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Yamato Meisho Zue [trans.: A Guide to Notable Sites of the Area around Nara, the Ancient Capital].
- 186 woodcut full-page illus. (of which 168 are double-page). Six vols. in seven. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. block printed title label on each upper cover (frayed), new stitching. Osaka: 1791. First edition of this richly illustrated travel guide to Nara, one in a series of similar guides to various parts of ancient Japan written by Akisato (fl. 1780-1814). He was the first to write detailed accounts of early Japan. He travelled with his artists throughout the country in order to accurately record the landmarks; his books were immediate best sellers. The illustrations are by Takehara Shunchôsai (d. 1800), one of the leading illustrators of the period, accompanied by Haiku poems with explanations in both Chinese and Japanese. This work describes the notable landmarks of Nara, the ancient capital of Japan before Kyoto and Tokyo. Not only are the most important temples, gardens, landscapes (in numerous and marvelous bird’s eye views), and archeological remains portrayed in this finely illustrated set, scenes of daily life are also shown, including planting and harvesting crops, hunting and fishing, housekeeping, rituals and celebrations, bathing, etc., etc. Nara has always been famous for its deer population. There is a wonderful double-page illustration of men at a "café" throwing rice crackers to the nearby deer. This practice continues today. Shunchôsai draws landscapes in a realistic way. His illustrations are not only meticulously executed and aesthetically appealing but are also full of detailed and accurate information. This is an invaluable record of ancient Nara as many of the landmarks no longer exist. Very good state. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller Inc.]
Last Found On: 2014-10-13           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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