Manuscript on paper, label on upper cover: "Kiku genpo zukai jo" (trans.: "Surveying Methods illustrated & explained. Part One"). Numerous illus. in the text employing green, grey, black, red, & yellow inks & washes. 30 folding leaves. 8vo (275 x 194 mm.), orig. wrappers flaked with gold (upper wrapper quite rubbed), orig. or early stitching. [Japan]: 18th century
A finely illustrated manuscript on surveying techniques in Japan. Before the 18th century, surveying techniques were kept in manuscript and passed from master to apprentice. The students "submitted a pledge in their own blood that they would not disclose their knowledge to anyone. This was to protect the members of the trade at a time when patents were unknown. The custom of secrecy must have originated with the development of the techniques and the organization of its craftsmen and helps to account for the dearth of records on surveying in ancient and medieval Japan."-Kazutaka Unno, "Cartography in Japan" in History of Cartography, Vol. II, p. 359. Our manuscript depicts 45 surveying problems and situations, each requiring different techniques: measuring heights, depths, distances, etc. In the preface, we learn that the methods of surveying all come from Caspar Schamberger (1623-1706), a German surgeon active in the East Indies and Dejima in Nagasaki, where he established an influential Dutch school of surgery. He was highly regarded by the Japanese government and treated a number of high-ranking officials while on a special embassy to Edo. The first leaf provides a brief history of the European influence on Japanese surveying, describing the Shimizu school of mathematics. There are a number of surveying problems depicted, involving what are clearly riparian rights, the establishment of property boundaries for taxation purposes, navigation principles, etc., etc. Several surveying instruments are depicted. First few leaves with some marginal worming at foot, but in nice and fresh condition.
(Inventory #: 5996)
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.