Anonymous(17th Century) Bunsho soshi (The Tale of Bunsho)
Lot 8383
Anonymous (17th Century) Bunsho soshi (The Tale of Bunsho)
Sold for US$ 3,600 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Anonymous (17th Century)
Bunsho soshi (The Tale of Bunsho)
Detchoso, 3 vols., possibly incomplete manuscript, ink, color, and gold on paper, in gold-flecked kumogami paper wrappers, title slip with title as above, sewn, re-bound as one volume with modern brocade cover and matching folio (worming to middle volume, slight soiling, staining and some scattered losses to gilt and pigments).

Vol. I, 12 leaves unnumbered, text, 10 columns per page, with 5 single-page illustrations; Vol. II, 17 leaves unnumbered, text, 10 columns per page, with 5 single-page illustrations, Vol. 3, 16 leaves unnumbered, text, 10 columns per page, with 4 single-page illustrations.
9 x 6 3/4in (22.8 x 17.1cm)

Footnotes

  • The three volumes of the Bunsho soshi are characteristic of the illustrated books, known as Nara ehon, produced in the early seventeenth century. The story was a popular rags-to-riches tale in which an ordinary laborer, Bunsho, gains both personal happiness and economic success through devotion to a Shinto deity. The book recounts Bunsho's rising fortunes as a saltmaker and the birth of two beautiful daughters to Bunsho and his wife; these good outcomes are, we are told, the results of Bunsho's earnest supplications to the god of the Kajima Shrine, located northeast of Tokyo. As the daughters grow, they are courted by noblemen; the younger daughter eventually becomes consort to the Emperor and gives birth to an Imperial prince. The proud grandfather, Bunsho, is himself granted high court rank, crowning a life of extreme good fortune.

    Miyeko Murase writes that the Bunsho story became especially popular in the early Edo period, when many illustrated versions were produced as gifts for weddings and New Year celebrations. Miyeko Murase, Tales of Japan. Scrolls and Prints from the New York Public Library (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 116-117 and color plate IX.
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