[In Japanese characters:] Satsugu enso roku.  [Spine title:] Tobacco Culture…

~ [In Japanese characters:] Satsugu enso roku.  [Spine title:] Tobacco Culture at Osumi & Satsuma [by] H. Awoye. Tokyo, Maruya Zenshichi, Meiji 14 [1881].

5 parts in one vol., 8vo (233 × 157 mm), pp. [18], 76, [2]; 86, [2], 199, [3]; 184, [2]; 55, [1], 81, [2], 10, 5, [3]; with 156 figures, maps, charts, and tables, mostly in colour, some in the text, some folding; collating exactly as the Duke copy (digitised by HathiTrust), with the exception that two plates (‘Map of the Tobacco producing Tracts at Hiuga Oosumi and Satsuma’ and subsequent chart) have been transposed; tear to one folding chart; some leaves browned, more so towards the beginning and the end; original publisher’s polished half roan, cloth sides, a few small wormholes, extending into the text-block itself, touching a few characters only, rubbed at extremities, spine a little creased, chips at head and foot. 

‘This remarkable monograph is richly illustrated by 156 colored figures, many of them large, folded inserts.  It deals with morphology of the tobacco plant, planting, handling and care of seed beds, shelters, transplanting, weeding, trapping moles, final transplanting, use of wheat as a “nurse” crop to prevent wind damage, insect pests, various named diseases, harvesting, curing, preparation for market, history of smoking, geography of the Japanese tobacco-growing region, grading and qualities of the product.  It is probably as interesting a monograph of a single crop plant as any nation could show at the same time.  From the standpoint of book-making, the format is distinctly Western except for the superficially Japanese appearance of the paper-covered parts.  It is printed from type in Chinese character and neat katakana.  The leaves are not doubled, [but] printed on both sides.  The illustrations are not neat Japanese diptychs, but big irregularly folded inserts in Western style.  The pagination is Western, for both sides of each leaf are numbered.  This work is one of those which began to appear in large numbers about a decade after the restoration of imperial rule and which are modern in typography.  At first glance this one appears to be transitional in retaining the traditional wood-cut illustrations.  These, however, have had the black outlines printed from metal, with the frame-lines of the pages and the text, probably from photographically produced line engravings on zinc.  Only the colors were added with a succession of printings from wood blocks …  All in all, the printing of this copiously illustrated work with its effective coloring was a marvel of technical ingenuity’ (Harley Harris Bartlett & Hide Shohara, ‘Japanese botany during the period of wood-block printing’, The Asa Gray Bulletin, New Series vol. III, nos. 3–4 (Spring 1961), p. 365). 
‘The numerous and elaborate inserted illustrations … show Aoe’s distinct trend toward experimentation with newly introduced methods.  He stated that when the manuscript was ready it was found that some of the illustrations were unsatisfactory, and that it was thought that they might well be replaced by lithographs (ishihan).  This was done, but flat coloring was overprinted from wood blocks.  In addition, at the advice of a friend, the plates were all carefully described at the end of the work.  In the main the pictures were drawn from living plants, although a few were based upon careful descriptions’ (op. cit., pp. 442–43, which also reproduces Figs. 52–3 from the book, ‘a tobacco leaf damaged by a sphinx-moth caterpillar, with the pest itself; a good example of the numerous admirable plates of Aoe Hide’s remarkable tobacco monograph, transitional from the old to the new in natural history and agricultural publication’). Catalogue of an Exhibition of Japanese Books and Manuscripts, mostly Botanical, held at the Clements Library of the University of Michigan (1954), item 32.

Print this page View basket Price: £3,250.00