[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...
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...
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...
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...
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)…
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...
About 40 finely drawn & colored illus. 16 folding leaves. 8vo (264 x 180 mm.), orig. wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: late Edo.
This is an extremely finely executed album of illustrated natural history specimens collected from throughout Japan; the nearly 40 illustrations are very well drawn and painted, many with mica or three-dimensional techniques, used in traditional Japanese painting, to make the drawings more realistic. The specimens include botanical, mineral, and animal examples.
The first leaf of the album contains the title and an index of the 22 specimens. These include: a special kind of ivy from Nikko (with Chinese names and where found), a “four-eyes”...
Title printed in red & black.  leaves. Small 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed paste-paper boards (minor foxing). N.p.: 1601.
First edition in German of Pirckheimer’s ironical and humorous eulogy on gout, from which he suffered in old age, fashioned in the manner of Erasmus’s Moria. Pirckheimer (1470-1530), humanist, collector, and patron, was a frequent correspondent with Erasmus; they shared scholarly interests as well as a similar outlook on contemporary issues. Both Pirckheimer and Erasmus considered immoderate scholarliness as the cause of gout. Pirckheimer’s encomium to the gout proved to be the most influential of all encomia addressed to medical topics...
Seven folding engraved plates. xv, , 138,  pp. 8vo, cont. vellum over boards (head & foot of spine a little worn, vellum a little warped), spine lettered in gilt. Casale: G.A. Meardi, 1764.
RATTI, Alfonso. Nuova Giunta…cioé Descrizione de’ cambiamenti fatti al Seminatore con i quali esso si è reso più semplice. One folding engraved plate, numbered “8.” 45,  pp. 8vo. Casale: G.A. Meardi, 1766.
24 full-page woodcut illus. 17 folding leaves. Small oblong 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers somewhat defective), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Kyoto: Iseya Shosuke et al., 1790.
First edition and very rare; no copy in WorldCat. Following Japan’s 1609 invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom (today’s Okinawa), the Kingdom became a vassal to the Japanese feudal domain of Satsuma and was expected to make periodic diplomatic visits to the shogunate in Edo to pay tribute. During the Edo period, there were 18 such diplomatic missions (Edo nobori or “the going up of Ryukyu to Edo”) which included royal princes, high-ranking government...
Two parts in one vol. 36 folding leaves. Large 8vo, orig. yellow wrappers (somewhat soiled), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Shiga: Hieizan Jodoin, 1821.
First edition of this early bibliography of Buddhist texts. Saicho (767-822), the founder of the Tendai school of Buddhism in Japan, was commissioned by the emperor to go to China to further study in the Tiantai school of Buddhism and bring back more accurate sacred texts. Saicho left for the mainland in 803 as part of a four-ship diplomatic mission. After great difficulties, he made his way to Mount Tiantai and studied with the...
Seven unnumbered leaves. Small folio (295 x 195 mm.), attractive antique marbled boards. “Madrid: 24 October 1748.”
A curious manuscript on solutions to combat growing difficulties in harvesting and processing silk in Valencia. In 56 ordenanzas, Jiménez de Quesada lists the ways in which the Torcidos factory plans on reforming its production methods. He cites several experts on silk, such as “Dr. Juan Bautista Ayolde,” and laws that impact the manufacture of the raw materials. Techniques from other regions are also mentioned.
In fine condition. Tightly trimmed, just touching text in a few instances.
Nine numbered leaves. Small folio (300 x 195 mm.), attractive antique marbled boards. [Spain: ca. 1738].
An unpublished manuscript, written in a single legible hand, in which the author advocates Spanish mercantilism to protect the domestic silk trade from foreign competition. Carlon, an expert on silk manufacturing, thoroughly describes each step in the making of silk. He concludes with reasons why Spain and this industry would benefit from mercantilism.
In fine condition.
19 folding engraved plates. vii, , 411 pp. Thick 8vo, a fine Scottish “herringbone” binding of cont. dark green morocco (foot of upper joint with one small & careful repair), sides richly gilt in a “herringbone” design, spine richly gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. Edinburgh: A. Millar & J. Nourse, 1761.
First edition, thick paper copy, bound in dark green morocco with a most handsome contemporary Scottish “herringbone” design. Stewart (1717-85), was the successor to Colin Maclaurin in the chair of mathematics at Edinburgh and established his reputation as a mathematician by the publication of his General Theorems (1746). Michel Chasles...
Large (445 x 330 mm.) folding hand-colored engraved plan (lacking the second engraved plate). Text within ruled borders.  leaves (lacking the first leaf, a blank; small blank portion of title torn away from lower inner margin). Small 4to, 18th-cent. calf (joints cracked but strong), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: G. Eld, 1610.
First edition of the first English work on agricultural irrigation and an important early work in the literature of utopias. This is a very rare book, with or without the two plates. Our copy has the important and large folding engraved plan depicting Vaughan’s idealized community, colored...
Two folding engraved plates.  leaves. Small 4to, modern wrappers (some browning due to the quality of the paper). Erfurt: B. Hempel, 1681.
First edition of an uncommon book containing observations of the famous comet of 1680-81. Apart from its brightness, this comet is notable as the first to be observed using a telescope (by Gottfried Kirch in Coburg). Other well-known observers included Robert Hooke, Flamsteed, Newton, and John Evelyn.
Virling was from Eisenach and very probably a cleric. He clearly was well-educated as this is an extremely scientific account of the comet, its path, and appearance, along with its meaning. The...