1719 ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA of CHINA - SIX JAPANESE WOODBLOCK PRINTED BOOKS


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MOROKOSHI KINMŌ ZUI / 唐圡訓蒙圖彙. Text by Sen'an Hirazumi. Illustrated by Morikuni Tachibana. An ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA of CHINA.  Complete set of FOURTEEN VOLUMES plus an INTRODUCTORY VOLUME bound in SIX WOODBLOCK PRINTED BOOKS, ink on paper. Published by Ōnogi Ichibē, [Osaka, Japan], 1719. Six Books containing 14 volumes. TEXT in JAPANESE, except for an Introductory Volume of Text (including a Preface) which is in CHINESE.  Six Books, paper covers, 6.25x8.75 inches (22x16 cm), stab stitch binding, paper title labels. Book 1: Introductory Volume including Preface. Book 2: Volumes 1-4, Book 3: Volumes 5-6, Book 4: Volumes 7-9, Book 5: Volumes 10-12, Book 6: Volumes 13-14. The books have been carefully collated to assure that all 14 volumes are present and complete. FAIR condition: Wear, rubbing and scraping to covers with some loss, worming mainly to the upper margins but pages here and there with worming on the images as well, some staining and soiling to a few pages; overall a complete set of these 6 books / 14 volumes, with text that is fully legible and images that are bright and clear. This over 400 year old 1719 Illustrated Encyclopedia of China is RARE. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Asian Art, holds a set of this 1719 work. The Smithsonian holds a later 1802 edition. About the Morokosh Kinmō zui (from a University of British Columbia website):
The Morokoshi Kinmō zui, also called "Enlightening Illustrations of China", was first published in 1719 during the Tokugawa Period. It has since been replicated and reproduced many times. The Morokoshi Kinmō zui contains hundreds of black and white woodblock prints that encompass everything from Chinese cultural elements, architecture, regional Chinese plants and animals, and even types of humans. The Morokoshi Kinmō zui is made up of 14 volumes that include: (1) Astronomy,
2) Geography, (3) Architecture, (4-5) People, (6) Martial Arts, (7) Instruments - weapons and tools, (8) Machines, (9) Instruments - agriculture and arms, (10) Ceremonial costumes and precious stones, (11-12) Botany and horticulture, (13) Birds and wild animals, (14) Fish, reptiles, and insects. These volumes are collected into a series of books (five plus a book of explanatory text), with each book containing anywhere from one to three volumes.  Page layout varies from volume to volume, but all contain woodblock printed images accompanied by text. The Morokoshi Kinmō zui was created as a way to educate Japanese children on the important elements of Chinese culture, geography, flora and fauna.  More importantly, the creation and reproduction of these encyclopedias within Japan allowed Japanese children to pronounce and learn the names of Chinese cultural elements. The Morokoshi Kinmō zui was produced in a time where Kinmō zui (Japanese Illustrated Encyclopedia) were a common item of production.  During the Edo Period, commercial book publishing was on the rise, and the popularity of previous encyclopedias such as Kanzai Nakamura’s (1629-1702) version of Kinmō zui (Japanese Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1666) paved the way for the publication of other encyclopedic works.  The words and images of the Morokoshi Kinmo zui are produced by woodblock printing, and all images found in the volumes were created by Tachibana Morikuni.  Morikuni belonged to the Kano school of Japanese art which began in the Tokugawa Period.******
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