Early Japanese Work on Astronomy
初學天文指南鈔. Shogaku tenmon shinanshō [Introduction to the Study of Astronomy].
Osaka: Narui Mohe, 1706.
1st Edition. Soft cover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003597
5 Volumes. Ōsaka: Narui Mohē, Hōei 3 (= 1706). (260 x 185 mm). With 44 (18 full-page) woodcuts. Caption title. Within single border, text in 12 vertical lines. Xylographically printed and stack-folded double leaves in Japanese stitched bindings. Blue original wrappers with xylographic title label, protected in chemise with toggle catches (some closed wormholes, stitching renewed, little soiled and rubbed). Internally little browned and spotted, few waterstains, wormholes occasionally affecting letters of text. Provenance: Red ownership seal on first leaf recto of each volume. ----
Kraft V, 497; Smith-Mikami 166 with illustr. no. 34. VERY RARE FIRST EDITION, AND ONE OF THE EARLIEST WORKS ON ASTRONOMY PRINTED IN JAPAN. "A well-known work on astronomy, that exerted no little influence at this period" (Smith-Mikami). Towards the end of the 17th century, astronomical works by the Jesuits and their Chinese students came to Japan from China. At that time, the local interest in astronomy was increased by the import of modern astronomical instruments from the Netherlands. Baba (d. 1715) had no knowledge of the heliocentric worldview; his work is strongly influenced by You Yi's Tianjing huowen, published in China around 1675, and by neo-Confucianism. The illustrations mainly show constellations and astronomical instruments, a map of the world is particularly noteworthy, a simplified copy based on the second edition of Matteo Ricci's map published in Nanking in 1600, of which no copy has survived. In 1720, the eighth Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, rescinded a prohibition on Chinese books containing European science that had been in force in Japan since 1630. Thereafter, the ban pertained only to books concerning Christianity or written by Christians. - Visit our website to see more images!
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