Ōsaka: Aoki Tsunesaburō, 1880-1890 (ca.). COMPLETE SET of four parts in two volumes, 8vo (221 x 154 mm). Vol. I: 3, 22 ff. [recte: 18, deliberately mis-paginated by the publisher]; Vol. II: 11, 9 ff. [plus fol. "23" from Vol. I]. Three parts (first series (in one part) and second series (in two parts)) in two four-hole-bound (yotsumetoji) volumes, complete, on double leaves, traditional East Asian binding style (fukurotoji). Original wrappers lightly soiled and scraped. Small chips to original mounted daisen title panels. First volume lacks blank upper pastedown. Very light internal thumbing and occasional marks. The title on the daisen reads Tsukurimono shukō
no tane: shiki. Item #4082
THIS STRANGE AND WONDERFUL JAPANESE FOLK ART SEEMS TO HAVE NO EQUIVALENT IN WESTERN THEATER.
Now virtually forgotten, "Tsukurimono" (literally "fabricated things") are amusing Japanese stage props made with everyday objects, ingeniously transformed into theatrical props of anything that can be imagined: monsters, wild animals, nobility, giant insects, horses, elephants, spiders, raptors, tea carts, infirm beggars, mountains, platforms, wells, trees, and much more. Almost any material was repurposed and utilized in the manufacture of Tsukurimono: metal, bamboo, vegetables, ceramics, flowers, dried foods, cleaning supplies, garden and household tools, fabric, kitchen utensils, coins, and much more. From the Edo period onwards, Tsukurimono formed an important component of the stage at festivals, spectacles, exhibitions, and social gatherings, in rural and urban settings alike.
First published in 1837, this is a later (Meiji) printing of Matsukawa Hanzan's justly famous album of Tsukurimono, which is absolutely delightful and is a joy to behold. Each illustration is captioned with a title and a list of the items used. Some illustrations feature the name of the object's creator and a note about the item itself; others are accompanied by a short poem. One such prop is made from agricultural tools, another from items typically found in a liquor store, another from tea ceremony utensils, and much more. The work includes a practical section entitled "Tsukurimono tomeyō no den" which describes the process of making the objects, with a particular emphasis on adhering materials together.
MUST BE SEEN TO BE FULLY APPRECIATED.
See Tsuji Nobuo, Ornament (Kazari): An Approach to Japanese Culture (1994) and his History of Art in Japan (2018).