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    Noritané Ninagawa's Study of Japanese Pottery, with Stunning Hand-Colored Lithographed Plates

    Noritané Ninagawa. Kwan ko dzu setsu [Kanko zusetzu]. Notice historique et descriptive sur les arts et industries japonais. Art céramique. [Parts I-V]. Tokyo: 1876-1877. [Together with:] Kwan-Ko-Dzu-Setsu. A History of Japanese Antiquities. The Ceramic Art. [Parts VI and VII]. Tokyo: 1879-1880. First edition of Noritané Ninagawa's study of Japanese pottery, arranged in chronological order from ancient times onward. Apparently one of only 300 copies published. Seven oblong folio parts (10.6875 x 5.375 inches; 271 x 390 mm.). Cover titles. Each part with lithographed text in Japanese ([5]; [10]; [11]; [9], [11]; [10]; and [14] leaves, respectively). Printed on rectos only. Ninagawa's red stamp appears on the last leaf of text in each part. Illustrated with 125 numbered hand-colored lithographed plates, several heightened with gum arabic (seventeen plates in Part I and eighteen plates each in Parts II-VII). Some plates and items numbered with small printed labels.
    Stitched, as issued, in the original blue paper wrappers with lithographed title labels on the front wrappers in French and Japanese (Parts I-V) and in English and Japanese (Parts VI and VII). Wrappers of Part I quite worn, with one title label mostly lost; front wrapper of Part III creased. Some offsetting and color bleedthrough; occasional edge browning; a few leaves very slightly moisture warped (from coloring?). Tape or glue residue in places on the versos of the plates in Part I. An excellent copy of this fragile set, with the extremely scarce Parts VI and VII. This copy without the five octavo booklets containing the French translation of Parts I-V (Tokyo: H. Ahrens & Co., 1876-1878), or the publisher's silk chitsu, or portfolio, issued with the first five parts.
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    Edward S. Morse (1838-1925), describing the Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, writes, "Ninagawa Noritane [1835-1882], a distinguished antiquarian of Tokyo, formerly of Kyoto, who planned an extensive work on matters relating to the old things of Japan. In 1876 he began a work under the general title of Japanese Arts and Industries. The work of Japanese pottery consisted of seven parts and a number of unpublished plates and drawings which, had he lived, would have formed Part VIII of the work...In forming the great collection of Japanese pottery, I made special efforts to secure as many as possible of the originals figured by Ninagawa in his work. This antiquarian was my first teacher in the art of pottery identification and from him I secured a number of the original objects figured in Parts VI and VII. The originals figured in Parts II, III, IV and V had been bought and carried to Europe before I reached Japan. There was no hope of ever securing these, so an attempt was made to get objects as near like as possible to those originally figured. These were in every case submitted to Ninagawa for his approval. In a number of instances better objects were secured than Ninagawa had figured. In a few instances I got the mate to the one figured...Ninagawa's work on pottery was entitled Kwan Ko Dzu Setsu; the literal translation of these four characters is 'Study, Old, Illustration, Explain, or Discourse,' a free translation of which might be, Illustrated Discourse on Ancient Objects. This work was made up of seven parts, oblong in shape, measuring 15 1/2 by 10 3/4 inches. These were illustrated by lithographic plates colored by hand, and though roughly done are almost perfect in the depiction of the pieces figured. Part I was published in 1876, Parts II, III, IV, and V in 1877, Part VI bore the date of 1879, and Part VII appeared in 1880. The objects figured in Part I were never owned by Ninagawa; Figs. 1-15 were copied from drawings of objects exhumed from a mound at Kamiyama, in Yamato, and were reburied after having been drawn; others were in the National Museum, or in the possession of some shrine or temple. The Museum [of Fine Arts in Boston] collection, however, contains objects of a similar nature to those figured. The objects figured in Parts II, III, IV and V are the most important of all, and of 121 pieces figured the Museum possesses 114. In Parts VI and VII were figured a few pieces of porcelain and a number of others new and of no merit. The Museum Collection possesses eleven originals of Part VI, and ten originals of Part VII. The British Museum possesses nine originals of these two parts, which were secured by the British Minister, Sir Harry Parkes, who was in Japan at the time of their publication. A few other types were got by Dr. William Anderson, of London, and Thomas Allen, Esq., of Boston. With few exceptions, however, our collection possesses potteries and marks similar to those figured" (Edward S. Morse, "Ninagawa's Types of Japanese Pottery," Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 61 (February 1913), page 10).


    M. L. Solon, Ceramic Literature, page 310.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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