[Japan]: ca. 1898-1912.
Copper mining at Ashio in Tochigi Prefecture began about 1600 and production continued until 1973; in the late 19th century, it produced 39 percent of Japan’s copper output. At the end of that century, it was decided to build a railway connecting the mine to major rail lines to facilitate transportation of the outbound copper ore and inbound supplies (horses had carried or pulled everything before). The engineering problems were considerable: the line runs along the Watarase River through a deep valley subject to frequent flooding. The railway was finished in 1911-12.
The collection contains a series of letters containing reports on design and construction, printed documents regarding the stock company formed to finance the building of the railway (“Ashio Tetsudo Kabushikigaisha”), reports from engineers regarding preparations, further reports regarding expected capacity needs for the railroad line, six photographs of the construction, and a very fine and large (1820 x 760 mm.) manuscript diagram on four joined sheets of tissue paper showing the route through the valley and elevations. This large diagram has been heightened in color (green, blue, red, and brown).
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[Japan]: ca. 1898-1912.
Engraved vignette on title, 19 finely engraved plates (some folding), one engraved headpiece & several woodcut diagrams in the text. 12, 116, 120,  pp. Large 4to (245 x 210 mm.), cont. paste-paper boards (slightly worn), red morocco lettering-piece on spine. Frankenthal & Mannheim: C.F. Schwan, 1779.
First edition of an uncommon history and examination of ancient warfare with a series of illustrations of formations, famous battles, and many types of siege craft. Baumgärtner (1743-1809), historian of classical Greece and Rome and civil servant, wrote several works on ancient art in addition to military history.
In this book, he expounds on and compares the military traditions of the Greeks and Romans. He exhaustively describes their tactics, formations, uniforms and their iconography, weapons, siege techniques, siege weapons, etc. There is also in-depth discussion of military leaders and what made them successful. The illustrations of battles, such as the one showing a phalanx (pl. XI), are quite dramatic.
Numerous woodcuts in the text. 28 unnumbered leaves (incl. the first leaf, a blank). Small 4to, early 20th-cent. calf (final leaf with short tear in blank section, carefully repaired). London: W. Stansby for J. Grismand, 1626.
A very rare book that describes the English bread-pricing regulations established in 1266, which remained in force, with modifications, for more than six centuries. As Britain’s early modern economy developed and the price of wheat fluctuated, these regulations were periodically revised and reissued by authority of the Privy Council. ESTC locates only one copy of our edition in North America.
“Bread was one of the basic nutritional elements of the medieval diet and its supply and price were of the utmost concern to local authorities. Consequently, well-defined laws were laid down to control the manufacture and sale of bread: to judge the weight, quality, and price, and also to ensure an open and constant supply. The most significant and long-lasting commercial law in medieval England was the assize of bread, which was entered into statute law sometime  in the thirteenth century…
One scroll measuring 277 x 3830 mm. Ink, brush, & wash in red, blue, black, and brown, on paper newly & expertly backed. Japan: after 1853.
A contemporary copy of an official report concerning Commodore Perry’s first expedition, when he attempted to land on Japanese shores in 1853. Much of the scroll is wonderfully illustrated and contains a map tracking the American squadron’s path through Uraga Channel on its way to Edo. The scroll dramatically depicts two American steamships and concludes with the text of four internal government documents concerning the arrival of these foreign ships that contain the contents of high-level discussions on the...
Woodcut vignette on title, two folding printed tables, & many woodcuts in the text. 2 p.l., 26 leaves. Small 4to, later vellum (title & final leaf somewhat soiled). London: F. Kyngston, 1634.
A late edition (1st ed.: 1556) of one of the four great English books on land surveying of the 16th century. Digges’s Tectonicon was by far the most successful and long-lived; there were at least twenty editions, the last published in 1692.
Digges (ca. 1515-59?), who attended University College, Oxford, wrote this work for “surveyors, ‘landmeters,’ joiners, carpenters, and masons. It taught the measurement of land, the calculation of quantities, and the use...
1 p.l., 59 pp., 4 pages of engraved music printing. 8vo, cont. dark red morocco (minor foxing), a.e.g. Paris: la Veuve Allouel, 1741.
