Sencha shojutsu [or] Sencha tsu [Connoisseurship of Tea].

Three color-printed double-page woodcut illus. 4, 21 folding leaves. Small 8vo, orig. wrappers (label gone, unimportant worming), new stitching. Edo & Osaka: Suharaya Mohe et al., “October 1834” on penultimate leaf; “January 1835” on colophon.

Second edition (1st ed.: 1834), finely illustrated by Kaho Tachi (1808-53), a well-known artist and son of the famous artist Ryuwan Tachi. The author, Yamamoto, owned a famous tea company, founded in the 17th century, which continues today as a dealer in tea and seaweed, with headquarters in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

Sencha is a leaf tea and is occasionally used in tea ceremonies (normally, powdered green tea is used). The first illustration is delicately printed in color and depicts a Chinese man lounging on a Chinese chair, holding a delicate porcelain teacup for drinking leaf tea. He is reclining in front of a vessel used to transport tea leaves, tools to boil water, a heating device, and a teapot. The second double-page illustration shows a portion of a tea bush with blossoming flowers, printed in rich colors. The final double-page illustration depicts a landscape with tea bushes covered by bamboo roofing and peasants harvesting the leaves. This has been very finely color-printed with gray.

The text provides a history of tea and its consumption, its health benefits, regions that produce fine tea, types of tea, how to store tea leaves, the selection of refined brewing tools, the etiquette and rituals of serving tea, the theory of water, how to choose charcoal, how to brew tea, measurements and proportions of tea and water, temperature of water, and types of foods that could be served.

Fine copy and rare. We learn from the penultimate leaf and colophon that the ownership of the woodblocks was leased by Yamamoto to several publishers in Edo and Osaka for the 1835 edition.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6914

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