60 double-page (two have flaps) & several single-page illus., using brush & washes of many colors. 30; 31.5; 31 folding leaves. Three vols. Large 8vo (308 x 210 mm.), orig. decorated semi-stiff boards, manuscript titles on upper covers, new stitching. [Japan]: Author’s Prefaces dated 1699 & 1709; Postfaces by Nobutomo Ban dated 1813 & 1841.
A most interesting and attractively illustrated manuscript. In the late 17th century, the brother of Kotaku Hosoi, Chimei (d. ca. 1697), a samurai in service to the Koriyama fiefdom, visited the Nara area and was saddened by the disrepair of the many mausoleums, tombs, and tumuli of former emperors. Chimei began a survey of grave sites, and his work came to the notice of the shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa (1646-1709), who, in 1697, ordered a series of fences to be built around these sites in Yamato no kuni, including Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and other areas. These fences — pictured in many of our manuscript’s illustrations — were designed to protect the sites from further ruin and robbings.
Upon Chimei’s death, his brother, Kotaku (1658-1735), calligrapher and Confucian scholar, took over the survey, which is contained in the first two volumes of our manuscript. At the beginning of the first volume is a list of all the mausoleums recorded by the Hosoi brothers, with the names of the emperors and the locations, arranged not chronologically but by region. Also included are descriptions of the grave sites and the existing structures.
Each volume includes an attractive series of double-page brush and color-wash illustrations of the 35 actual sites. In the second volume, two of the illustrations contain flaps under which are shown the interiors of the stone burial chambers. Measurements are given along with details of ownership. Most notable is a fine double-page illustration of the famous Takamatsuzuka circular tomb.
The third volume is an addendum written by Nobutomo Ban (1773-1846), Confucian scholar of kokugaku (the study of Japanese history) and samurai retainer, who was famous for the quality of his historical research, especially in archeology and religious studies. In this volume, there are 25 fine double-page illustrations in brush and color wash and some black & white diagrams of more mausoleums, tombs, and tumuli, mostly outside of Yamato no kuni, including the former provinces of Ise, Sado, Harima, Satsuma, Osumi, Kawachi, and others. Ban’s explanatory text accompanies the illustrations.
In the first two volumes, Ban has added further notes in red ink regarding other archeologists’ researches and reports from local governments.
Fine copy, preserved in a chitsu. Some worming, occasionally touching a character or illustration.
❧ Edgren, Catalogue of the Nordenskiöld Collection (1980), 490. The Imperial Household Agency Library (Shoryobu) owns a rather similar manuscript.
Item ID: 7732