First edition; this is, according to Grove, one of the two best early comic operas by Favart (1710-92), the most prominent member of a French family of dramatists, singers, and actors active in musical theater. Favart was a librettist, playwright, and impresario. This copy was presented to the Académie Française and bears the following inscription on a free front-endpaper: “Pigansé de la part de l’auteur a l’Academie le Lundi huitième May 1741.” On the following three pages is...
Title within architectural woodcut border incorporating the date “1534.” Largely printed in black letter. 67 leaves,  pp. Small 8vo, antique calf by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, spine gilt, red leather lettering pieces on spine. [London: Printed by H. Wykes?], 1567.
An early edition of the first text on surveying printed in English. The first edition was printed by Richard Pynson in 1523; all early editions are rare, as copies were used to death. Our copy is most unusual as it is fine and large with a number of lower edges uncut.
Fitzherbert’s book is concerned primarily with giving instruction to land stewards and overseers of the...
[Japan: after 1805].
This scroll is part of an important tradition and genre in Japan, the bankoku jinbutsu zu (“people of the world illustrated”). In spite of the country’s policy of isolation (sakoku), the intelligentsia of the country were quietly fascinated by foreigners and the rest of the world. Our scroll contains 21 scenes depicting 45 people, all finely hand-painted in rich colors, of foreigners from around the world. Each scene depicts an adult man and woman. All are clothed in their native dress.
The images are all extremely well painted in various pigments and also employing gold. They depict people from...
18 p.l., 123 pp. 8vo, cont. marbled wrappers (minor browning). Amsterdam: 1731.
First edition of a very uncommon book. Fourmont (1683-1745), “was the first scholar in France to deal with Chinese matters. He started his career in the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres as a Hebraist and had written several small books on Hebrew matters, but he left this discipline and turned to Chinese in 1711. At that time he met a young French-speaking Chinese man by the name of Arcadio Huang [(1679-1716),] in the Bibliothèque Nationale; Huang was the only Chinese speaking-person in France. Fourmont seized the opportunity to be introduced...
Five full-page woodcuts, woodcuts in the text, & one full-page diagram. 39 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. wrappers (a little tired & rubbed, minor soiling), orig. block-printed title label on spine, new stitching. Kyoto: privately printed before ca. 1640.
An early and extremely rare edition, privately printed with movable type, of the foundation work of Japanese flower arrangement (ikebana or kado). We find no copy of any early edition outside of Japan.
With the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the 6th century, the custom of offering flowers on the Buddhist altar became common. Ikebana developed through the process of experimentation with new approaches and...
1 p.l., 333 pp. 8vo, cont. marbled half-calf & marbled boards (corners slightly rounded), spine ornately gilt, red morocco lettering-piece on spine. Berlin: H. Frölich, 1801.
First edition and an attractive copy of this important conservative analysis of the French Revolution and the resulting disruptions throughout Europe. Gentz (1764-1832), a prolific author and zealous critic of the Revolution and Napoleon, studied under Kant in Königsberg. During his years as a lower-level government official in Berlin, he wrote several essays and books to great acclaim, including a very successful translation of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. Aware of his significant influence...
One double-page engraved plate depicting the town of Griesbach. Title within ruled border & printed in red & black. 20 p.l., 463 pp. Thick 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed paste-paper boards (title with small hole in gutter touching border, some light browning due to the quality of the paper), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Strasbourg: J. Martin, 1607.
First edition of this rare balneological work; WorldCat locates no copy in North America. Bad Peterstal-Griesbach is a well-known spa town in the upper Rench Valley, one of the side valleys of the Rhine in the northern Black Forest. Its iron waters have been...
1 p.l., 30 folding leaves. Title printed on yellow paper. 8vo, orig. wrappers, new stitching. Singapore: Jian xia shu yuan [American Board Mission Press], 1836.
First edition of this early book printed in Singapore (it is the earliest Chinese book printed in Singapore in the National Library of Singapore’s collections). The Mission Press was established in that city in 1823 and, in its early years published mainly works in English.
