Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese – 10 Volumes
Edited by Captain F. Brinkley - Written by Eminent Japanese Authorities and Scholars
Edition de Grand Luxe – Limited Edition – 35 of 50
Imported and Printed for Benjamin Pierce Cheney – Founder of American Express
Published by J. B. Millet Company, Boston in 1897
This is the Edition de Grand Luxe of “Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese” published by J. B. Millet Company, Boston in 1897 with a limitation of 50 sets with this being number 35 that was imported and printed for Benjamin Pierce Cheney, founder of American Express and Wells Fargo Bank. Widely considered one of the most opulent and important illustrated works of the nineteenth century, Japan is a lavishly produced 10 volume collection that was intended to introduce Japan to the world after they decided to end their self-imposed isolation. Denise Bethel in her excellent study on the publication of Japan wrote, “Everything about the volumes was intended to evoke Japan: according to the Prospectus, nothing was to be omitted that could "assist in giving... the flavor of the country." As mentioned above, the book was bound in the Japanese manner; the paper used was imported from Japan; the silk for the Mikado covers, tassels, and cords was spun and woven to order in Kyoto by S. Iida, the proprietor of a centuries-old silk manufactory; the xylograph reproductions of Japanese art work were printed in Tokyo by the Kokkwa Publishing Company. Although the book was actually printed and assembled in Boston, all of its elements were manufactured in Japan, to insure their "Japaneseness." As the Prospectus issued by the Millet Company in 1898 describes in detail, the Japanese authorship of the volumes was intended to be a radical departure from other books in English on the same topic, for "there is only one way to make the best book on any subject, and that is to secure the finished manuscript of those who know the most about it," in this case, the Japanese themselves.”
Edited by Captain Frank Brinkley, each volume contains an essay on Japanese Art by Kakuzo Okakura, Director of the Imperial Art School at Tokyo Japan. The collection is illustrated with ten frontispieces of mounted original examples of Japanese art, ten color collotype photographs of flowers, 60 mounted and matted hand-colored albumen photographs, ten color/zylograph plates reproducing noted Japanese art, and approximately 200 in-text mounted hand-colored albumen photographs.
The collection is in FINE condition with some very minor surface wear and volume 9 having some darkening to the silk at the top of the front cover.
Stock photographs of the collection and some examples of the illustrations appear in the photo section of the listing.