Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land]. Ichigen TAKEMURA.
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].
Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].

Honcho chakyo [The Classic of Tea in Our Land].

Nine fine double-page woodcuts by Hakurei Koyama. Title-page, 59 folding leaves, one leaf of ads. Large 8vo, orig. mica-decorated wrappers (a little rubbed), new stitching. Osaka: Harimaya Kyubei, 1807.

First edition of the first book on the way of tea written in the oraimono style (educational text books); this is a rare book, with WorldCat locating only the Berkeley copy.

This finely illustrated book was written to be a complete introduction to the way of tea, teaching the spirit, connoisseurship, and techniques of the tea ceremony. The book is printed in a most unusual format, with four bold calligraphic columns per page of text in kanbun style with reading marks, and, in between each of these four columns, the same text in hiragana, for those who did not understand the scholarly kanbun style.

The author, about whom we know nothing, begins with a history of the way of tea from early Chinese history, its transmission to Japan, and the various schools that developed in the island nation. Many of the most important historical figures in the appreciation of tea are mentioned.

Takemura then describes the stages of the tea ceremony, from invitations, preparations, and how to be a good host, to understanding the rooms and their elements (all detailed), tea ceremony tools, and other materials.

This is followed by a long discussion of kaiseki as a part of the tea ceremony. Various types of kaiseki are described. The arrangement of the flowers in the room is also discussed.

The author provides a list of legendary tea tools and gives instruction on how to admire and appreciate them. At the end are 50 poems to teach the reader how to achieve the proper state of mind for the tea ceremony.

The nine double-page woodcuts are fine and complex. The first depicts the tea hut and surrounding garden, with each important area labeled. The next depicts the preparation room, with a female servant placing containers on trays and the host carrying those trays into the tea ceremony room. Again, each important part of this room has a label, explaining its function.

The third woodcut depicts the misuya (a room to keep water and other supplies). The fourth double-page woodcut is color-printed and shows the tea ceremony room with seated participants. Each architectural element is labeled. The fifth image depicts a servant removing confectionaries from an elaborate box and placing them on to a dish with the mistress of the house looking on. The kaiseki menu is posted above the servant to guide her.

The sixth image is again color-printed and depicts the confectionaries displayed on two elaborate cake stands, one made of wood and the other ceramic. The confectionary store is named — Kameya Yoshiyasu — which burned down in 1803. It then changed hands and took on the new name Kameya Yoshinaga, which still exists in Kyoto.

Image seven depicts a tea master looking out onto his beautiful garden. Many garden ornaments are displayed. The eighth double-page woodcut depicts a samurai and his entourage coming home from battle.

Our final woodcut shows a tea ceremony master — Matsumoto Juho — at the window of his hut, inviting a passerby to share a cup of tea.

In fine condition, preserved in a chitsu. The block-printed title label is no longer present.

Price: $4,000.00

Item ID: 7709

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