Surimono, meaning "printed thing," are a subsection of traditional Japanese woodblock prints. They were printed on commission in small numbers and generally not sold by art publishers, unlike their more commercialized companions, ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Known as far back as the early 18th century, surimono rapidly rose in popularity in the 19th century. They were printed on high-quality paper, called hôsho-gami, using the finest printing techniques. Prior to 1810, these sheets could be quite large and folded so that the illustration accompanying the text faced outward. Later into the 19th century, however, sizing of surimono became more standardized and most were printed on small, nearly square sheets called shikishiban.
I normally don't. But this time I couldn't help myself and paid almost two hundred fifty US dollars (€ 175,- euro) for three books in Kanji (logographic Chinese characters used in Japanese language) printed on very thin paper and traditionally bound in yellow embossed paper wrappers. Why?
For many years L.D. Mitchell's blog The Private Library showed collectors that it is possible to build a collection without the benefit of much money. He published numerous articles on every imaginable subject of book collecting, he wrote about the most beautiful, the most important, the most common, the most attractive, the most unusual, the most interesting, the most extraordinary, the most amazing ... books one could read, buy, collect and simply enjoy. The Private Library has become an irreplaceable resource for all booklovers. Since April 2012, it is a static archive. L. D. Mitchell will no longer post new original content. ILAB is very grateful that he has given permission to publish some of his best articles and collecting tips from The Private Library on the ILAB website. Thank you very much, L.D.
What is generally acknowledged as the world's first novel was written by a Japanese woman a thousand years ago. The Tale of Genji, by Murakasi Shikibu (known as Lady Murakasi in the West), is regarded to be an accurate description of life in the imperial court in the Heian era (794 - 1185 CE). The daughter of a scholar and an officer of the court, she was given a male's education. Being a lady-in-waiting herself, she was privy to life at court.
Rare book dealer and photography specialist Harper Levine travels through Japan with photographer John Gossage where Harper was welcomed at the airport as the "best book dealer (also best blogger) from East Hampton". Part 2 of Harper Levine's report, featuring the Tokyo booksellers and a sushi bar.
Rare book dealer and photography specialist Harper Levine travels through Japan with photographer John Gossage where Harper was welcomed at the airport as the "best book dealer (also best blogger) from East Hampton". Bibliophiles may follow his book scouting traces in Tokyo reading his fabulous blog.
"For many people in the west mention of Japanese woodblock prints brings to mind the beautiful single sheet colour examples by artists such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and the many other artists of extraordinary skill working during the 18th and 19th centuries. Immense pleasure can also be gained from looking a little further and discovering the plethora of games, decorative papers, books, calendars, lists, news-sheets, maps, advertising, and ephemeral material of every kind that was published using woodblock printing methods during the Edo and Meiji periods." Sally Burdon's collecting tip is one of the highlights of BookFare 2, the recently published newsletter of the Australian & New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB). Read the article and subscribe to further issues!
Over 160 antiquarian booksellers as well as private presses, bookbinders and other affiliated trade exhibited last week from the 9th to the 11th June 2011 at the world's oldest antiquarian book fair, the London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia. Over 3,000 book collectors and bibliophiles, book dealers and enthusiasts attended the fair, which is organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and supported by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). Robert Frew, Chairman of the fair: "We are very happy with the results of the 2011 fair with good sales across the range. During the fair I have spoken to a lot of exhibitors. Dealers feel confident about the future, book collecting in general as well as well organised book fairs."
I focus not on a reference book but on a single entry today — still, it's large enough to be published as a substantial book in its own right. This is George Harvey's entry on meteorology for the Encyclopedia Metropolitana — what Tom McArthur calls "the grand but ill-fated Encyclopaedia Metropolitana." Samuel Taylor Coleridge was involved in the planning, though he backed out as soon as it began appearing in 1818, as did most of the others who started it. A total of thirty quarto volumes, stretching to more than 22,000 pages and 565 plates, appeared over the next twenty-eight years.
"Und die Moral von der Geschicht, In Zweifelsfällen kaufe nicht!" - Karl Geigy-Hagenbach about fakes and forgers in autograph collecting. His own legendary autograph collection is documented in "Autographensammlung von Karl Geigy-Hagenbach in Basel" (addenda 1933 and 1939). For J. A. Stargardt's "Der Autographen-Sammler" Geigy-Hagenbach wrote a series of articles about his passion from 1936 to 1938.
David A. Williamson began collecting Stephen King novels and memorabilia in the 1980s and has amassed a collection that ranks as one of the largest in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children. He has generously shared his collecting experience and expertise with Books Tell You Why in the following interview.
The Swedish Antiquarian Booksellers Association (SVAF) has now announced the dates for the 2017 Stockholm Antiquarian Book Fair. The fair will take place from the 4th to the 5th of March at Stockholm’s beautiful Royal Academy of Arts.
Right there, where words were formed to Dada performances celebrating literacy in its very literal and sometimes highly absurd sense a hundred years ago, the Swiss booksellers will hold an ILAB Pop Up Book Fair on UNESCO World and Copyright Day to celebrate literacy once again with (maybe) more Dada performances, (certainly) a great show of rare books and (definitely) a gorgeous fundraising to help UNESCO's Forest Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) fill the empty book-shelves in the schools of South Sudan.