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Tachibana Morikuni - Morokoshi kinmo zui - Encyclopaedia on China - 1719

Lot reference 19604925

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Architecture, Art (general), Astronomy, Illustrated, Science (general) - Quantity: 15 - other extra - see description

Object: Book (More lots)
Number of Books: 15
Subject: Architecture, Art, Astronomy, Illustrated, Science (general)
Author/ Illustrator: Tachibana Morikuni
Book Title: Morokoshi kinmo zui - Encyclopaedia on China
Condition: Fair
Publication year oldest item: 1719
Edition: 1st Edition
Language: Other
Original language: Yes
Publisher: Japan
Binding/ Material: Softback
Extras: other extra - see description

Finely Illustrated XVIII Century Encyclopedia On China
Illustrated By The Celebrated Osaka Artist
Tachibana Morikuni

TACHIBANA MORIKUNI (1679-1748). Morokoshi kinmo zui [«Illustrated Encyclopaedia on China»], Japan, 1719.

15 volumes, woodblock printed, original blue covers and title slips under later yellow covers.

Diffuse traces of worming, water stains, traces of use.


This work was illustrated by the celebrated Osaka artist Tachibana Morikuni and each volume is extensively illustrated with depictions of contemporary China, Chinese learning and customs, including astronomy, maps, landscapes, architecture, mythology, martial arts, weaponry, farming practices, flora and fauna.

Tachibana Morikuni: A leading eighteenth century painter, illustrator and writer, Tachibana Morikuni was a master of both Kano and Tosa styles. A student of Tsuruzawa Tanzan, Morikuni lived and worked in Osaka. His major illustrated books include, Ehon Koji-dan (1714), Morokoshi Kimmo-zui (the work listed here) (1719), Ehon shaho-bukuro (1720), Gaten tsuko (1727), Honcho gaen (1729), Utai gashi (1732), Ehon oshukubai (1740) and Unpitsu soga (1749).

Provenance: From the Collection of James E. Fagan (1926-2011)
James E. Fagan was an American collector with a special interest in the introduction of Western culture and technology to Japan’s closed Edo-era society (1603-1868), also known as the Tokugawa period. Mr. Fagan studied Japanese language and history at Stanford University, and served as a US Naval officer in the Pacific theatre. He then lived and worked in Japan as an attorney in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

During this time, Fagan assembled and researched his collection of rare Edo-era woodblock and manuscript maps, prints and books not available outside Japan. Highlights include Nagasaki-e (showing the Japanese fascination with the Dutch East Indies (VOC) outpost at Deshima island), early Rangakuexaminations of Western science and languages, the evolution of Japanese cartographic knowledge, and the study of English and Russian military might and technology. Imaginative illustrations and maps, from Japanese castaways reporting back to the Japanese Court, also provide a glimpse of how the Western world appeared to the first Japanese to circumnavigate the globe. 

The collection demonstrates Japan’s keen curiosity about the Western world during its long isolationist period, and the artful way the Japanese perspective captures the impact of European contact.

Copy of this work are present in the collection of the British museum

and in the collection of the National Diet Library, Tokyo, Japan

Where it has been fully digitized

Bibliography: Tsuchiya, Noriko, Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan, London, BMP, 2014

It mc0467  

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