Manuscript on paper, entitled on labels of upper covers “Igaku jirin” [“Dictionary & Vocabulary of Medical & Herbal Terms” [or] “Forest of Words”]. Boyo YAMAMOTO, or Nagayoshi or Seiju.
Manuscript on paper, entitled on labels of upper covers “Igaku jirin” [“Dictionary & Vocabulary of Medical & Herbal Terms” [or] “Forest of Words”].

A “Forest of Words”

Manuscript on paper, entitled on labels of upper covers “Igaku jirin” [“Dictionary & Vocabulary of Medical & Herbal Terms” [or] “Forest of Words”].

61; 74 folding leaves. Two vols. Large 8vo (268 x 190 mm.), orig. speckled wrappers (extremities somewhat worn), new stitching. Kyoto: late Edo or early Meiji.

The first two volumes (of, apparently, nine) of this invaluable — and unpublished — dictionary of herbal and medical terms by Boyo Yamamoto (1778-1859), a prominent Kyoto doctor and botanist and a direct disciple of Ono Ranzan (1729-1810), the famous professor of botany. The author of many botanical and herbal works, Yamamoto had a school — the Yamamoto Dokushoshitsu — where he taught herbal medicine. Yamamoto left a number of works in manuscript, of which this is one.

Our manuscript was clearly copied by a disciple as a work of reference. It starts with a Preface providing a biographical sketch of Yamamoto and an account of the genesis of this text. The text itself is written in Chinese with Japanese reading marks. Arranged by the number of kanji strokes, it includes very full definitions of and references to medicinal plants, minerals, and animals, along with diseases. Each defined word is provided with citations to other works of reference where the substance, medicine, or disease is fully discussed. Many of these reference works are Chinese.

The former grounds of Yamamoto’s school were excavated in 2014 and many important artifacts were recovered, including three manuscript copies of the “Igaku jirin.” One of the manuscripts is in two volumes, like ours, and the other two are in nine volumes.

Fine condition.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 7063