Minchō Shiken 明朝紫硯 (also Minchō Seidō Gaen 明朝生動画園)
Ōoka Shumboku 大岡春朴, artist
[Botanical, Ehon] 3 vols. 27.6 x 17.7 cm., string-bound Japanese-style fukuro toji. Cream paper covers with printed paper title labels. A reprint of the rare Minchō Seidō Gaen 明朝生動画園 of 1746. This edition does not have its colophon, but is almost certainly later than the Hishiya Magobei edition of 1813. Though it does have the final "authentication" seal of the Bunka edition [see Mitchell example "B" p.416] According to Hillier [Vol.1 pp.206-7], the original outline blocks were employed with new color blocks. Though Hillier and Mitchell point out the diminished printing quality of later editions compared to the original, it should be noted that the original edition, one of the first color printed Japanese books, is a work of great rarity and beauty.
The true Bunka edition that we have seen, usually dated to 1813, is still a lovely book with the use of bokashi and other techniques. The edition at hand here is further diminished, but, that said, it is still a lovely book and a very scarce one. [See Brown, pp.70-1] Also, it should be noted that the original edition only consisted of two volumes (the planned third volume did not appear.) The Bunka edition and later ones, like this, add that series of lovely images in a third volume, completing the original conception of the artist.
The printing and colors are fairly good. Overall, good to very good condition, in a worn blue cloth chitsu clasped case [clasps missing] with the remains of a printed title slip matching those on the books themselves. All enclosed in a wooden box. Complete.