Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”]. COSTUMES FOR THE EMPEROR, HIS ENTOURAGE.
Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].
Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].
Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].
Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].
Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].

The Emperor Has Some Clothes

Illustrated manuscript on fine mica paper, entitled “Shozoku shuyo sho” [“Costumes of the Court Comprehensively Gathered & Explained”].

Many fine brush & color and black & white paintings in the text. 26; 20; 27; 17; 32 folding leaves of mica paper. Five vols. 8vo (240 x 172 mm.), orig. finely decorated wrappers, each set of endpapers finely painted with botanical landscapes, orig. title labels on upper covers in manuscript, new stitching. [Japan: mid-Edo].

A beautiful and remarkable luxury manuscript, created on mica paper and richly illustrated in fine colors and brush, describing and depicting all the elements of the costumes for the emperor, the emperor “emeritus,” the crown prince, the prince’s son, male aristocrats, retainers, and guards of the court. Many of the costumes date from the Heian period. We learn from the first volume that the manuscript draws from three earlier texts: Shozoku shuyo sho (1614), Shozoku yoryo sho (1716), and Shozoku zushiki (1692). The author of our manuscript states that he has edited the earlier works and also made many additions. The luxurious illustrations are entirely new.

Each volume has an index at the beginning listing the costumes described and illustrated. The first volume is devoted to the costumes of the emperor to be worn at the most formal ceremonies and religious events, including headgear, belts, jackets, trousers, inner wear, socks, shoes, fans, jewelry, and scepters. The illustrations of all these items are finely executed in rich colors and with delicate brushwork. Details of measurements, materials, patterns, etc., are given in the text.

The second volume is devoted to the wardrobe of the emperor “emeritus,” the crown prince, his son, and costumes for young princes. There is also a most interesting section on Chinese-style formal costumes for the emperor.

Vol. III is devoted to the costumes of the retainers and attending aristocrats. Along with illustrations of many elaborate clothes, there are many fine illustrations of swords with adorned with shells and ivory, with white sharkskin tsuka (handles), and elaborately decorated scabbards (including a remarkable one covered in fur), etc.

The fourth volume is in part concerned with the attire for the guards. There are a number of illustrations of bows and arrows, elaborate body armor, finely decorated quivers, etc. The second part of the volume discusses and depicts the attire to be worn by the emperor “emeritus,” aristocrats, and the prince for informal occasions.

The final volume is concerned with headgear for men, clothes for royal children, fans for special occasions, and richly decorated screens.

The numerous color illustrations are of very great complexity and beauty. There is ample use of gold. The black-and-white illustrations are used to depict the underlying patterns of the fabrics and structures of the garments.

The bindings of these volumes are also very remarkable. The outer wrappers are decorated with dragon motifs on mottled paper to which mica has been applied, each different from the others. The insides of the wrappers have fine color illustrations of seasonal botanical landscapes, each one of which is original and varied from the others.

In excellent fresh condition. There is some occasional worming in Vols. I, III, IV, and V, but we do not find it offensive.

Price: $15,000.00

Item ID: 6654