Illustrated by Hokusai’s Daughter, Oi

Sencha tebiki no kusa [A Concise Dictionary of Sencha].

One double-page & ten full-page woodcuts in the text. 35 folding leaves. Small oblong 8vo (shuchin bon), orig. blue wrappers (rubbed), orig. block-printed title & index labels on upper cover (both labels a little defective), new stitching. Osaka, Edo, & Kyoto: various publishers, 1848.

First edition of an extremely rare work; this is a beautifully illustrated book on the tea ceremony, with fine woodcuts by Oi Katsushika, the gifted daughter of Hokusai. Oi Eijo (ca. 1800-ca. 1866), his “faithful” daughter (Hillier, The Art of Hokusai, p. 90), assisted her father for a number of years and was an accomplished painter and illustrator in her own right. She excelled in depicting women.

Sencha is a leaf tea and is occasionally used in tea ceremonies (normally, powdered green tea is used). The first illustration is a double-page panoramic view of ladies harvesting tea leaves in the fields, which are owned, we learn from an inscription on a small post in the image, by the author, Yamamoto. He owned a famous tea company, founded in the 17th century, which continues today as a dealer in tea and seaweed, with headquarters in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

This is followed by ten full-page and highly detailed woodcuts of Sencha ceremony utensils with displays of how the implements — in various styles including Chinese — should be positioned during the ceremony. Some of the utensils are great treasures, owned by the Horyuji Temple. Various kinds of teapots are shown (including a Chinese teapot owned by Yamamoto and a Dutch example).

Following the woodcuts, there is a history of tea and its consumption, types of tea, instructions on brewing, the theory of water, how to choose charcoal, measurements and proportions of tea and water, temperature of water, and types of sweets that could be served. There are also discussions on how foreigners drink tea and its health benefits.

Fine copy. The first three leaves have minor, mostly marginal, worming.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 6480

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