Trilingual publication (Japanese, English, French) of elaborately produced color woodblock prints on the theme of traditional Japanese children's games.
"Some to whom these [...] have been shewn, doubt whether they were ever produced in their present form from woodcuts [...] That such doubts should be entertained, affords me no small gratification, being a proof od the skill with which the woodcuts have been executed." – Preface
Gorgeous multi-color woodblock prints capture traditional games based on famous paintings created hundreds of years earlier. The laid-in English description includes (in part): "Hane-tsuki: 'Battledore and Shuttlecock,' a game played principally during the first ten days of the New Year"; "Koma Asobi: 'Playing with Tops,' and Tamaya: 'Blowing Soap-bubbles"; "Sugoroku, a sort of backgammon"; "Hotaru-gari: 'Hunting Fireflies"; and more, including descriptions of holidays like Obon and making "snowmen" of Daruma, the iconographic image of the monk who brought Zen to Japan.
The skill of late-era ukiyo-e and nihonga artist Kobayashi Eitaku is evident in this collection, which showcases traditional subjects and aesthetics – very much in response to the Western styles enjoying a growing vogue in the Meiji era. Publisher Nagao explains in the preface that he wanted to create a work of virtuosity within the form, both for love of the art and as a patriotic homage to Japan's homegrown arts in the face of Western ones: to this end, he issued the publication with Japanese, French, and English text. Truly a beautiful production, just as the publisher hoped it would be.
Tokyo: Hakubunsha, Meiji 21; 1888. Title front board: 子供遊び画帖 [Kodomo Asobi Gajō - Picture Book of Children's Play]. Rear titles: Japanese Paintings. Children's Sports. Dessins Japonais. Jeux D'Enfants. 9'' x 11.5''. Original rough cloth boards bound orihon (accordion) style. One full-page color printed illustration, followed by preface in three languages and 12 full-page color woodblock prints mounted on handmade paper with gold flecks. Text in Japanese. Single folded sheet laid in containing 2 pages of printed descriptions of the games depicted in each print. A bit of soiling to printed label, else remarkably bright and clean.
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibilty to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 30 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All items are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions), first editions (i.e. first printings), unless otherwise noted. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All items subject to prior sale. Domestic orders over $250 and international orders over $500 ship gratis. We use USPS unless otherwise requested. Expedited, overnight, or international shipping, as well as other carriers, may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to accomodate institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.