1802. Item #86724
Kōrin Gafu 光琳画譜
Ogata Kōrin 尾形光琳 (copied by Nakamura Hōchū 中村芳中, also Nakamura Yoshinaka)
2 vols. 25.8 x 18.5cm. Orihon folding albums, Vol 1 labeled Kan 乾 (heaven, upper) and Vol 2 labeled Kon 坤 (earth, lower) in cream (light yellow?) covers with original printed paper title labels. Housed in a wooden box brushed with an attribution as a first edition, though it is not. 2pp. preface, 25 double page prints (none with seals).
This copy is a variant of the so-called “facsimile” edition done in later Meiji. It has the original simple colophon with the date as well as the name and seal of the original printer, Tanpankan 擔板漢 (also 担板漢, who scholar and editor Suzuki Jun and others think may well be Nakamura Hōchū 中村芳中 himself), of the true first edition of 1801. (It is interesting to note that Tanpankan 担板漢 literally means “a person carrying a board,” but metaphorically refers to a person who can only see one side of things.) There is no notice of the publisher. The paper and printing are quite different from the “second edition” with 26 prints from the Bunsei period usually in blue-toned covers. (See Roger Keyes, “The Art of Surimono” vol 2 p.450. )
A handsome version of one of the signature works of Japanese illustration, here in good condition. The colors are lovely and the shading subtle. There are excellent bokashi ぼかし and tarashikomi 溜込 effects, as well as karazuri 空摺 (gauffrage). There is even a hint of woodgrain in some flat applications of color. Although a recut, this late version, likely recut from a true first edition (only a handful of those survive today) is, ironically enough, superior aesthetically to many much earlier “intermediate” versions.
Dirtstaining to covers and pages, otherwise in very good condition. Overall, an exquisite production of this, one of the most important ehon 絵本 and a cornerstone for any ehon collection.