Black & white illus. throughout (one folding). Unpaginated. 12mo, printed softcover. Berlin: 1971.
Exhibition catalogue (5-31 March 1971) printed in an edition of 1000 copies. Includes pictures of works by Beuys, Brecht, Darboven, Dibbets, Filliou, Graham, LeWitt, Manzoni, Panamarenko, Palermo, Polke, Richter, Rot, Ruhm, Vautier, Voss, Vostell, etc.
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Black & white illus. throughout (one folding). Unpaginated. 12mo, printed softcover. Berlin: 1971.
Black & white illus. throughout.  leaves. 12mo, beige printed wrappers. Berlin: 1968.
Scarce René Block exhibition catalogue. The exhibition unfolded in two parts, in the United States (“Minimal Art,” 7-30 June) and Germany (“Neue Monumente,” 20 July-16 August). The German leg took place at Block's Berlin gallery, we have not been able to ascertain the American location. It’s possible that two versions of the catalogue were published, our copy does not match the one pictured in René Block, Ich kenne kein Weekend.
Our catalogue pictures work by Andre, Bollinger, Buthe, Darboven, Judd, Kuehn, Laing, LeWitt, Morris, Palermo, Posenenske, and Sandback.
Two illus. in the text & several genji mon linear patterns. 83 folding leaves plus a few blanks. Oblong 8vo (135 x 300 mm.), orig. silk-brocade covered wrappers, new stitching. [Japan: mid-Edo].
This fine manuscript contains descriptions of an unusually large number of kumiko incense games, grouped in novel ways, of the Yonekawa school of incense, active throughout the Edo period. The Yonekawa ryu school was a branch of the Shino ryu school. Many royal and daimyo (feudal lord) families supported the Yonekawa ryu, including Empress Consort Masako (1607-78), second wife of the cultured Emperor Go-Mizunoo.
The anonymous author provides detailed instructions on how to create the proper ambience for the incense ceremony. The host must provide an environment free of other scents. Therefore, only a certain kind of neutral candle wax is used, a careful choice is made of confectionaries that would not give off conflicting odors, no alcohol is served, etc.
Written throughout in the same fine hand. Some brush & ink illus. & tables in the text. 26, 61; 64 folding leaves. Three parts in two vols. 8vo (202 x 133 mm.), orig. patterned semi-stiff wrappers, new stitching. [Japan: mid-Edo].
A most interesting manuscript, which appears to be unpublished. The Shino school of incense ceremony was established in the Muromachi period and still exists today. The founder of the school, Shino Soshin (1443-1537), is considered the originator of kodo (“the way of the incense”), a ritual appreciation of fragrances practiced in small groups and following specific performance schemes. As part of kodo, games of incense appreciation (kumiko)...
70 fine paintings in brush & washes of various colors. Two parts in one vol. 38 folding leaves. 8vo (266 x 185 mm.), orig. orange semi-stiff boards, title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated 1799 but our manuscript was created slightly later.
A very beautiful manuscript describing and illustrating the mushrooms found in the southern area of Nagano Prefecture. Ichioka (1739-1809), a government official, came from a wealthy and intellectual family deeply interested in natural history and the pharmacological properties, based on Chinese traditions, of minerals, plants, and animals (honzo gaku). Several generations of the Ichioka family formed collections of plants and minerals...
60 double-page (two have flaps) & several single-page illus., using brush & washes of many colors. 30; 31.5; 31 folding leaves. Three vols. Large 8vo (308 x 210 mm.), orig. decorated semi-stiff boards, manuscript titles on upper covers, new stitching. [Japan]: Author’s Prefaces dated 1699 & 1709; Postfaces by Nobutomo Ban dated 1813 & 1841.
A most interesting and attractively illustrated manuscript. In the late 17th century, the brother of Kotaku Hosoi, Chimei (d. ca. 1697), a samurai in service to the Koriyama fiefdom, visited the Nara area and was saddened by the disrepair of the many mausoleums, tombs, and tumuli of former emperors. Chimei began a survey of grave sites, and his...
 leaves. 8vo, printed white softcover, title on spine, perfect-bound. New York: Self-published & The Greenwich Collection Ltd., 1990.
One of Ian Wilson’s rarest artist’s books; WorldCat records no copies in North America.
“Wilson has also produced a number of artist books, each simply titled Section followed by a number. The word ‘section’ reminds me of how nations organize their constitutions according to ‘acts’ and ‘sections.’ […] Linguistically, a section also always implies a pre-existing whole. A section can only be derived from a whole. Chapters have a different connotation in that they are like building blocks toward a whole. After...
 leaves, printed on rectos only. 8vo, printed white softcover, title on spine. New York: Self-published; Bern: Kunsthalle Bern, 1984.
Uncommon artist’s book by Conceptual artist Ian Wilson (1940-2020); from an edition of 500 copies.
“Wilson has also produced a number of artist books, each simply titled Section followed by a number. The word ‘section’ reminds me of how nations organize their constitutions according to ‘acts’ and ‘sections.’ […] Linguistically, a section also always implies a pre-existing whole. A section can only be derived from a whole. Chapters have a different connotation in that they are like building blocks toward a whole...
