Item ID: 9959 Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說. Yokusai 飯沼慾齋 IINUMA.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.
Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.

“The First Comprehensive Scientific Monograph

That Appeared in Japan”–Ueno

Sōmoku zusetsu 草木圖說 [Plants & Trees, Illustrated & Explained]; from labels on upper covers: Shintei Sōmoku zusetsu 新訂草木圖說.

Lithographed frontis. port. of the author in Vol. I. About 1200 very fine woodcuts, some double-page, of plants, many with sections delicately hand-colored. 20 vols. Large 8vo, orig. yellow patterned wrappers, orig. block-printed title-labels on upper covers, new stitching. Ogaki, Mino Province: Hirabayashi so 平林荘, 1874-75.

Second edition, revised and enlarged, of this magnificent Japanese botanical work; it is considered “the first comprehensive scientific monograph that appeared in Japan.”–Masuzo Ueno, “The Western Influence on Natural History in Japan” in Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 19, No. 3/4 (1964), p. 330.

Iinuma (1783-1865) was educated in Kyoto as a physician. He later came to Edo to study Western medicine and natural history under Shinsai Udagawa. Iinuma also studied botany with Ranzan Ono, Keisuke Ito, and Boyo Yamamoto. Iinuma published the first edition of Sōmoku zusetsu in 1856, covering only herbaceous plants. Although he planned to publish another 20 volumes, on trees, this text remained in manuscript and was never printed.

After Iinuma’s death, two disciples, Yoshio Tanaka 田中芳男 and Motoyoshi Ono 小野職慤, made revisions to the work and added Latin names in Roman script. They were assisted by the French naval doctor and botanist Ludovic Savatier (1830-91), who was in Japan supporting the French effort to construct a Japanese navy. Savatier, along with the French botanist Adrien René Franchet (1834-1900), later published Enumeratio Plantarum in Japonia, in Paris in 1873-79.

This second, improved edition of the Sōmoku zusetsu appeared in 1874-75. “Franchet and Savatier describe this work as the most remarkable, to their knowledge, that Japan had produced in the field of botany…They say that von Siebold instructed Iinuma, and his work gives evidence of his acquaintance with European languages. The order of the work is Linnaean. The orderliness of the arrangement, accuracy of the detailed colored figures, and characteristic aspect of the black wood-cuts of the entire plants create a very favorable impression…

“The second edition of Iinuma’s remarkable flora was published with a preface in French and a lithographic portrait of the author. The editors were Tanaka and Ono Motoyoshi. The former tells us that they added the Latin names to the illustrations, as well as spelling out the Japanese names in Roman following the English pronunciation. They thank Savatier, resident in Yokosuka, for verifying the scientific names. The figures are striking for the contrast between upper and lower leaf surfaces, the former rendered in white on black and the latter in black on white.”–Bartlett & Shohara, Japanese Botany during the Period of Wood-block Printing (1961), p. 66 & no. 29 (p. 145) in the exhibition section.

In spite of the Western influences, the woodcut illustrations remain completely Japanese in style and feeling. Not a single image is flat or boring. Iinuma was responsible for the drawings, using his microscope to be able to accurately depict the flowers and sexual parts of the plant. The hand-coloring is very fine, with subtle three-dimensional effects.

An uncommonly fine and fresh set, preserved in two chitsu. With laid-in errata leaf in final volume.

Price: $45,000.00

Item ID: 9959