The author of this work, Gützlaff (1803-51), was a German Lutheran missionary to Batavia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and China. A controversial figure, he made trips along the Chinese coast and nearby areas...
A large engraved copper plate depicting a mechanical model of the Buddhist solar system, executed by the famous artist Shiba Kokan (1747-1818), “the first Japanese artist to create European-style copperplate etchings.”–Oxford Art online. Kokan, Hiraga Gennai, and Gentaku Otsuki were the earliest exponents of Western-style art and science and travelled to Nagasaki to learn from the Dutch. Kokan wrote and illustrated books introducing Western astronomy to Japan.
The present plate shows the cosmic system taught by Fumon Entsu (1755-1834), a Japanese Buddhist monk of the Tendai (or Tiantai) school. In his Bukkoku rekishohen [Astronomical Works for...
[Japan]: preface dated “1801” & first published in 1864.
A rare text woodblock that contains the complete preface of this famous book of waka poetry, which was published posthumously in 1864. Aruga (1662-1737), a student of Choga Hirama, member of the Nijo ha school of poetry, wrote seven important works of poetry. This woodblock contains three pages of text and one blank page. Both sides have marks indicating the pagination of the preface.
Fine condition. With wooden handles on each side to maintain the proper registration during the printing process.
Numerous full-page & double-page color-printed woodblock illus. Two vols. in four. Large 8vo, orig. yellow semi-stiff wrappers (wrappers a little dusty & stained), orig. woodblock title slips on upper covers, new stitching. Osaka: Maekawa Zenbe, [after 1836].
A fine copy of this famous book; this is the first edition to contain color illustrations (the first edition, which had only black-and-white woodcuts, appeared in 1836). Kawahara (1786-1860), was a late Edo painter who was given permission to document local life for the Dutch trading house in Dejima. He was, in fact, one of the few Japanese permitted to enter the Nagasaki island when it...
vi, 328 pp. 8vo, cont. half-sheep & marbled boards, flat spine gilt, green leather lettering piece on spine. Zerbst: G.A. Kummer, 1837.
First edition of this valuable, detailed, and surprisingly scarce history of Church, public, and private collections of art, books, manuscripts, and natural history specimens (wunderkammern) in Germany from the medieval period to the present date. Klemm (1802-67), anthropologist and librarian of the Royal Library of Saxony, was also inspector of the royal collections of porcelain, and a member of many cultural organizations throughout Germany. According to the Encycl. Britannica, Klemm developed the concept of “culture.” Following his death, the British...
Large engraved vignette on title & another at the head of the first leaf of Part II and 30 fine folding engraved plates (numbered I–XXVIII plus XV* & a second plate numbered XVI). 184 pp. 4 p.l., 183,  pp. Small 4to, cont. speckled sheep, contrasting vellum lettering piece on spine. Stockholm: tryckt af P.J. Nyström, 1752.
First edition and very rare; WorldCat locates only one copy in North America. This Introduction to the Mechanics and the Art of Construction, including a Description of Several of the Machines invented by the late…Mr. Polhem is the best early treatise on the mechanical and industrial processes...
Engraved title-page & five engraved plates. xvi, 294 pp. 8vo, cont. vellum over boards, spine lettered in gilt. [Florence: G. Cambiagi], 1776.
First edition of this scarce treatise on the cultivation, processing and use of madder (rubia tinctorum), a herbaceous climbing plant with small yellow flowers, the root of which is used medically, and — more importantly — as the primary source of dye (usually crimson). Madder was the principal source of various brilliant red pigments until artificial production of alizirin, the pigment chemical in madder, by Graebe and Liebermann in 1868.
The finely engraved plates depict the plant and its processing for red dyes.
6 p.l., iv, 120,  pp. Small 4to (205 x 145 mm.), cont. vellum over boards. Barcelona: Compañía de Jordi, Roca, y Gaspár, 1803.
First edition, and very rare, of a practical treatise on successful business practices. Coll y Alsina (active early 19th cent.), a businessman in the Maresme region near Barcelona, dedicates this work to his son and addresses him throughout the text. The author advises him on all the steps in the formation and running of a business, by presenting templates for the founding charter, appointment of directors, establishment of bylaws, the purchase of land, insurance, etc. Each section is followed...
