Kai Senshu 貝千種.
1914. Item #88027
Hirase Yoichirō 平瀬與一郎. Kai Senshu 貝千種. Kyoto: Unsodo 芸艸堂, 4 vols. Taisho 3-11 [1914-22] 24.8 X 17.8 cm. 4 vols., complete. Printed paper title labels, silk over boards. Orihon folding books of color woodcuts of shells. Each volume contains 20 double page prints. Though the English title would be "One Thousand Shells", there are only 400 illustrated in the set, supporting the theory that the work was originally planned for 10 volumes and never finished. The first three volumes are scarce (our volume one is dated 1914, volume two and three are dated 1915) but volume four, here the issue printed in 1922, is very hard to find. Thus a complete set, particularly in the clean condition this one is in, is, quite simply, rare. The preface is in Japanese, and the plate lists in bilingual Japanese and Latin. Hirase had a museum of shells and originally commissioned this lovely work from the master printers at Unsodo to commemorate its first anniversary. Very good, the covers are a bit worn, a bit of offsetting here and there. The printing was so exquisite and the expense of production so large, as to make it one of the jewels of 20th century woodblock production.