Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down]. ORIBE RYU.
Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].
Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].
Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].
Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].
Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].

The Earliest Manual of the Chanoyu to Be
Printed in Japan

Koshokuden [Oribe Furuta’s Teachings Passed Down].

Numerous woodcuts, a few full-page, in the text. 45 folding leaves. Large 8vo, somewhat later blue wrappers, new stitching. [Japan: 1624-48?].

An early edition, possibly the first, of the first manual of the chanoyu (“the way of tea”) to be published in Japan. Oribe Furuta (1544-1615), was the most famous of the seven tea disciples of Sen no Rikyu (1522-91), who developed the definitive form of chanoyu. Oribe was Japan’s leading tea master for nearly a quarter of a century, serving both Hideyoshi and, later, the shoguns Ieyasu and Hidetada. Oribe founded the Oribe ryu school of tea ceremony, which still exists today. It is characterized by the use of color, “both in ceramics and in the flowers which increasingly came to serve as an adornment in both the tea room and the tea hut garden…He expanded the soan [a small thatched hut] with adjoining rooms and added a window to the tea hut to allow in good natural light.”–George van Driem, The Tale of Tea, p. 188.

The Koshokuden is also the earliest printed guide to the chanoyu of Oribe. It is written in kanji kana majiri-sorobun and elegantly printed in gyosho (cursive style of writing characters). Many of Oribe’s writings have yet to be published. The records of 147 tea gatherings overseen by Oribe from 1583 to 1614 were published in 1984, and his letters on tea matters appeared in 1985.

Our edition is undated and clearly was printed in the first half of the 17th century. We know of a printed edition published by Rihei Araki in 1660.

The Koshokuden contains ten chapters:

1. the methods and rules concerning the sprinkling of water in the gardens in wintertime.

2. how to conduct the tea ceremony with different ranks of participants.

3. tips on how to host a tea ceremony on short notice.

4. the lighting of the tea room in the evening ceremony.

5. list of flowers not to be used in the tea room due to their scents or inharmonious names.

6. instructions for the karamono way of tea ceremony (Koicha).

7. description of the tea room with a hanging tea kettle (kusari no ma).

8. how to properly invite people to the tea ceremony and how to thank the host.

9. the way of tea ceremony in the warm season using the furo (a brazier for the summer months).

10. how to bring the guests into the tea ceremony hut.

This is an interesting example of complex book design known as irikumi no zu, with woodcut illustrations next to the relevant text. The woodcuts depict a skylight for the tea ceremony room, tools and their correct placements, braziers, bowls, ladles, shelves, etc. The layout of the book clearly imitates manuscripts of the period.

A very rare book, with no copy in WorldCat. However, we have located another copy in the Yamada Yoshio Bunko collection at the Toyama City Public Library.

A very good copy. Some blank margins of a number of leaves have been strengthened. There is also some worming, touching some characters, which has been carefully repaired.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 7708

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