Black ink & washes of different colors. Japan: late Edo.
A finely executed panoramic map, in scroll format, of the shores of the western portion of Boso Peninsula and the Chiba region’s coastline, which leads into Tokyo Bay. We believe this map was created as part of Japan’s preparations against foreign invaders. In the 1830s and 40s, on several occasions, nations like Russia, Britain, and the United States tried to reconnoiter this area and establish diplomatic relations with the Japanese, only to be forcefully turned away. The coastline depicted in this map was vital to Edo’s security because local officials could...
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Black ink & washes of different colors. Japan: late Edo.
Many fine full-page woodcuts. 56; 51; 42 folding leaves. Three vols. Large 4to (337 x 260 mm.), orig. yellow wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (labels a bit frayed), new stitching (a little loose). [China]: from title-page in trans.: “woodblocks owned by Yi xue xuan, 1801.”
An important and uncommon large-format edition of the “first of all Chinese encyclopaedias, containing so much botanical and zoological terminology.”–Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 6, Part 1: Botany, p. 191. This edition of the Er Ya contains the enlargements and commentary of Guo Pu (276-324), considered “the greatest commentator of the Erh Ya” (Needham, p. 188).
Guo, Chinese historian, poet, and writer, is best known as one of China’s foremost commentators of ancient texts and was a notable natural historian. Considered the most learned man of his age, he was also the first to define feng shui. Today, his edition of the Er Ya is considered to be authoritative and definitive, and without his glosses and commentaries, large portions of this text would be unintelligible.
A number of illus. & maps. Six vols. 8vo (280 x 190 mm.), stitched. Japan: 1848-63.
During the time of Japan’s official policy of strict isolationism in the first half of the 19th century, the bakufu (the shogun’s bureaucracy) and many private citizens became increasingly alarmed by the frequent foreign intrusions. Dissatisfaction with the weakened bakufu system of government and social unrest, caused by famine, earthquakes, and disease, exacerbated many citizens’ concerns.
The present collection of manuscripts, written in a number of hands, is an example of the Japanese genre kenbunroku (“notes on what I have seen and heard”). They clearly...
One double-page woodcut map. 56; 60 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, new stitching. [China]: Wei jing tang, Preface dated 1814.
An early, variorum edition (1st ed.: 1777) of this great classic, the Xiyu wenjianlu. “The Manchu official Qishiyi, in [the present work], offers a frontiersman’s view of the conquest quite different from that of the imperial center. Qishiyi, who earned his jinshi degree in 1754, served as a low-ranking official in charge of grain supply in Turkestan. He narrates vividly the struggle for succession to the Zunghar Khanate after Galdan Tseren’s death, describes the states bordering the Qing in Central Eurasia...
Manuscript on paper with one map, 14 full-page, & about 20 smaller illus., finely drawn in brush & various colors. 53 folding leaves. 8vo (295 x 195 mm.), orig. blue wrappers (rubbed & a little worn), manuscript label on upper cover with “Sendai Kanoko” written, new stitching. [Japan]: from final page (in trans.) “copied 1839.”
The earliest survey of the wealthy Sendai fiefdom — known as the Sendai Kanoko — was prepared in 1695. At that time, the domain was led by Tsunamura Date (1659-1719). The survey was part of a nation-wide effort in the Genroku era to increase the amount of new farmland and improve irrigation works. When...
Woodcut wall-map (1170 x 1420 mm.) folded into orig. gray wrappers, block-printed title label on upper cover (wrappers rather rubbed & a little wormed). Text in Chinese with Japanese reading marks. Kyoto: Bundaiken Uhei, 1710.
First edition, in a fine dark impression, of the first Japanese printed map to depict the world, including Europe and North and South America, from the Buddhist cosmographical perspective. On this map, the world is seen through Buddhist eyes, based on Buddhist sources, with Mount Sumeru, the central axis of the universe in Buddhist cosmology, in the center. Lake Anavatapta, the source of the four holy rivers of India...
30; 32; 38; 40 folding leaves. Four vols. Large 8vo, orig. dark green patterned wrappers (some worming touching but not obscuring text), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Kyoto: Fushimiya Toemon, colophon dated “1683.”
First edition to be published in Japan of this important encyclopedic work, printed in Chinese with Japanese reading marks. One of the first encyclopedias compiled in China, it was written by Hua Zhang (232-300), statesman, book collector, scholar, writer, and protoscientist, who also wrote, with Xu Xun, the famous catalogue of the imperial library known as Zhongjing bu [Catalogue of the Palace Texts].
Bo wu zhi was first printed in China in 1505. “The Bowu zhi is a collection of 322 items divided into 37 subject headings. Most of the material consists of short anecdotes that are more descriptive than narrative. The first juan of the Song edition gives an account of the geography of the realm, including mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, and unusual phenomena, ending with a rhymed zan (appraisal). The Bowu zhi is attested as early as the sixth century.”–Knechtges & Chang, Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature, I, pp. 50-51 & see III, pp. 2156-63 for a biographical account of Zhang.