Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”]. FEUDAL CASTLES.
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].
Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].

The Feudal Castles of Japan in 1697

Five finely illustrated volumes in manuscript, entitled “Shuzu goketsuki” [“Plans of Feudal Castles of the Tokugawa Period”].

Numerous fine brush-and-wash drawings in rich colors of about 149 castles, their fortifications, floor plans, & approaches. 64; 50; 49; 62; 67 folding leaves. Ten parts in five vols. 8vo (277 x 200 mm.), orig. patterned wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: on the final leaf of the final vol. (in trans.): “9 April 1737 copied by Tadataka Sakai [and] Minamoto.”

The third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu (reigned 1623-51), the first born to the rule, spent much of his reign centralizing power in Edo, with the bakufu growing in importance as administrators and setters of policy. In 1645, the bakufu ordered all fiefdom lords who owned castles to make a shiro ezu, a detailed account of the structure of each castle; a gocho, which is akin to a census of their daimyo; and kuni ezu, maps of each area. These reports were compiled again in 1697.

This is an invaluable and beautiful record of that famous survey of all the major feudal castles of Japan. This work was never printed but was frequently copied. The volumes depict, in rich color, overhead views of about 149 feudal castles that existed in 1697 (many still stand today) along with several idealized castles. The preliminary text of the first volume provides a color guide to the drawings: red for stone walls; yellow for roads or empty areas; blue for filled moats, rivers, oceans, etc.; purple for empty moats; black for watchtowers; green for ditches, mounds, fields, and mountains; etc. Shrines, stables, and other buildings within the castle grounds are also labeled.

Each castle is labeled with its name, region, and fiefdom and, oftentimes, dimensions. For each castle, a brief history of is provided, mentioning ownership, when built and/or reconstructed, affiliations with shoguns, etc. Some of the most famous depicted include the castles of Nijo, Hikone, Osaka, Kameyama, Nagoya, Inuyama, Odawara, Mito, Kanazawa, Himeji, and many others. Curiously, while Edo Castle is discussed and described, there is no image of it. Could this be for security reasons?

A number of annotated slips of paper, with slightly later additional information, have been pasted in.

In excellent condition. Unimportant worming. The final 11 leaves of the fifth volume have a small burn mark or hole touching the images.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 7038