1919. Item #90084
Ôtani Sonyû 大谷 尊由(1886-1939) & Iguchi Kashû 井口華秋 (1880-1930), artist TOKAIDÔ GOJÛSAN-TSUGI EMAKI 東海道五十三次絵巻 Kyoto Taisho 11 . Eight handscrolls with woodcut coloring over collotype, complete.The scrolls have bone jiku with brocade covers and sumi over gold title labels. The pictures of the stations of the old Tôkaidô alternate between Sonyû and Kashû. Most station names are well known, but there are alternate local names, and in some cases other place names are itemized parenthetically. Colophon: Endnote. Date of publication Jan. 15, Taisho 11 (1922). Price: ¥500. Artists: Otani Sonyû and Iguchi Kashû. Publisher: Nakamura Taikan. Printer: Motohashi Sadajirô. Publishing House: Nihon Taikan-sha.
It goes without saying that the price of 500 yen (at the time worth about US$200 in gold), a shocking amount, was reflective of the enormous costs associated with the project. That sum came to a bit less than a male factory worker's yearly wage and quite a bit more than a female factory worker. The use of collotype as the "shita-e", then over-printing with heavy opaque mineral pigments time and again to derive the rich palette of the finished scrolls was not a method conducive to economy. A bit of a vanity production as Otani Sonyû was the younger brother of an important Buddhist prelate and it seems most of the copies ended up in the hands of Buddhist temples. Sonyû was also a Buddhist priest and was made a cabinet Minister for Japan (Colonial Affairs) in 1939 - illustrating the continuing importance of the ideal of a cultured man as polymath. The publisher went bankrupt soon after the appearance of the Tokaido set. Our copy is enclosed in its original worn black lacquer box, title in gilt. The scrolls are in fine condition, with a few creases but none of the usual foxing. There are literally hundreds of feet of remarkable images. (See Roger Keyes' extensive description of this major discovery in his catalogue of the NYPL exhibition of EHON.).