18 woodcut illus. (several color-printed). 23; 25 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. yellow wrappers (wrappers a little soiled), new stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated “1851,” published in 1852.
First edition and very rare. Kikuchi (fl. 1848-64), was responsible for starting a new age of Japanese veterinary medicine (see Alexander Kast, “Johannes Ludwig Janson, Professor of Veterinary Medicine in Tokyo in 1880-1902“ in Acta med-hist Adriat (2010); 8 (1), p. 116). Before this work, all books on veterinary medicine published in Japan were either entirely dependent on Korean or Chinese traditions or were mere translations of Dutch texts that had passed through Dejima Island at Nagasaki. This book was the first work by a Japanese horse doctor to contain the author’s own independent observations, gained by his own dissections and experiences.
Kikuchi studied in the Taishi-ryu school of horse medicine, which was founded in Japan in 595 and was based on Korean concepts. While Kikuchi had a classical Japanese training in veterinary medicine, he independently performed a number of dissections, a procedure still uncommon in Japan.
In the fascinating Preface, Kikuchi writes that he was influenced by three Western texts: Noel Chomel’s Dictionnaire oeconomique (he probably used the 1732 Amsterdam ed. or a Japanese manuscript translation); the works of classification by Linnaeus; and an author whose name sounds like “Benmuru.” Kikuchi was particularly inspired by Chomel’s detailed description of the organs of the horse.
This book is the first scientific anatomy of the horse to appear in Japan by a Japanese doctor, based on dissection and observation; Kikuchi systematically describes the function of each organ and the anatomy of each body part.
The finely engraved woodcuts include four handsome double-page illustrations of the horse, one of them colored-printed. There are also 14 fine full-page woodcuts, seven of which are color-printed. While pressure points are located, the illustrations are thoroughly and strikingly “modern.”
Very fine set. Very minor worming, mostly marginal.
Item ID: 7327