Collection of manuscripts on equine medicine, entitled on the upper cover of the fine lacquer box containing the manuscripts: “Tanaka ke hidensho” [“Secret Writings of the Tanaka Family”]. TANAKA FAMILY EQUINE MEDICINE.
Collection of manuscripts on equine medicine, entitled on the upper cover of the fine lacquer box containing the manuscripts: “Tanaka ke hidensho” [“Secret Writings of the Tanaka Family”].
Collection of manuscripts on equine medicine, entitled on the upper cover of the fine lacquer box containing the manuscripts: “Tanaka ke hidensho” [“Secret Writings of the Tanaka Family”].

“Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold”

Collection of manuscripts on equine medicine, entitled on the upper cover of the fine lacquer box containing the manuscripts: “Tanaka ke hidensho” [“Secret Writings of the Tanaka Family”].

Eight drawings in the text. Written on high-quality paper & in one fine hand throughout. 389 folding leaves of text in 12 vols. 8vo (242 x 180 mm.), attractive navy blue embossed wrappers, all with gold-flecked endpapers, new stitching. [Japan: late Edo].

An important archive of manuscripts of the Tanaka family concerning equine medicine. We learn in the second volume that in 1603 two horse doctors, Kawada Michiharu and another person who lived in the Kanto region, gave the information in these volumes to Murai Jibozaemon. In 1635 Yokohama Sakon gave further information to Murai. Additionally, in 1640 Shoji Kakuzaemoni gave further secrets to Murai. This last revelation was called “Senkin shinden” or “Information Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold.”

The volumes are concerned with the diet of horses and include many successful methods of feeding the animals, some of which were learned from the Obata school of veterinary medicine. The anonymous author states that different diets must be given to horses depending on their workloads and breeds. A number of diets listed include many herbs; methods of preparation are described. Many case histories are presented and there is an extensive section on acupuncture and the care of hooves (with two drawings of where to insert acupuncture needles on the bottom of the hoof). The information regarding hoof care came from four people, including Saito Izu no kami, Shiina Goro Nagatsune, and Nakamura Saburozaemon (we cannot read the name of the fourth). They were disciples of the Komagata no myojin (a shrine dedicated to horses) and were known as “Hakuraku.” Hakuraku was a hero in Chinese mythology, charged by the Emperor to find the perfect horse. It became a synonym in Japanese for a horse veterinarian. The volumes also contain “One Hundred Advices for the Care of Horses.”

There is much on auspicious days for treating horses, eye diseases, arresting bleeding, precise descriptions of ingredients and measurements of many medicines, treatment of burns, care of the coats, training by use of the whip, breathing problems, care of horses before and during battles, techniques to successfully cross rivers on horseback, varieties of stirrups, hip problems, the yin and yang of horses, and, in the final volume, “Four Exclusive Methods of Taking Care of Horses.”

There is a substantial section of the Otsubo School of Military Equitation concerning 563 methods of training horses by use of the whip.

The fine eight full-page illustrations in the text include depictions of pressure points for acupuncture and moxibustion locations, points that should be touched for diagnosis, measurements of a horse to find pressure points, and the layout of stables.

Fine and fresh set in most handsome lacquer box.

Price: $11,500.00

Item ID: 6793