One double-page black & white woodcut. 48 folding leaves. Small 8vo, orig. green wrappers (wrappers a little tired), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover (label soiled), new stitching. [Edo]: Preface dated 1778.
First edition of this rare sharebon, stories revolving around humor and entertainments in the pleasure quarters, most popular in the 1770s and 1780s. This novel, a real “tearjerker,” is one of the masterpieces about the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters (see Cecilia Segawa Seigle, Yoshiwara: The Glittering World of the Japanese Courtesan, p. 141). The novel was a blockbuster of its time, focusing on the irreconcilability of romantic love and societal norms...
17 double-page & four single-page woodcuts, all color-printed. 12; 11; 10 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. embossed & color-decorated semi-stiff boards (boards a little rubbed & soiled), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Edo: ca. 1846].
First edition and very rare; there is no copy listed in WorldCat. Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), was “one of the great Ukiyo-e artists of the nineteenth century.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 890. Kuniyoshi also had a substantial output of erotic books as well.
During the Tenpo Reforms of 1841-43, one of Kuniyoshi’s prints was confiscated due to its politically charged content; he was fined, and his reputation...
Nine double-page, one single-page, & several woodcut illus. in the text, all color-printed, and a number of black & white woodcuts throughout the text. One preliminary leaf pasted-down on the inside upper wrapper, 19 folding leaves, one leaf of ads at end pasted-down on the inside lower wrapper. Small 8vo, orig. wrappers decorated with the characters for “Kiraku” in hiragana, orig. block-printed title labels on upper cover, new stitching. “Ukiyo”: Kirakudo, [late Edo].
First edition of this playful parody of a serious sex manual, with illustrations by Koikawa (1821-1907), one of the leading shunga artists of the late Edo and early Meiji periods...
142; 68; 75; 75; 90; 66 folding leaves (28 leaves, including title, in manuscript). Six vols. 8vo, orig. brown wrappers, new stitching. [China]: Prefaces dated 1584-86.
First edition. “Presented here is a six juan Wanli edition of Yi fang kao (The study of medical formulas) by Wu Kun (1552-1620). The inscription on juan 1 reads: ‘Written by Wu Kun of Shexian and read by his friend Huang Ji.’ Wu Kun, also known as Shanfu and Hegao Shanren, a native of Shexian, Anhui, was a famous Ming physician, medical author, and theorist, and an avid bibliophile. His four main works were Su wen Wu zhu (Wu’s annotated translation...
Twenty fine woodcut illus. in the text. .5 (title-page, printed on red paper & pasted onto inside of front wrapper), 18 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. blue semi-stiff boards, orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Tokyo: Aoyama, 1879.
First edition of the book that first introduced the educational theories of Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852), educational reformer, into Japan. They remain today an important part of the educational policies for young children. Froebel was the founder of the concept of “kindergarten,” a standardized institution that rapidly spread throughout Europe, North America, Korea, and Japan.
Froebel’s educational reforms were introduced into Japan by a disciple, Clara Zitelmann, who moved to Japan in 1876 and became head teacher of the kindergarten at the Tokyo Women’s Normal School (today’s Ochanomizu University). This was the first public kindergarten established by the government. As she spoke no Japanese, she communicated through the school’s principal, Shinzo Seki (1843-80), who thoroughly embraced Froebel’s concepts. Seki had lived in England for some years, and the two shared their common language of English.
Ten cards (181 x 50 mm.), all preserved in the orig. folded color-printed wrapper, entitled on upper panel Furyu e tanzaku [Elegantly Illustrated Tanzaku Cards]. [Japan: Meiji Era].
Ten erotic cards, issued together, each in the tanzaku ban format, and accompanied by their original color-printed wrapper. Tanzaku cards were popular in the Meiji era (1868-1912); see Rosina Buckland’s “Erotic Art of the Meiji Era (1868-1912)” in Timothy Clark et al., eds., Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), pp. 454-55.
The upper panel of each is very finely color-printed with saturated inks, embossing, and rich use of metallic pigments...
Scroll (300 x 4150 mm.), with pale green silk borders & endpapers, wooden core roller. [Japan]: n.d. but probably early Edo.
This is a fine example of an erotic scroll, anonymously painted as usual but with great skill. The scroll contains ten scenes of men (sometimes samurai) and women engaged in various sexual activities. Two of the scenes are threesomes, one of which shows a young samurai copulating with two older women. The hairstyles of both the women and men are typical of the pleasure courts of the early Edo period.
Erotic paintings in Japan have a long tradition, established well before the Edo period. “Many aspects regarding the production of early paintings with sexual content — when, where and by whom they were made, how they were appreciated — are still obscure…There was apparently a radical change in the form of erotic handscrolls from around 1600 onwards when paintings with a sequence of twelve [our example has ten] erotic scenes became common…Each scene in handscrolls of this type does not normally show any clear relationship with the adjacent scenes, nor is there usually any development, other than presenting a variety of couplings and sexual techniques. Each group of copulating figures exists within its own enclosed space, set against a plain or simply decorated background, as if functioning as an example of a possible sexual position…
Eight double-page (of which six are color-printed) & four single-page (all color-printed) woodcuts. 15; 12; 14 folding leaves. Three vols. Small 8vo, orig. embossed & decorated semi-stiff boards, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Edo]: ca. 1844-47.
