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Seven albums of magnificently finished paintings, employing brush, watercolor, and Japanese pigments, mostly double-page, depicting approximately 310 botanical specimens, many with small supplementary drawings. 45; 45; 47; 46; 44; 45; 38 folding leaves (not counting some blanks). Seven vols. Small folio (310 x 227 mm.), orig. brown wrappers. [Japan]: 1890-93
The beautifully rendered illustrations in these seven albums were most likely executed by Akio (or Keigu) Yamamoto (1827-1903), Confucian scholar, doctor, botanist, and highly gifted artist. He was born in Kyoto, the son of the prominent doctor and botanist Boyo Yamamoto who specialized in materia medica (honzo). Keigu travelled widely throughout Japan, drawing plants and animals. He also wrote several standard works on materia medica and left many sketchbooks which entered the Kyoto rare book trade in 1932; some of these were published only in the 1980s. All of his sketchbooks offered valuable and unique information regarding native plants and plants which had been introduced into Japan. The paintings in our seven albums are clearly by a master and they very closely resemble the albums of Yamamoto's drawings preserved in the Iwase Bunko Library in Aichi Prefecture (see their webpage), in style and format. The artist demonstrates his great skill with brush, watercolor, and Japanese pigments. The illustrations are highly accurate and vivid. The coloring is rich and fresh. Much of the paper used is mica paper. The seven albums are divided by subject as we learn from the inscriptions on the lower edges: 1. Trees and flowers. Each brilliantly colored drawing is dated 1890 with the month and sometimes the place. The illustrations depict camellias, magnolias, cherry blossoms, willow, plum trees, chrysanthemums, narcissus, peach, pear, etc. Many of the pages contain extra depictions of the developing blossom, sometimes ten different stages. The artist also provides notes on appearance and scent. 2. Vegetables and fruits, dated 1890-93. Cucumbers, eggplants, pumpkins, herbs, red radish, peppers, scallions, plums, apricots, pomegranates, pears, gingko, yuzu, persimmon, etc. On the final leaf of Vol. II, the collector has written his signature "Kansai Sawawatari." 3. Trees and flowers, dated 1890. Rhododendrons, maples, iris, wild orchid, peonies, lilies, roses, beans, wheat, dandelion, etc. Some of the illustrations extend beyond the double-page openings. Towards the end of this volume, there are four black ink & brush drawings and one color drawing on tissue paper pasted-in. Written on the color drawing is "Teacher Akio Yamamoto's sketches copied." 4. Plants and flowers, dated 1890. Hydrangea, cucumber, several kinds of lotus, dahlia, pepper, hosta, pumpkin, beans, morning glories, clematis, etc. Yamamoto has also indulged in nature printing by inking a number of leaves and pressing them on to the pages. 5. Plants and flowers, dated 1890-91. Marigolds, lilies, morning glories, maples, plums, quince, cherry, apricot, etc. 6. Illegible title. With a thirty plant manuscript index. Dated 1891. Narcissus, camellia, peonies, fiddle fern, iris, poppies, plums, iris, gardenias, lilies, morning glories, dogwoods, etc. 7. Plants and flowers, dated 1891. Iris, orchid, willow, peonies, wild orchid, narcissus, clover, holly, pine, wild orchid drawn in the Chinese style, etc. On the final leaf, the collector has written his signature "Kansai Sawawatari." ❧ S. Kitamura, "Phonzoshaseizufu by Keigu Yamamoto," an on-line article from the Japanese Society of Plant Systematics, Acta. Phytotax. Geobot, Vol. XXXI, Nos. 4-6 (Nov. 1980), pp. 195-200 (the correct title is Honzo shasei zufu).
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-01-27           Check availability:      Biblio    

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