Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart]. Bosai KAMEDA, author, artist.
Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart].
Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart].
Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart].
Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart].

“A Book of Hints and Suggestions of Form”
“Utterly Charming”

Kyochuzan [Mountains of the Heart].

25 full-page & four double-page finely colored-printed woodcut illus. One opening with an embossed moon. 19 folding leaves of soft paper. 8vo, orig. patterned blue wrappers, title printed on upper cover, new stitching. Edo: Suzan Shobo [on colophon: Suharaya Shinbei], Preface dated 1816; colophon dated 1809.

Early printing and quite rare; it is “one of the masterpieces of Nanga.”–Hillier. “Kameda Bosai, who lived between 1753 and 1826, was a friend of Sakai Hoitsu, and, although chiefly famous as a scholar and poet, studied painting later in life and left one utterly charming book — perhaps the most so of any produced by the artists of the impressionistic movement. It is entitled Kyochuzan (‘Mountains of the Heart’) and was published in one slender volume in 1809. It is made up of softly coloured sketches of mountainous landscapes printed on a beautiful quality of paper, each signed with fanciful names. Among the signatures used are Choko, Ko, Chiryo, Zenshindo, Sairyo, and others.”–Brown, Block Printing & Book Illustration in Japan, p. 121.

“His one book, Kyochuzan, a magical title, immediately engaging our sympathies…perfectly represents his art, with the aid of some inspired, interpretative colour-printing; and because Bosai is so singular and subtle an artist, the book is accepted as one of the masterpieces of Nanga…

“There are all sorts of bibliographical problems [see below] relating to this book (not the least, an inexplicable colophon in the back cover of some copies bearing a date of 1809, notwithstanding a preface date, in the same copies, of 1816 – surely the result of a careless bookbinding pasting in unused sheets printed for another book altogether), but they cannot be discussed here…The use of a deliciously textured paper made possible the broken sumi outlines and the powdery gradations of colour – the true bunjinga colours of yellow, blue, brown and green.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 640–& see plate 114 & illus. 417.

This is a book with a complicated printing history that is unsuccessfully explained, in a most confusing way, by Roger Keyes in his Ehon. The Artist and the Book in Japan, pp. 283-84-(& gives the wrong publisher in his bibliographical description of this book on p. 196). Our copy is most closely associated with number 5, but we are convinced every copy is unique, with fascinating variations. The bibliographical complications of this book offer the eager scholar many possibilities and moments of head scratching.

A very fine copy, preserved in a chitsu, with the handwriting of Shigeo Sorimachi’s assistant on the label on the upper cover. A few tiny wormholes and a small very faint stain on eleven openings.

❧ Colin Franklin, Exploring Japanese Books and Scrolls, p. 80–”It is a book of hints and suggestions of form, printed on softest paper.”.

Price: $4,500.00

Item ID: 7318

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