Woodcut illus. (five are double-page). .5, 13, .5 (ads); .5 (ads), 17, .5; .5 (ads), 14, .5 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. green patterned semi-stiff wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Kyoto: Honya Juemon, .
First edition and very rare; this work was written as a result of the devastating Great Kyoto Fire, which broke out on 7 March 1788 and lasted several days. It caused serious damage, including the destruction of the Imperial Palace and the Nijo-jo Castle. The fire so shocked the bakufu that senior councillor Sadanobu Matsudaira was sent to Kyoto to investigate and consult with the Imperial Court.
The first woodcut depicts how one can prepare for a quick escape in case of fire. This single-page illustration shows how to leave one’s street clothes at nighttime so that they can be put on quickly for a fast evacuation. The first double-page illustration is a map of Kyoto where the great fire occurred. The following two double-page woodcuts show scenes of the raging fire with citizens fleeing, carrying their valuables. The next two-page woodcut shows refugees, of all classes, on the outskirts of Kyoto moving away from the city. The final double-page woodcut shows survivors beginning to rebuild their houses.
The text gives detailed instructions on how to prevent fires and, in the case of a fire breaking out, what to do to contain and extinguish it.
The block-printed title labels read “Banmin hinoyojin chinki” [“Cautionary Instructions on Containing Fires for the Entire Nation”].
Fine copy. Minor, mostly marginal, worming, carefully mended in the first volume.
Item ID: 8048