Of Great Practical Use

Somoku sodategusa [On the Cultivation & Care of Plants].

Two double-page & eight full-page color-printed woodcuts in various delicate pale shades of gray ink (usuzumi). 49; 50 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. blue speckled wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Edo, Kyoto, & Osaka: Yamashiroya Sahei et al., 1818.

[with]:

ABE, Rekisai (or Yoshito). …Kohen […Sequel]. One double-page & 13 full-page black & white woodcuts. 36; 47 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. blue speckled wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Edo, Kyoto, & Osaka: Yamashiroya Sahei, Preface dated 1837.

First editions; complete with the sequel by Abe (1805-70). Iwasaki (1786-1842), a samurai in the service of the Tokugawa shogunate, was a leading botanist, zoologist, and entomologist. Iwasaki botanized in the mountains and fields near Tokyo for many years, developing his abilities as both a botanist and artist. He served as superintendent of a botanical garden belonging to the shogun in Tokyo. His greatest publication was the Honzo Zufu, which was published in 1830-44 in nearly a hundred volumes. It was the largest and most definitive botanical work issued during the Edo period.

The Somoku sodategusa and its 1837 sequel were practical works, issued with an extremely useful index to make consultation easy for anyone interested in botany or agriculture. The authors describe improved methods of cultivation, grafting, new species introduced into Japan (cactus and pineapple), pest control, etc. The handsome woodcuts depict grafting methods, improved hothouses, pests, ornamental plants, how to protect plants and bushes during harsh winters, agricultural tools, etc.

Fine set, preserved in a chitsu.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 6920

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