Morokoshi Meishô Zue [Description of Famous Places in China] - Okada Gyokuzan, Oka Yûgaku, Ôhara Toya Minsei 1806 [Bunka 3] - Kawachiya Kichibei [and 11 others], Ôsaika - First Edition Very scarce first edition of this magnificently illustrated six volume work on the famous places of Qing Dynasty China, with approximately 327 full-page woodblock prints (xylographic printing on mulberry paper) of which there are 135 double-page illustrations, 1 triple page illustration and three eight-page illustrations [a few of the maps being outlined in red ink]. Edited and illustrated by the Japanese artists Okada Gyokuzan, [1737-1812], Oka Yûgaku [1762-1833] and Ôhara Toya [1771-1840]. Text printed in Chinese and Japanese with Japanese reading marks, in original publishers blue wrappers.

Housed in custom made navy morocco leather and cloth clamshell case, titled in gilt.

The illustrations depict mostly topographical views: natural archaeological or sacred sites [the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism, monasteries] and palaces, or historical and legendary scenes based on classical literature. Specifically a map of China and Korea, a map of Peking, a plan of the the Forbidden City, a fine double-page plate depicting the astronomical observatory of Peking set up by the Jesuits Johann Adam Schall and Ferdinand Verbiest, maps and views of the Great Wall and its numerous gates. There are also views of buildings no longer extant, such as the Imperial Elephant Stables.

In summary - Eleven 2-page maps, thirteen 2-page city plans, six 2-page temple plans, three 8-page scenery print, one 3-page scenery print, one-hundred and five 2-page scenery prints, thirty 1-page scenery prints, nineteen in-text prints, four pages of Chinese costume prints, two circular prints of Chinese dignitaries, one full page print of patterns, nine pages of prints of Chinese weapons, armour, and tents, four pages of prints of Chinese vessels and containers, five pages of prints of costumes and jewellery, ten pages of prints of musical instruments, two pages of prints of scales, nineteen pages of prints of modes of transport and accompanying banners and musicians, eight pages of prints of globes and other related instruments, a two page army schematic, four pages of prints of Chinese military costumes, two pages of elephant accessories, and numerous vignettes and samples of Chinese text.
  A note on the printing method - Xylography or Woodcut printing, is a relief printing technique, which, unlike engraving or etching, only requires a low pressure to print, it was a well developed art in Japan, who used water based inks, instead of the oil based (and heavier) inks used in the West. As a relief method (i.e. the ink is transferred to the surface level of the block), it is only necessary to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. The Japanese excelled at this technique, and it is suited perfectly to the delicately thin mulberry paper used here.

References: Kerlen,
Catalogue of pre-Meji Japanese books and maps in public collections in the Netherlands 1077. Bibliotheca Wittockiana Western Travellers in China Discovering the Middle Kingdom 54. Kraft I & II 511, 360 (only Vol 1-3). Edgren, Nordenskiöld Coll. 569 (later printing).

6 volumes 4to. (26.5x 18 cm), in publishers original Japanese blue paper wrappers, with white paper title labels block printed in black.

Volume I - pp. [1 leaf tissue] [1 pink colour title leaf] [1 leaf tissue] [116]
Two 2-page maps, two 2-page city plans, one 8-page scenery print, one 3-page scenery print, eight 2-page scenery prints, four pages of Chinese costume prints, two circular prints of Chinese dignitaries, one full page print of patterns, two in-text prints. Numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Volume II - [2] [102] [2]
One 2-page city plan, one 8-page scenery print, fourteen 2-page scenery prints, three 1-page scenery prints, nine pages of prints of Chinese weapons, armour, and tents, four pages of prints of Chinese vessels and containers, seven in-text prints, numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Volume III - pp. [166]
Nine 2-page city plans, one 8-page print of the emperor and retinue, thirteen 2-page scenery prints, four 1-page scenery prints, five pages of prints of costumes and jewellery, ten pages of prints of musical instruments, two pages of prints of scales, nineteen pages of prints of modes of transport and accompanying banners and musicians, eight pages of prints of globes and other related instruments, a two page army schematic, three in-text prints, numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Volume IV - [2] [136].
One 2-page city plan, twenty-three 2-page scenery prints, one 1-page scenery prints, six 2-page temple plans, four pages of prints of Chinese military costumes, two pages of elephant accessories, five in-text prints, numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Volume V - [2] [141] [1]
Three 2-page maps, twenty-seven 2-page scenery prints, eleven 1-page scenery prints, two in-text prints, numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Volume VI - [2] [168]. Text to rear pastedown,
Six 2-page maps, twenty 2-page scenery prints, eleven 1-page scenery prints, numerous vignettes, and samples of Chinese text.

Pagination is done without including the verso of printed pages, as pages printed on one side then folded to produce two pages of text (unless otherwise stated).
  Condition: Very good, occasional spotting, minor marginal browning in places. Some worming, affecting text, image or stitching in some volumes, some minor archival repair to wrappers.   Ref: 105709   Price: HK$ 110,000