Several full-page woodcut illus. 40; 37 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers. Osaka, Edo, & Kyoto: 1836.
—. Sanka tangan zushiki [Illustrated Manual of Obstetrical Forceps Use]. Accordion-printed album with 33 double-page illus. Two parts in one vol. Thick 8vo, orig. boards (quite rubbed), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover. [Kyoto?]: 1837.
First edition and a rare complete set, including the two volumes of illustrated text and the atlas, all in fine condition. “Perhaps the most fascinating of the old books on obstetrics in the writer’s collection is a Japanese obstetrical atlas printed in one ‘accordion-style’ volume, composed by Sansetsu or Gihaku or Yoshihiro Mizuhara (1782-1864) and published in 1837 with the title Sanka zushiki. Mizuhara is now considered to have been the ‘Semmelweis of Japan,’ credited with saving many lives of both mother and child because of his knowledge and his inventions — different ‘styles’ of forceps or seekers or probes. Drawings of these Japanese obstetrical instruments (which appear to be variations on those of the Kagawas) are shown, with many illustrations of them in practical use. Prudery was not unknown in the practice of Japanese obstetrics, and an illustration shows the physician ‘operating under the sheet.’…The only advantage this ‘obscurity’ offered the Japanese physician was as a means for him to employ the obstetrical instruments which, by the traditional belief of the unsuspecting mothers of Japan, he was not supposed to use. A second part of this atlas was devoted to illustrative case reports. The artist of the woodcuts for this obstetrical atlas was Unshorin Shiokawa (1807-77), who also contributed a postscript to that book describing his work. Sanka zushiki is a beautiful example of the fine Japanese printing of that period, and the damp-staining of the copy in my collection merely adds to its charm.”–Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books, II, p. 498.
In fine condition. The comparable Blondelet set sold for $19,200 in a subsequent auction held in 2007.
Item ID: 6692