Books and Manuscripts from the Japan Society Library
Online Auction: 28 October–4 November 2022 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

Books and Manuscripts from the Japan Society Library 28 October–4 November 2022 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

S otheby’s presents Books and Manuscripts from the Japan Society Library this October 28 – November 4. The sale opens with a group of books authored or presented to the Japan Society Library by its founder Arthur Diósy, and is followed by books published in the West on the subject of Japan, from early works like Arnoldus Montanus, Atlas Japannensis, to later such as a group of books and pamphlets on Meiji art, metalwork and the Japan-British exhibition London 1910, including Tadamasa Hayashi’s Twelve Bronze Falcons Exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. The sale proceeds with a collection of photography albums by Felice Beato and Usui Shuzaburo among others, concluding with woodblock printed books on various subjects, with an example of A Miscellany on the Red-Hairs, documenting the tradition, dress and customs of the Dutch, illustrated by Shiba Kokan and Kitao Masayoshi.

Auction Highlights

The Japan Society Library: An Important  Record of Bilateral Anglo-Japanese History

The Japan Society London was founded on the 9th September 1891 during the International Congress of Orientalists by Sir Arthur Diósy and for more than 130 years has been a leading institution for UK-Japanese relations.

A caricature of Arthur Diosy, the founder of the Japan Society of London

The Japan Society Library collection is a legacy of its founders, established with donations by Arthur Diósy and Ernest Mason Satow, key English diplomat in Japan during the Meiji Restoration, among others. It comprises an extensive collection of books, important documents, and rare photographs on the history and development of the bilateral ties between Britain and Japan. The books, documents, and photographs included in the library cover all aspects of Japanese life, culture, literature, history, science, aesthetics, and sensibility. The library also includes a collection of illustrated woodblock-printed books on a variety of topics such as Akisato Rito’s Famous Sights of the Old Capital, among popular illustrated travel guides of the Edo period. Arnoldus Montanus’ Atlas Jappanensis, an example of an early European book published on Japan, sits alongside rare sets of Kokka and Japan Weekly Mail. Photographic works include albums of albumen prints on Japanese subjects by photographers such as Felice Beato, one of the very first European photographers to capture life in East Asia, Hugues Krafft and Tamamura Kosaburo.

A Fascination with the Far East: European Books and Manuscripts on Japan

Ehon, Illustrated Woodblock-printed Books

Early Photography in Japan

Voyages, Maps and Travel Guides

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