Manuscript on paper entitled on title slip on upper cover “Amiryo hen” [trans.: “Fishing with Nets”]. Heitaro NIWA.
Manuscript on paper entitled on title slip on upper cover “Amiryo hen” [trans.: “Fishing with Nets”].

Fishing Nets

Manuscript on paper entitled on title slip on upper cover “Amiryo hen” [trans.: “Fishing with Nets”].

Many highly detailed and beautiful brush & ink drawings, many of which are folding. 18 numbered leaves; 49 unnumbered leaves. 8vo (240 x 163 mm.), orig. wrappers, new stitching. [Japan: ca. 1890s].

A fascinating and apparently unpublished manuscript on commercial fish nets, beautifully illustrated with finely drawn depictions of different kinds of nets, buoys, weights, and floats. Niwa (d. 1910), wrote several works under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, all of which were concerned with improved methods of commercial fishing, fishery policy, and the fish trade.

Niwa begins this manuscript — a lecture copied by Makisaburo Tsuruta — with introductory comments on the first 18 numbered leaves, stating that to increase fish catches, Japan’s fishermen had to improve their use of fish nets. The lecture is highly technical and detailed, in which he categorizes the variety of fish nets and their uses. He recommends the use of cotton in place of hemp for nets.

The text pages contain many finely drawn small illustrations of parts of nets and the different types of knotting. Niwa describes and illustrates various floats, weights, anchors, and buoys. There is an extended section on the dyeing of the nets, using the bitter juice of the persimmon (kakishibu), which also serves as a strengthening agent. There are a number of references to Western nets as well, especially those from northern Germany, Cornwall, and Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The remainder of the manuscript is a comprehensive illustrated account of the various kinds of fish nets. There are five broad categories of nets — not easily translatable — but clearly a coracle, a casting net, a fixed net, a purse seine, and a surrounding net. Within each category, variations are described and illustrated. The illustrations are very delicately and finely drawn by brush and there are a number of inserted illustrations, clearly by the same artist. Niwa has provided detailed information on dimensions and knotting techniques. The author recommends which net is appropriate for each kind of fish and location. A bottom trawl is also depicted and described. Some of the fish include tuna, mackerel, sardines, whales, blowfish, horse mackerel, and dolphins.

In fine condition.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 6235

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