Numerous woodcut illus. in the text. 24; 27; 23 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers (cover of Vol. II a little stained), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Osaka, Kyoto, & Edo: Prefaces & Afterword dated 1802.
—. Nōkaeki kohen 農家益後篇 [Sequel to For the Farmer’s Benefit]. Numerous woodcut illus. in the text. 30; 35 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers (bindings a little soiled), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Osaka, Kyoto, & Edo: Prefaces dated 1810 & Afterword dated 1802.
—. Nōkaeki zokuhen 農家益続篇 [A Second Sequel to For the Farmer’s Benefit]. Numerous woodcut illus. in the text. 28; 25 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Osaka & other cities: Preface dated 1818, colophon dated 1854.
First edition and a complete set of the author’s first book. Okura (1768-1856?), was one of the three most eminent agriculturalists of the Edo period. A reformer, he wrote more than twenty books on all aspects of agricultural improvement and technology; they were amongst the best of their period in range and clarity of explanation of the new methods. Okura was devoted to the development of farm production centered around the three aspects of technological improvement, cultivation of commercial products, and the processing of farm products.
This work is devoted to the cultivation and products of the Japanese wax tree (Toxicodendron succedaneum), a plant from which is produced lacquer, a traditional candle wax that had the great advantage of being resistant to wind and producing little soot, and a pomade for hair. This plant was a subject that interested Okura his entire professional life.
The numerous and quite attractive woodcut illustrations depict different varieties of the plant, the cultivation of the plant, farmers tending the grown trees in beautiful landscapes, the tree in various seasons, training and pruning techniques, grafting methods, harvesting the fruits of the tree, rendering the oil, the many steps in processing the oil, pricing of the various products, packing them for transportation, marketing (“bringing it to Osaka is best”), sample letters for negotiations and contracts, images of merchants buying from the farmers, storefronts of pomade and candle shops, etc.
The wrappers of all the volumes are very attractively embossed with images of the leaves of the wax tree.
A fine set and very rare when complete.
❧ There is a most wonderful YouTube program on the making of traditional Japanese candles using the wax from this plant. Please contact us for the link.
Item ID: 6853