Maekawa Bunrei (1837-1917) (illus).
Yokohama. Meij 18. 1885.
Two volumes, Japanese thread binding full page and single two-color woodblock prints, folio (14 x 9 1/2 inches, 35.5 x 24.5cm). First volume: 4 pages of text followed by 24 single page woodblock prints and 21 double page woodblock prints. Second volume: 4 pages of text followed by 41 single page woodblock prints and 7 double page, plus ONE INCOMPLETE DOUBLE PAGE PRINT (ie one page present). There are 93 (only) complete images, plus one "half" image; complete pagination is not possible as the plates are not numbered. A previous owner has numbered the pages in pencil at a corner or upper edge of each image. The covers are worn and lightly soiled, the paper title label of the second volume has some paper loss, a few brush marks below the title labels, the thread binding on the first volume is almost completely disintegrated with the text block loose, chips and a little paper loss to the interior front cover title sheets, two of the folded sheets have split along the outside edge (not affecting the plates). The plates are all in very good clean condition. Exquisite prints of birds and plants in subtle shades of black, grey, salmon, brown, with yellow and pink, inspired by Kono Bairei's album of bird and flower prints (1881-1884), but here in an impressive large size. These folio volumes, mimicking the impressive folio natural history volumes of nineteenth century Europe, were used to great effect by Japanese natural history artists of the Meiji era. Item #43896