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Sansui Kikan
The b/w woodblock prints show exceptional views of the coast and islands of the Inland Sea, including mountain ridges, cliffs, and rock formations treasured in Shinto practice. Widely credited as a breakthrough in the depiction of Japanese landscape, the views aren't imaginary or copied from Chinese models but were painted on-site by the itinerant artist over a period of 23 years. The work had a great influence on Japanese travel literature and subsequent Edo period painting including the landscape works of Buncho, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Sadahide. Available is vol. 2 from the set of 8 volumes. Even single volumes of this seminal, pictorial guide book rarely appear. PUBLISHING NOTE: An early issue of volume 2 alone, published in Kansei 12 (1800), from the exceedingly rare 8 volumes set made 1799-1802. A worldwide search finds 6 complete copies in institutions, all in Japan, including the National Diet Library and the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art. PAGINATION: Confirmed complete, 53 pages, [1] page, title page for volume 2, "Tozan kisho", (Exceptional Mountain Landscapes), one hanko seal stamped with cinnabar (shubun style) on inner margin foot, and 26 numbered sheets, with 26 double-page, b/w woodblock prints with descriptive text, 154 x 272 mm in size (6.06 x 10.71 inches) within wide ruled borders. Prints have very good detail and sharpness of grain. The unusually wide gutter format (72 mm) suits the many panoramic designs. LANDSCAPE VIEWS: Kyokko traveled through the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, fabled in Japanese culture for its many picturesque and spectacular views, drawing them for his guidebook. They include: the unusual rock formations in the Gokei Valley on the upper Makidani River on Honshu Island, Kankakei Gorge on Shodoshima Island, Yaba-kei Gorge in Northwestern Oita on Kyushu Island, Mt. Uomidake (Fish Seeing Mountain) in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, and Mt. Aso. The Inland Sea, (perhaps first praised in the West by Philipp Franz von Siebold in his work, Nippon (1832-82)), is the body of water separating the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, three of the main islands of Japan, and connects the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean. Its coastal area, except for Osaka prefecture and a part of Wakayama prefecture is now in the Seto Naikai National Park. BOOK FORMAT: Publisher's light blue, blind blocked lined paper wrappers with the original mounted title slip, in a 4 stab holes, Fukuro-toji style sewn binding. Wrappers are decorated with a block repeat of polygons circumscribing florals. Title slip is light tan with a wide scarlet border, printed with scarlet characters. COVER SIZE: 222 x 152 mm (8.75 x 6 inches). CONDITION DETAIL: Nearly Good. Sheets are bright and almost entirely clean, with moderate worming, principally in margins; 4 sheets with tiny creases on upper tips. Worm Track Detail: Title P.: moderate series of tracks in outer margin. Prints: Nos. 1-2: border tracks extend 9 mm into print. Nos. 4-16: one or two small tracks appear in print, principally in center of wide gutter, where visual impact is negligible. Nos. 18-23: border tracks also extend 9 mm into print: Nos. 20-26 have a substantial vertical track in the wide top margin, well outside print frame, also, Nos. 24-26 have side border tracks. Covers: clean: all-around rubs: a few abrasions exposing white underside of wrapper: edge buckling from handling: minor worming. Title Slip: volume number rubbed and difficult to read: small worm trail below characters. Binding: top stab-hole detached on both sides, binding remains reliable and solid. AVAILABILITY: Rare. A worldwide institution catalog search finds 2 partial holdings in the West, at Stanford (3 volumes), and the Fitzwilliam Museum and 11 holdings in Japan, 6 with the complete set. REFERENCE: Kokusho so Mokuroku 30466; Nishida, Journal of the Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture, 2007; James King, Beyond the Great Wave: The Japanese Landscape Print 1727-1960, p. 103. Not in Ryerson, Brown or Hillier (Catalogers cite Hillier, but he describes the Sansui Kikan of Harunobu Gakutei.) ADDITIONAL IMAGES: by request.
      [Bookseller: Steven Waldman]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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