳本社, the Fugaku publishing company, was the same one which published Onchi Kōshirō’s 恩地孝四郎 Shinshō Fuji 新頌富士 and its office was right next to Onchi's home.

Very scarce and interesting.

$950.00