Sanyo kyoyu shu [or] roku [A Collection of Teachings on Sericulture].

One double-page & 23 full-page woodcut illus. 33 leaves. 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers (wrappers a little soiled), block-printed title label on upper cover (label a little defective & soiled). Kyoto: Tawaraya Riemon et al., 1859.

First edition and very rare; WorldCat lists no copies. This was one of the standard textbooks on sericulture of the period, published at a time when Japan was just beginning to trade with the rest of the world (the port of Yokohama opened in the same year as the publication of our book). Both raw silk and finished fabrics quickly became extremely important exports.

The beginning of the book gives a history of sericulture in Japan from the second century B.C., when Chinese techniques were imported. The text describes all the steps of sericulture from growing mulberry trees to the finished silk product. The fine woodcuts vividly depict many of the processes. The first woodcut is double-page and depicts an elaborate ritual depicting the Emperor giving silkworm cocoons to his subjects. The remainder of the woodcuts, all full-page, depict the steps in sericulture: incubation and rearing of worms, cocoons, selection of eggs for reproduction, techniques of keeping rooms warm enough to enhance hatching, the mulberry tree and its cultivation, feeding the silkworms with mulberry leaves, tools, making the silk, etc., etc.

Fine copy.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6909

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