Amanogawa soshi [or Gingazoshi, but this is wrong] [Book of the Milky Way].
Ten double-page & two single-page woodblock color-printed illus.; two-page preface & colophon with color-printed borders, & several leaves with color-printed backgrounds. 14; 13; 11.5 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. patterned semi-stiff wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (all three a little defective), new stitching. From the colophon: Kyoto et al.: carved by Inoue Jihei for Daimonjiya Tokugoro, 1835.
First edition of this beautifully illustrated introduction to the story and customs of the Tanabata Festival, today celebrated on July 7th. The Tanabata Festival traces its origins to the Chinese Qixi Festival and marks the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair, respectively. According to the legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The festival was introduced to Japan by the Empress Koken in 755.
“Another Osaka artist who showed Hokusai’s influence strongly was Hishikawa Kiyoharu…, perhaps a grandson of the early Kondo Shoshichi who was the Osaka founder of the famous Torii school…[the present work] is rare.”–Louise Norton Brown, Block Printing & Book Illustration in Japan (1924), p. 79.
The very fine color-printed woodcuts exhibit deep, fresh, and early impressions, much delicate bokashi, use of gold and silver, many colors (requiring numerous woodblocks), embossing, and over-printing to achieve a super-saturated effect.
Very fine copy, preserved in a chitsu. We find only the National Diet Library copy in WorldCat (under Gingazoshi). The Smithsonian owns only the third volume.
Item ID: 8827