First edition of this fascinating shunga book; there is no copy in WorldCat. The artist of this work, using the pen name “Ikkyokusai maromaru,” is Kunimaro Utagawa (active 1850-75), who was a pupil of Kunisada Utagawa.
The story is a most interesting parody of the life of Asahina Saburo Yoshihide, the legendary Japanese warrior of the early 13th century. Asahina had superhuman strength, which he...
Seven double-page (one of which has flaps & folds out into a four-panel scene) and two single-page woodcuts, all finely color-printed, and nine double-page black & white woodcuts. One color-printed title-page pasted down on inner upper wrapper, 24 folding leaves. Small 8vo, orig. color-printed upper wrapper, with embossing, decorated lower wrapper, new stitching. [Edo]: Preface dated 1864.
First edition and very rare; we find no copy in WorldCat. The Preface was written by Tanekiyo Ryusuitei (1823-1907), using his pen name “Insuitei.”
Following one of the frequent fires in the famous pleasure quarters of Yoshiwara, often started by the prostitutes in an effort to free...
16 double-page & four single-page color-printed woodcuts. 13; 11; 9 folding leaves. Three vols. Small 8vo, orig. speckled semi-stiff boards (boards rubbed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Japan, probably Edo]: manuscript inscription dated “1832” at end of each volume.
First edition and very rare; we do not find this book listed in WorldCat or in the Union Catalogue of Japanese Books. The Preface is signed by Akikei (or Akikage) Higashikuni.
This work is an erotic version of Shiki no en, an 18th-century group of songs on the four seasons of love from the Yamada ryu school of the Japanese harp (koto). The...
21 double-page & 6 single-page woodcuts. 14; 13; 12 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. decorated wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (label on the first volume partly defective), new stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated 1804.
First edition of this rare shunga book; it is an example of kaidaibon (book with new title). It is based on the Ehon kontan makura [Illustrated Pillow Book from the Heart] of 1783, which, in turn, is a “parody of the ancient Chinese legend of The Dream at Handan (J. Kantan no yume)…the hero Lu Sheng (J. Rosei) had experiences with many different women. However, this turns out to be...
Several dozen manuscripts in various formats, incl. long folded sheets, stitched pamphlets, sewn volumes, and letters. Japan: ca. 1853-63.
A substantial group of documents revealing internal, high-level debates and discussions in response to Commodore Perry’s landings and later controversies that arose as Western powers established a foothold in Japan. This is an exceptional collection, filled with top-secret information on government intrigues as the Japanese state responded to aggressive foreign expansion and dissenting groups within the government urging top-to-bottom reforms.
The manuscripts touch upon pivotal events in Japan’s history:
Three large folded sheets & two lengthy letters with their original manuscript envelopes. Japan: ca. 1822-31.
An exceptional collection of documents on two consequential early Western visits to Japan in the 1820s: the first landing of the Saracen at Uraga and the Takarajima incident. During this period, accounts of these incursions were kept top-secret as matters of Japanese national security. Pre-Commodore Perry materials, such as ours, are extremely scarce. This collection also contains well-rendered drawings of foreigners and their ships. The letters sent by government officials speak to the widespread anxiety throughout the country in the face of much more frequent...
Black ink & washes of different colors. Japan: late Edo.
A finely executed panoramic map, in scroll format, of the shores of the western portion of Boso Peninsula and the Chiba region’s coastline, which leads into Tokyo Bay. We believe this map was created as part of Japan’s preparations against foreign invaders. In the 1830s and 40s, on several occasions, nations like Russia, Britain, and the United States tried to reconnoiter this area and establish diplomatic relations with the Japanese, only to be forcefully turned away. The coastline depicted in this map was vital to Edo’s security because local officials could...
Illus. throughout on blue paper.  leaves. Small folio (356 x 203 mm.), printed wrappers, loose as issued & held by silver rubber band. Brooklyn, NY: Trying to Press, 2020.
A handsome artist’s book recreating Spencer Finch’s massive canopy installation at a London train station.
From the preface: “The sixty pastel drawings that comprise this book were originally created for a public art project at the new Elizabeth Line station at Paddington in London.
32 engraved plates (of which 8 are mezzotints & 2 are folding). Title printed in red & black. viii, 84,  pp. Large 4to, cont. calf (joints slightly cracked at ends), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: Printed for the Author, 1750.
First edition, and a fine and large copy, of a very remarkable book, famous for its influential theory of the Milky Way and for its beautiful, almost surreal, mezzotint plates. In this work, Wright (1711-86), explained the Milky Way as an optical effect caused by our immersion in a layer of stars. Wright also enunciated here that the stars circulate around a center...