1974. Item #90985
Sekine Toshio [関根寿雄], artist. A Lonely Pithecanthropus Erectus. Self published. Tokyo. 1974-5. Small sakusha 作者本 artist’s book 10 x 7cm with decorated cover and fur glued on the binding. Accordion fold in a Western style binding. Red paper paste-downs on front and rear. Numbered 1 of a limitation of 5. The cover has four layers of dark hand painted paper with a metallic finish and a central cut-out with jagged edges and a light blue background. A human figure on brown heavy board is centered within the cut-out. All the text is typewritten or is printed so it appears typewritten.
Four opening pages precede the lithographic prints. The title page has a 4 x 5cm tipped-in, color illustration with the title in English, followed by a limitation page signed by the artist, Sekine Toshio [関根寿雄] (1953-). The following page has a 3 x 3cm tipped-in paper with a tiny embossed figure and “Lithograph” with the artist’s name underneath. The fourth page has the title above with “I892 NEN Dr. DUBOIS NI YOTTE JAVA DE HAKKEN SARETA” underneath, likely referring to the Dutch paleoanthropologist Eugène Dubois (1854-1940), who discovered Pithecanthropus erectus (now known as Homo erectus) in Java. A publisher’s colophon on the rear has a tipped-in 3 x 3cm illustration above it.
14 color illustrations (lithographs?) approx 4 x 5cm are tipped in on the right hand page with the Japanese title on the left hand page. Although the words are in romaji, with no Japanese characters, one can surmise and follow the journey of the small figure of the lonely Pithecanthropus erectus through abstract and figurative illustrations, beginning with Sōseki I and 2 [Genesis 創世記 ] and onward through a number of transitions, including Seijaku [isolation 静寂], Hyōgaki [Ice Age 氷河期], Chie [wisdom 知恵], Yume [dream 夢], Kodoku [isolation 孤独] and Kōdai [change 交代]. The journey ends with metsubō [downfall 滅亡], an illustration of lines of color with green at the top and black at the bottom with a skeleton barely discernible within.
Enclosed in a beige slip-on case 10 x 7.4cm that has “xxxx” in red on beige paper and laid down on the rear bottom of the case. Case is faded with chipping to the edges. Though not a miniature book by Western standards, in Japanese terms this is a mamehon 豆本. Interesting and well done designs with each page a discovery of its own.