Item #9013 A Catalogue of Japanese & Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. Laurence Binyon.
A Catalogue of Japanese & Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum
A Catalogue of Japanese & Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum

A Catalogue of Japanese & Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum

Good. Item #9013

London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1916. First Edition. Octavo (25x20x5cm); lii, including intro., chronology, and bibliography + 605pp, including 10pp of artists' signature seals and index. Thirty-seven reproductions on 31 plates; three in color; all present. Plates are printed on solid tissue stock, itself tipped onto leaves of laid paper with original deckle edge, and these leaves bound into gatherings. Boards in dark olive; blue-black coated endpapers. Ex-lib, withdrawn from the Ryerson Library at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Boards retain original publisher's cloth. The spine has been repaired by a careful librarian in matching canvas; our repair person was no calligrapher but the title is neatly recreated on the spine. Both front and rear hinges are cracked; the rear one more severely, but the original internal sewing tape is holding. Panel edges and bumped corners scuffed, with some cloth erosion. Overall condition that of an often-consulted library reference.

Laurence Binyon—co-genitor of British Modernism, celebrated poet of First World War, and the inspirer of Yeats and Pound through the very volume here described—was on staff at the British Museum from the middle of World War I through the early 30s, and viewed at the time as the English-speaking world’s leading critic on Japanese and Chinese art. Hence the attention of Yeats and Pound and many other Asia-inspired writers.

This particular copy made its way from London to the Art Institute of Chicago and then to the Smithsonian Libraries. It retains the publisher’s original tipped-in notice explaining that the Chinese woodcuts whose ownership was in dispute between the Indian Government and the British Museum in 1916 have been included as if they were definitively in the British Museum’s collections. Late-colonial optimism, let’s say.

Price: $100.00

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