Many fine brush & color and black & white paintings in the text. Two illus. with movable flaps (one is a volvelle). Finely written in a superb calligraphic hand on mica-coated (kirabiki) textured paper. 31; 34; 36; 35; 35; 30; 45; 33 leaves (not including blanks). Eight vols. 8vo (252 x 180 mm.), orig. dark blue wrappers bound in tetsuyoso style, each cover finely illustrated by hand in gold with depictions of landscapes with plants. [Japan]: Preface dated 1656; this manuscript was written sometime afterwards, probably in the 17th century.
Yamaga (1622-85), military strategist and Confucian philosopher, set forth the first systematic exposition of the missions and obligations of the samurai (warrior) class. These included martial spirit, weaponry skills, loyalty to one’s lord, a sense of personal honor, devotion to duty, and a willingness to sacrifice one’s own life. His teachings became the central core of what later became known as Bushido (Code of Warriors), which guided Japan’s military class throughout the Tokugawa period and to the end of World War II. Yamaga made many important innovations in military strategy and tactics, weapons, and military intelligence. He served as military instructor to the lord of the fiefdom of Ako and founded a military school.
While the original manuscript of “Bukyo Zensho,” written in 1656, does not exist, copies were made for the disciples of “Yamaga ryu,” Yamaga’s military school. These same disciples gathered Yamaga’s teachings — “Bukyo Shogaku” — on obligations and rules of behavior (Bushido) for samurai, which were to be taught from a very young age.
This manuscript is written on very fine luxury paper (ganpishi), which has been mica-coated (kirabiki). The making of this paper and the application of mica is a very laborious and expensive process. The binding style is tetsuyoso, several specially folded quires held together with simple sewing. The binding paper is dark blue, each cover decorated with individual hand-painted landscapes in gold and with orange silver-decorated title labels.
The first seven volumes contain the text of “Bukyo Zensho,” which is devoted to military strategy, etc. These seven volumes are finely illustrated with a series of color and black & white depictions of complex battle formations, castle defenses, outer fortifications, bridges over moats leading to castles, architectural details, barriers, defenses in elaborate mountainous landscapes, signalling using coded flags and banners, drums, bells, trumpets made from conch shells (horagai), shields, mobile observation platforms, fires to send smoke signals that would produce different colors, etc.
The final volume contains the famous “Bukyo Shogaku,” assembled by students of Yamaga. It explains what became later known as Bushido (Code of Warriors). At the end of this volume, there is an index to all eight volumes.
In fine condition. The bindings have a bit of wear at the extremities. The upper cover of the eighth volume has some wear.
Item ID: 6630