1887. Item #90734
[EHON] Rai Sanyō, et al. 頼山陽 Shunsōdō 春草堂. JÛJUN KAGETSU-CHÔ. 十旬花月帖 3 Vols., orihon, bound in brocade covered boards with printed silk title labels. The tall slender volumes, 29 x 10.2 cm, are reminiscent of sutras in their format. Enclosed in the original chitsu (clasps missing) with printed paper title label. The colophon is integrated with the closing directory of participants, dated Meiji 16 . The zodiacal date of 1827 is contained in many of the contributions to the work. Why almost sixty years went by until this work was published in woodcut is problematic, but the centrality of the great scholar, Rai Sanyō, and his followers to the work is undeniable. There are a total of twelve color woodcut printed illustrations, 11 are double-page and one is a four-page foldout landscape. The subjects are the flowers, landscapes, etc. of Nanga art, but the execution is superlative in printing, coloring, and composition.
I should mention that we once handled the original manuscripts for this work. This is a remarkably faithful facsimile in woodcut of the Rai group's literary and artistic record of Sanyô, his mother and her brother, all noted poets, scholars, and artists in the Nanga tradition, when they took a trip of 100 days (jû-jun) - the time granted Sanyo's uncle as leave from his Daimyo to make the trip.
As remarkable as the prints are, the other aspect of the albums, the calligraphed poems, etc., are equally impressive. In my opinion, the printer's ability to capture the diverse style of each writer and the uniformly excellent quality of each contributor's work make this 100 DAYS INSCRIBING MOON AND FLOWERS one of the finest illustrated works of the Meiji period.
It would not do to ignore the historical importance of the work, either. The Nanga revival of the 1880s which iterated an earlier flowering approximately a zodiacal circle earlier is at the heart of the work, and the lavish nature of the production illustrates the intellectual, artistic, and financial resources available to the bunjin literati of mid-Meiji Japan. Each poem and woodcut is sealed, and the study of both seals and signatures throughout the book provided in its day and to us also many insights into the relations of the many intellectuals in Rai Sanyō's 1820's movement. See Mitchell 528 and articles on such of the contributors as Sanyō himself, Kagawa Kageki, Rai Kyōhei, and Kan Sazan in the Kōdansha ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAPAN.
In very good condition and excellent color and impression. Three volumes, complete:.