Written throughout in a neat hand. Hundreds of brush & ink illus. throughout, many with color washes & metallic pigments. Ca. 800 folding leaves. Ten vols. Large 8vo (298 x 210 mm.),
An important and extremely extensive manuscript on the reconstruction and restoration of the Emperor’s Residence and other buildings of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Portions of the palace complex, along with many artworks, had been destroyed or were badly damaged in the great Kyoto fire of May 1854. This palace was prone to fires, having been destroyed and rebuilt eight times, six of them during the 250-year-long peace of the Edo period. Following the 1854 fire, an administrative agency to oversee this reconstruction was created in Kyoto at the beginning of the Ansei era, with Asano Nagayoshi (1816-80) as director. He was a painter and former pupil of Tsubaki Chinzan. A high-ranking retainer of the shogunate, he served as City Magistrate of Kyoto. Our manuscript amounts to the official report of the works.
Our finely illustrated manuscript details the 1854-55 reconstruction and restoration, which was done in the style of the original Heian-period architecture. The two-page introduction in the first volume was written by Asano and is followed by a 23-page detailed index to the contents of the ten volumes. A history of the palace grounds and buildings from the Heian era to Asano’s day is provided, accompanied by a detailed three-page floor plan of the Inner Palace (Dairi).
The second volume provides official correspondence regarding the renovation, descriptions of the process of obtaining permits, accounts of all necessary work on the buildings’ foundations (with drawings), illustrated surveys of each building, confectionary gifts made by Palace officials to all those working on the project, lists the planned architectural details of each room in all buildings, notes on the need for additional service buildings, etc.
The third volume contains numerous illustrations of the architectural details of the planned structures along with decorative elements. Many of these drawings are in color, using multiple colors of wash and metallic pigments (a few are lightly stained). The six gates to the palace grounds and their bold carvings are depicted.
The fourth volume describes the renovation works and presents fine images of furniture, decorative pieces, paintings, restored artworks, and important screens and sliding doors. There are splendid views, with extremely detailed floor plans, of the Naishidokoro (a ceremonial room) and the Shishinden (Hall for State Ceremonies). Paintings of the 32 Chinese philosophers whose images appeared on the famous Kenjo no shoji, the northern sliding screens in the Shishinden, are shown. There is a most interesting discussion of the building materials.
Vol. V is devoted to the renovation of the Seiryoden (Emperor’s Residence). Included are a fine view of the building, a detailed floor plan, and images of many of the artworks present there.
Our sixth volume describes the Tenjo (the southern aisle room within the Seiryoden), where noble people and courtiers waited on the emperor. Various aspects of the Seiryoden, including gates, passageways, and the approach for carriages, are shown along with decorative features. Also illustrated are the Shinkaden (for ceremonies), the Kogosho (Little Palace) and its famous paintings on sliding doors, and the Ogakumonjo (the study hall for reading rites and a monthly poetry recital). Detailed floor plans are provided.
Vol. VII describes and depicts the Omima (Palace for Rites and Rituals) and the Otsunegoten (Imperial Residential Palace). Many images of paintings on sliding doors are present, as are complex floor plans. Also shown is the Daidokoro (the kitchens).
Vol. VIII is concerned with the Okiyodokoro (servants’ quarters). An image of the building and the floor plans are featured.
The ninth volume describes the Gishinden, a small building to which the emperor and his wife could move in case of an earthquake. Also described is the Wakamiya goten, where the children of the emperor lived. Illustrated are the buildings and artworks on sliding screen doors, along with many floor plans.
The final volume concerns the return of the imperial family to the restored palace in late 1855. We find images of the highly ornate palanquins and carriages used in the grand and very long procession (senko) celebrating the event, lists of the participants with their positions in the parade, and lists of gifts.
Fine condition. Preserved in an old wooden box.
Item ID: 8846