Page:Japanese Wood Engravings.djvu/57

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JAPANESE WOOD ENGRAVINGS

various objects of curiosity or archæological importance preserved in the neighbourhood, contributes scientific notes upon the flora and fauna of the district, and opens a fund of practical information as to industries, commerce, and a hundred other matters of interest both to resident and visitor. Each of the great cities and of the chief provinces had its handbook carefully edited and illustrated by the leading popular artists of the day. To Yedo (now Tokyo) and its environs were dedicated twenty substantial volumes; Kyoto had eleven volumes, exclusive of a large work devoted to its gardens; the Tokaido, the high road between Yedo and Kyoto, six volumes; the temple of Itsukushima and its vicinity filled ten volumes; and the list might be extended up to two hundred volumes or more. The first of the series was the Miako (Kyoto) Meisho dzu-yé (1787), illustrated by Takéhara Shunchōsai, who also supplied drawings for the handbooks for Yamato (1791), Idzumi (1793) and Settsu (1798).

Miwa Tokei, Hayami Shunkiōsai, Nishimura Chiuwa, Hokkio Nishikuni, and some others contributed to the work in the first two decades of the present century, but the void left by the death of Shunchōsai was not filled until 1837, when the publication of the Yédo Meisho dzu-yé introduced striking representations of the scenery of the capital of the Shogun, from the pencil of Haségawa Settan. A description of the holiday resorts of the city, forming suite with the last, was issued in 1838, and a smaller book of a similar kind in 1839. Many other popular artists soon appeared in the field, and some guide-books, like the Nikko-zan Shi, included designs by several contributors. The latest of the more important "Meishos" were the Tonégawa dzu shi (1856), illustrated by various artists, and the Kwaraku Meisho dzu-yé (1859), with pictures by Hanzan Yasunobu.

As previously noted, the handbooks embellished by Shunchosai were not the first publications descriptive of well-known places. Views of Yedo appeared before the end of the seventeenth century. The Kwaraku Saiken dzu, published in 1703, contained good drawings of buildings and landscapes, and followed the Kusa-zoshi in placing the text upon the same page with the illustration (but in this case writing and sketch were separated by cloud-like outlines), the Togoku Meisho Shi, a description of noted places in Eastern Japan, illustrated by Tsukioka Tangé, was printed in 1762, and a number of orihon volumes with hand-coloured