Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes]. Buzen SUMIE, artists Aizan, or SUMINOE.
Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes].
Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes].
Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes].
Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes].

First Edition of a Famous Miniature Garden Book

Senkeiban [Illustrations of “Tray” Garden Landscapes].

24 color-printed woodcut illus., of which six are double-page & 18 are full-page. 20 folding leaves. Large 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers somewhat soiled), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Osaka or Kyoto: very likely issued privately, Preface dated 1808].

First edition, posthumously published, of this extremely rare work by Buzen Sumie (1734-1806), edited by his son, Aizan. WorldCat locates no copy of our edition; there was a later edition issued in 1826 with rather different images and color palette. The Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books does not record a copy.

Small tray or pot landscapes — known in the Edo period as senkeiban — have their origins in 10th century China. The “trays” (in Chinese zhan jing pan or penjing) were made out of copper or pottery. They were filled with soil, rocks, pebbles, sand, plants, and miniature trees, forming elaborately conceived miniature garden landscapes. The landscapes are clearly Chinese in style, with mountains and pagodas surrounded by the sea or rivers (represented by pebbles or sand). Many of the created landscapes include miniature houses, temples, gates, stairways, etc. The descriptive text for many of the images discusses the unity and philosophy involved in the creation and depiction of these miniature landscapes.

The extensive explanatory text at the end describes in very great detail how to create the landscapes, materials used, aesthetic considerations, how to care for the plants and trees, etc. Aizan Sumie has provided a most interesting two-page “Afterword” in which he describes the genesis of this book. Buzen Sumie, a bonkei and bonsai artist in the Chinese style, created many senkeiban, and the images in this work are a representative selection of his creations. The selection was made by the publisher Tadataka Katsu, who also wrote a highly complimentary preface. Sumie’s teacher was Settei Tsukioka.

Very good copy. One image has some soiling. Minor thumbing and soiling.

❧ Brown, Block Printing & Book Illustration in Japan, p. 208–referring to the 2nd ed. of 1826, which she calls “delightful.”.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 6628

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