Dobokuko yoroku [A Handbook for Civil Engineers].

Woodcut illus. in the three vols. of text. Two vols. of atlas containing 50 double-page illus., many with overlays. Five vols. Large 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, orig. stitching. Tokyo: Naimusho Dobokukyoku [Civil Engineering Section of the Department of the Interior], 1881.

First edition of the one of the major civil engineering textbooks published in the early Meiji period; it is a comprehensive treatise of traditional Japanese methods devoted to river management, flood control, soil erosion, etc. Takatsu, a civil engineer employed by the national government, also incorporated Dutch techniques in the present work.

The two atlas volumes, in accordion format and printed on thick paper, are very remarkable: many of the fine double-page woodcuts have flaps (and sometimes several flaps) mounted in very imaginative ways. Also, a number of the woodcuts have several overlay sheets over the full image, showing the layers of construction and giving a most vivid, near 3-D effect.

A great deal of the text and many of the illustrations are devoted to the theory and practice of methods of using the jakago (“serpent baskets”), skillfully woven bamboo baskets filled with boulders and used to stabilize riverbanks, deflect currents, secure bases of bridges from scouring, etc. Jakago were originally devised by the Dutch and were commonly used in Italy. Many kinds of jakago are illustrated, and the images all contain labels describing the various parts.

Jakago were also used to construct artificial ponds, as depicted. Dam, bridge, and chute construction are also illustrated.

Fine set. The three text volumes have a pale brown marginal stain at the upper outer corner of each leaf. Preserved in a chitsu.

Price: $5,000.00

Item ID: 6912

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