72 pp. 18mo (140 x 85 mm.), mid-19th-cent. red morocco-backed marbled boards, titles on spine in gilt, gilt compartments on spine, a.e.g. Paris: Chez l’Auteur, An VI .
[—]. Le Parterre des Muses, a l’usage de ceux qui donnent des Bouquets aux jours de Fête; Etrennes dédiés aux personnes qui ne font pas de vers, et, dieu merci! elles sont en grand nombre. 144 pp. 18mo. Paris: Demoraine, n.d. [but ca. 1800].
First editions of two of Mérard de Saint-Just’s privately printed books, each issued in only a very few copies. Mérard (1749-1812), man of letters...
Many fine woodcuts printed in color & many with blind-embossing. Five vols. 8vo, orig. patterned mica-speckled wrappers (some worming carefully repaired), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (all the labels a little wormed), new stitching. Osaka: Uozaki Motosaburo [& four others] & Kyoto: Nishimura Kichibei, 1813.
First edition, fine and thick-paper copy with special refined coloring and blind embossing of many of the woodcuts, of this important anatomical work which collects the records of three dissections performed in Kyoto in 1783, 1798, and 1802. The author explains them based on theories of both traditional Chinese medicine as well as Western medicine.
“A Japanese treatise on anatomy and anatomical dissection in five volumes was published in 1813 by Shoshui or Boku or Koki Mitani (1774-1823) with the title Kaitai hatsumo. This was not the first original Japanese work on dissection, since priority in that respect had been established by the appearance in 1759 of the Zo-shi of Toyo Yamawaki. But that earlier work was short and its illustrative material limited to a few crude drawings of the viscera. Kaitai hatsumo appears, however, to be the first Japanese exposition on the whole system of human anatomy, based upon original observation (including dissection) and knowledge of other anatomical works. An inserted advertisement for this book [not present in this and many other copies] is translated to read as follows: ‘This book is Kaitai hatsumo, on some new Dutch theories and moreover some dissections of a real dead body to make it sure. And it has become clear that the Dutch theories are right and the traditional Japanese and Chinese theories which [have been] with us for 3000 years [are] quite wrong.’ (Somehow one gets here the impression of a persistent reluctance to relinquish the traditional anatomical beliefs in favor of the European knowledge which had come into Japan. After all, the gross inaccuracies of the traditional teachings had been firmly established by the work of Gempaku Sugita and his friends in the previous century)…
Woodcut title-page, 30 double-page & 24 full-page woodcuts. 45 folding leaves. Three vols. in one. 8vo, orig. wrappers, block-printed title label on upper cover (printing of label very faded), new stitching. Kyoto: Chojiya, .
First edition of this illustrated selection of poems from the Tale of Genji, the first novel ever written. The fine woodcuts are by Mitsunobu (or Nagaharu) Hasegawa (active 1710-55), “the leading Ukiyo-e artist of the Kamigata area and, in fact, [he] had few rivals as a book illustrator even in Edo, apart from Toyonobu.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 181.
With the increased availability of woodblock-printed books in the 17th century, The Tale of Genji was an obvious text to reprint and illustrate. Many artists put their skills to work on illustrated editions. This edition, which contains 54 poems from the 54 chapters of Lady Murasaki’s novel, was illustrated by Hasegawa. Hoshushi has provided a Preface and text next to each poem explaining the background. At the head of each illustration is the name of the chapter from which it comes.
36; 50; 25 leaves (each leaf consisting of two leaves pasted together at the fore-edge). 8vo (272 x 190 mm.), orig. wrappers, orig. manuscript title labels on upper covers (first label a little defective), new stitching. [Japan: between 1624-43].
A very rare movable type digest edition of the celebrated Tale of Genji. By the beginning of the 17th century, the Tale of Genji was not easy to read without a teacher. As a result, a series of digests or condensed versions, offering easier access to the text in more familiar language, were published. According to Peter Kornicki, seven movable type editions of the digest Genji...