Hasegawa Publishing – Sword and Blossom Poems, Volumes I, II, III

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Additional information

Artist

Koho, Shoda, Suzuki, Kason, Yoshimune, Arai

Condition

(A) Very Fine Condition, (B) Fine Condition

Date

1880s-1900s

Edition

First Edition, Early Edition

Movement

Shin-hanga

Publisher

Hasegawa Takejiro

Size

Book

Subjects

poetry

The “sword” poems in the books are based on Chinese-style poems by Japanese composers about the warrior spirit (bushido), while the “blossom” poems are gentile waka compositions on nature mainly from the Kokin Wakashū (also known as the Kokinshu, 900AD). Poems on love by anonymous or unknown poets are also included in the third volume. The paper used to cover the padded boards in the binding have been creped (chirimen-gami-e) in the Hasegawa fashion, while Uthe high quality hosho-gami paper pageshave not been creped.

The albums combine Japanese images with English translations of ancient poetry, accompanied by an explanatory preface and postscript. Each page was carved and printed in the woodblock technique, including all the text. The books were illustrated by some of the familiar artists within the Hasegawa “stable” of artists, many of which are familiar to fans of the series Hasegawa’s Night Scenes. Artists include Arai Yoshimune, Shoda Koho, Kason Suzuki, Baison and Hiroshige. Little is known about Charlotte M. A. Peake, one of the translators of the Japanese poems into English, but that she wrote numerous books that were published in London before and after her period in Japan, and that she produced at least one other book with Hasegawa. Unfortunately, no information is currently available about the other translator, Kimura Shotaro.

More about this series via video by David Bull:

 

The Condition

Each of the books is in fine to very fine condition. They all have what can be expected as edge wear on the bindings, but all are complete and intact. Books III has some light water stains later in the book (visible in the images), but Books I and II are without stains.