Ehon Taka Kagami [or Picture-Book Mirror of Hawks]

£5,000

[Tokyo, 1866-80],First edition,small 4to,(230 x 160mm.) 5 vols., (part 1, vols. 1-3: part 2, vols. 1-2), stitched Japanese-style into orig. yellow paper wrappers, each vol. with a white paper title-slip printed in red,illustrated throughout with Kyosai’s magnificent woodcuts, the pict. woodcut titles of the first and fourth volumes on blue paper, the pasted-down leaves at the beginning and end of each vol. (with the exception of the two blue paper title-pages) being of mica-flecked Washi paper, stitched Japanese-style into orig. yellow paper wrappers, each vol. with a white paper title-slip printed in red, contained in a half tan morocco case.

[Tokyo, 1866-80],First edition,small 4to,(230 x 160mm.) 5 vols., (part 1, vols. 1-3: part 2, vols. 1-2), stitched Japanese-style into orig. yellow paper wrappers, each vol. with a white paper title-slip printed in red,illustrated throughout with Kyosai’s magnificent woodcuts, the pict. woodcut titles of the first and fourth volumes on blue paper, the pasted-down leaves at the beginning and end of each vol. (with the exception of the two blue paper title-pages) being of mica-flecked Washi paper, stitched Japanese-style into orig. yellow paper wrappers, each vol. with a white paper title-slip printed in red, contained in a half tan morocco case.

“…The book was published at Tokyo and the editor’s name was Nakamura Sasuke… The ‘Mirror of Hawks’ is certainly a very comprehensive and instructive treatise on falconry. It is rare, only seven complete and incomplete copies having been traced in European libraries”.

Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-89) was a Kano painter, printmaker, and illustrator, the son of a Samurai. At the age of six he entered the studio of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and from the age of nine became a student of the academic Kano school, studying under Maemura Towa and then Tohaku Chinshin, who gave him the name “Toiku”. He exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition in 1873, and at the first and second Paris Japanese Art Exhibitions of 1883 and 1884. In the early years of the Meiji period (1868-1912) he attained considerable popularity with his political caricatures, for which he was arrested and imprisoned in 1870. His famous “Kyosai Gadan” (1887), an attempt to show a variety of traditional Japanese and Chinese painting styles, was widely appreciated in Europe, and was issued with English captions for the export market.

Kyosai’s “Ehon Taka Kagami” is the major resource on Japanese falconry, with wonderful woodcuts of hawks, field work, breeding, hoods, gloves, and other associated tools and items of equipment. It records the ancient Japanese methods of care, raising, and training of the Siberian Goshawk, considered the best variety for use in falconry since ancient times.

Harting 371. Schwerdt III p. 245

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