Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater]. Sanba SHIKITEI, author, Toyokuni I. UTAGAWA, Shun’ei KATSUKAWA, illustrators.
Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater].
Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater].
Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater].
Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater].

Picture Dictionary of the Japanese Theater
With Portraits by Toyokuni I

Shibai kinmo zui [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Theater].

Numerous woodcuts throughout. 11; 15; 18; 18; 25 (of 26, lacking the first leaf of text of Afterword). Eight parts in five vols. 8vo, orig. patterned semi-stiff wrappers (some worming, occasionally affecting text & illus.), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Edo: Kazusaya Chusuke, 1806.

Second edition (1st ed.: 1803) and rare. “In the early years of the nineteenth century, Toyokuni was also the artist for other books relating to the stage, but they are of lesser importance. When Shikitei Samba compiled his ‘Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Theatre’, Shibai Kimo Zui, published in 1803, Toyokuni provided a volume of actor portraits, while Shunei illustrated the other six volumes with pictures and diagrams dealing with every aspect of the stage; scenery, machinery, props and costumes.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 580.

Very good set, preserved in a chitsu. There is some worming touching the illustrations and text, but it is not too offensive. Our copy lacks, in the final volume, the first leaf of text of the Afterword.

❧ Brown, Block Printing & Book Illustration in Japan, p. 154–describing the first edition of 1803: ”Rare and interesting.” Barbara Jane Cross, “Reading Fiction as Performance: Shikitei Sanba (1776-1882) and the Woodblock Print” (online SOAS thesis): “Sanba’s last gekisho, Shibai kinmo zui…of 1803, is a comic encyclopaedia on the theatre, which categorises various aspects of the theatre world according to the Tenmon astronomical phenomenon. Hattori describes it as instigating make-believe theatre as truths in the ‘theatre kingdom’, and unearths humour from the discrepancies created between it and the truths of everyday life…in its 7th volume Sanba had the foresight to include as a selling ploy full-length portraits of actors by Toyokuni.”.

Price: $950.00

Item ID: 7319