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Yosan Hiroku [Secret Notes on the Cultivation of Silkworms]
Many fine single & double-page illus. 30; 39; 28 folding leaves. Three vols. Large 8vo, orig. blue silk covered wrappers, block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Kyoto, Edo, & Osaka: 1803. First edition of one of the most important Japanese works on sericulture and one of the first Japanese technological works to be translated into a European language. A copy of the present work had been smuggled by Siebold from Nagasaki to Holland where it was translated by Hoffmann (1805-78), a Dutch government language specialist who had a thorough knowledge of Japanese. The 1848 translation (Yo san fi rok. L'Art d'√Člever les Vers √† Soie au Japon) was edited by Matthieu Bonafou (1793-1852), a member of a leading silk manufacturing family in Lyons and Turin, and director of the botanical gardens of Turin. As a result of the silkworm plague which was then damaging the European silk industry, he was deeply involved in the improvement of the production of different varieties of both silkworms and mulberry trees. Bonafou was interested in Chinese and Japanese methods of sericulture which led him to engage in translating and editing a series of relevant classic Chinese and Japanese texts for comparative purposes. The present work was deeply influential in Japan as well. It summarized many of the most advanced techniques - both Chinese and Japanese - in use in various regions of the country. Kamigaki presented his information in a succinct and straightforward style with attractive illustrations which made it readily comprehensible to ordinary farmers. This book is very handsomely printed and illustrated. The woodcuts depict all the steps in sericulture: incubation and rearing of worms, cocoons, selection of eggs for reproduction, techniques of keeping rooms warm enough to enhance hatching, the mulberry tree and its cultivation, feeding the silkworms with mulberry leaves, tools, making the silk, manufacturing fabrics, looms, etc., etc. Kamigaki (1753-1808), was a sericulturist and researcher who travelled throughout Japan to study the subject. A lovely set of this handsome work, unusually bound in silk, which suggests it is a deluxe copy. Preserved in an early wooden box. Minor worming to covers and a few leaves. ❧ See Claudio Zanier's quite wonderful on-line article "Overcoming the Barrier of the Alps. Silk and Intellectual Legacy of Mathieu Bonafous between Lyon and Turin." Andrew O. Urevbu, "Culture and Technology. A Study on the 1997 Theme," on-line resource, p. 36-39.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2017-06-14           Check availability:      Biblio    

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