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!
We're extremely pleased to announce that Travis Low of Ken Sanders Rare Books has won this year's Tavistock Books Scholarship to Rare Book School (RBS). Travis will take Joel Silver's course, Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books, at RBS in Charlottesville, Virginia.
For three days in May (22nd to 24th) the airy halls of Olympia will once again play host to the London International Antiquarian Book Fair. Now in its 57th year, the Fair is presented and managed by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA), in collaboration with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). The highlight of the year for book lovers and collectors, this major event brings together over 180 leading dealers from across the globe, offering thousands of rare, unusual and unique items. From the seasoned first-edition fanatic to the novice visitor there's something for everyone here.
A global "ILAB School" without borders: The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers offers internships to students and beginners in the rare book trade who wish to widen their knowledge through practical learning and to plug into the worldwide network of antiquarian bookselling. All ILAB booksellers are very welcome to join the ILAB Internship Program and to provide young students an opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the international rare book business at any time and in any place in the world. Applicants are carefully chosen after they have contacted ILAB President Norbert Donhofer, who has initiated the Internship Program in 2009 together with Eric Waschke (Canada) and Professor Dr. Olga Tarakanowa (Moscow State University of the Printing Arts).
This Saturday, April 23rd, is a special day for ILAB. It is World Book and Copyright Day and for the second year ILAB is proud to work with UNESCO to promote books, reading and literacy across the world. Again this year we have many events taking place - Pop Up Book Fairs, appraisals, a book launch, talks, a marathon reading session, a cocktail party and a high-flying reception in a Giant Ferris Wheel. There is so much going on that I won't list the details here but I invite you to visit the ILAB website and the ILAB Pop Up Blog where you can see exactly what is happening and where.