1 p.l., 7 pre-printed folding leaves. 8vo (235 x 158 mm.), orig. semi-stiff aubergine wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated 1810; this is a copy made later in the Edo period.
The final work by Ranzan Ono (1729-1810), who was considered the “Linnaeus of Japan.” He started a school of botanical pharmacology in Kyoto, which, over the years, graduated more than 1000 students. During his long life, Ono travelled throughout Japan, gathering plant specimens and recording botanical remedies. He was familiar with both Chinese and Western texts on herbal medicines. Ono’s Honzo komoku keimo [Dictated Compendium of Materia Medica Enlightenment [or] Clarifications on Honzo komoku] (1803-05), was the great Japanese materia medica and classification of plants during the Edo period; it was intended to be a radically new annotation of Shizhen Li’s Bencao Gangmu (1596). Many of Ono’s writings remained in manuscript, and his lectures were much esteemed and extensively copied. These copies were tightly controlled by the school, and only the students had access to them.
We know that on his deathbed, Ono was preparing this text. According to WorldCat, the only surviving copy of the 1810 first printing of “Kojinsetsu” is located at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The 1810 edition immediately became rare. and manuscript copies were made, of which this is one.
The text provides a history of ginseng in Japan, its varieties, methods of cultivation, and medical benefits. Our manuscript is written in kanbun with reading marks. It does not have the afterword present in the printed volume.
Item ID: 9221