Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan]. Tessai HIRASE, author, Mitsunobu HASEGAWA, artist.
Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan].
Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan].
Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan].
Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan].

The Arts & Industries of Japan

Nihon sankai meibutsu zue [trans.: Illustrated Famous Products of the Mountains and Seas of Japan].

Numerous full-page & double-page woodcut illus. in the text. Five vols. 8vo, orig. semi-stiff wrappers (rubbed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (rubbed), new stitching. Osaka, Edo, & Kyoto: 1754.

First edition of this finely and richly illustrated work describing the leading arts and industries of Japan; it was the principal such survey of the 18th century. Hirase (active 1754-80), was a publisher and author in Osaka. The artist, Mitsunobu Hasegawa (active 1721-55), “was the leading Ukiyo-e artist of the Kamigata area and, in fact, had few rivals as a book-illustrator even in Edo, apart from Toyonobu…

“It was during this period that Mitsunobu was called on to illustrate a book [the present work] that took stock of the nation’s industry and crafts…It is a book notable for its matter-of-fact record of the manufacture of what we call consumer goods, of effective methods of farming and fishing, of mining and metal-founding, house- and ship-building. It reveals a pride in the advance of modern Japan and in the industry, artistry and ingenuity of the Japanese people. At the same time, of course, it offers an insight into how the Japanese tilled the land, cultivated trees for lacquer and silkworms, fished the seas and rivers, mined the rocks for minerals and refined and worked metals.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, pp. 181-83.

Vol. I is entirely devoted to mining and metallurgy. There are descriptions of mining gold, silver, copper, lead, and iron throughout the islands. The numerous woodcuts depict miners and metallurgists at work (and at play). Several of these woodcuts offer unique records of metallurgical activities in a depiction of a bellows (tatara) and the tools used in the mines themselves.

Vol. II is concerned with dyes, taking resin from trees to make glue, agricultural techniques, making charcoal, lumbering, textile manufacturing, growing and harvesting tea leaves, drying and grinding the tea leaves, the trade in citrus fruits in Edo, etc.

Vol. III describes and depicts the making of laquerwares, a horse auction, papermaking, the making of mothballs, the catching of crabs, making charcoal, clamming, knife making, harvesting seaweed, weaving silk, harvesting lacquer resin, candy making, frolicking kappa seen by villagers, manufacturing roof tiles, salt making, making sugar, etc.

Vol. IV shows and describes the making of somen noodles, harvesting burdock and kelp, making ink, an auction of cattle, pottery making, a large market, basket weaving, bleaching linen, harvesting leaves for moxibustion, fan making, papermaking, an auction of mushrooms, etc.

Vol. V is largely devoted to products of the sea: shrimp harvesting, clamming, catching octopus, female divers, various netting techniques for catching fish, whale hunting, etc.

Fine set.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 6108