Item ID: 9836 Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy]. Genpaku 杉田玄白 SUGITA.
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].
Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].

“A Milestone in the History of Medicine…in Japan”–Mestler

The Donald & Mary Hyde Copy

Jūtei kaitai shinsho 重訂解體新書 [Revised Edition of a New Book of Anatomy].

13 vols. bound in five. 8vo, orig. green patterned semi-stiff wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Edo, Kyoto, & Osaka: Suharaya Mohei et al., 1826.

[with]:

—. Kyurumusu kaitaifu 鳩盧模斯解體譜 [Kulmus’s Illustrated Work on Dissection]. Engraved title, 45 copper engraved plates, & one leaf of colophon (pasted on lower wooden board). 8vo, orig. wooden boards in orihon (accordion) format (minor wear to binding), orig. block-printed title-label on upper cover. Kyoto, Edo, & Osaka: Wakayamaya Mosuke et al., 1849.

The revised and greatly enlarged edition of the epoch-making Kaitai Shinsho (1st ed.: 1774), which marked the crucial turning point in the shift from traditional to Western medicine in Japan.

Kaitai Shinsho (1774), literally ‘Understanding Body New Text,’ initiated the modern transformation of Japan. As the first published Japanese translation of a Western anatomical text, it revealed many structures previously unknown to Japanese doctors and transplanted the idea of dissection as the foundation of medicine. Even more importantly it opened the door to the study of Western languages and science…

“On the fourth day of the third month of 1771, Sugita (1733-1817), Ryotaku Maeno (1723-1803), and Jun’an Nakagawa (1739-86), attended their first ever dissection of a human cadaver. It was a revelation: the three men were stunned by the close match between the organs exposed before them and the illustrations in the anatomical guide that they had brought along — a Dutch version of the German-language Anatomische Tabellen (1722) of Johann Adam Kulmus (1689-1745). True knowledge of the body, they concluded, was found here, in Western texts, rather than in the revered medical classics of ancient China. Japanese doctors had to completely relearn their science. As the three men walked home from the dissection, Sugita excitedly proposed the idea of translating Kulmus’s manual. They began work the next morning…

“It was an ambition of dizzying boldness. A translation? Sugita and Nakagawa were doctors but they scarcely knew even the Western alphabet. Kulmus’s text was more than two hundred pages long. Maeno’s Dutch vocabulary was limited to some seven hundred or eight hundred words; there were no dictionaries or grammars to consult. The three, along with other collaborators, would sometimes spend whole afternoons puzzling over the sense of a single phrase.”–Shigehisa Kuriyama, “Japanese Anatomy, Dutch Style” in Hidden Treasure. The National Library of Medicine (ed. by Michael Sappol), (National Library of Medicine: [2012]), p. 84.

The 1774 edition appeared in five volumes (the fifth volume contained rather rough wood-engraved illustrations executed by the artist Odano Naotake). Due to their lack of knowledge of the Dutch language, the translators made many mistakes. In 1826 (although Mestler says “1812”), one of Sugita’s disciples, Otsuki Gentaku 大槻玄澤 (1757-1827), completely revised, corrected, and enlarged the Kaitai shinsho under the title Jūtei kaitai shinsho. It appeared in 13 text volumes and a greatly improved atlas, with all the plates re-engraved by Naka Isaburo (1790/93-1860), now using copper plates, to show greater detail than the illustrations in the original edition.

The 1826 revised and enlarged edition is rare. Our set is accompanied by a copy of the atlas published in 1849, with the illustrations again finely recarved. This edition of the atlas does not seem to be recorded.

Thanks to the Kaitai Shinsho, ”Japanese medical doctors saw readily that anatomy is an indispensable part of medicine, whether Western or traditional. There was no need to get bogged down in a disabling theoretical debate. The impact, therefore, was electric and immediate, precipitating a second dissection boom.”–Masayoshi Sugimoto & David L. Swain, Science and Culture in Traditional Japan (Tuttle: 1978), p. 383.

Provenance: This is the Donald and Mary Hyde set, sold to them by Shigeo Sorimachi. With the seals of Sorimachi and the Hydes. This set appeared in the Hyde sale (Christie’s New York, 7 October 1988, lot 149, $12,100).

Fine set, preserved in two chitsu.

References:

Gordon E. Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books with Miscellaneous Notes on Early Medicine in Japan, Part I, pp. 307-15.

Price: $13,500.00

Item ID: 9836