"Shim-bi Tai-Kwan"

Descriptive Tissue Guards

Selected Relics of Japanese Art, 20 Volume Set
Photographs and Collotypes by K. Ogawa
Published by Shimbi Shoin
(Nippon Shimbi Kyokwai), 1899~1908


Each plate (or group of plates when they share a common characteristic) is preceded by a protective descriptive tissue guard. The paper is single (unfolded) and the same very thin paper that is used on the collotypes which are folded and have a stiffener in the middle. The descriptions on the tissue guard a key feature of the work. They are detailed and very informative. The Japanese description is on the top and below that the English version.

There are a total of 755+ pages of these descriptive tissue guards which accompany the 980+ plates in the 20 volume set. Generally, they take one page (Japanese and English text) but occasionally the description is so extensive that they require a separate page for each description.

The descriptions generally contain:

  • A Descriptive Title.

  • Type of Art. Such as a Folding Screen, a Picture Roll, a Kakemono, a Statute, etc.

  • Artist (if know or believed to be known).

  • Physical Size of Art Object. State in feet and inches.

  • Color and Media Used (silk, paper etc).

  • Owner/Location of Object. Generally from Temples but many were from private collections.

  • General Information. Regarding the Artist and the Work. The information developed includes biographical information regarding the artist, the subject of the work, and how this work relates to similar works by the artist. This section contains a critical analysis of the artist's technique and his body of work. Obviously, the objects were selected because the editor considered them noteworthy and description highlights why the art falls in that category.
Kakemono. A Japanese paper or silk wall hanging, usually long and narrow, with a picture or inscription on it and a roller at the bottom.

To return to the prior page use the back button on your browser or this index:

Index for Selected Relics of Japanese Art, 20 Volume Set
Page #1
Volumes 1-6

Page #2
Volumes 7-13

Page #3
Volumes 14-20

Covers Cases Statistics Woodblocks Descriptions

Available, Purchase Here

Shiiji Tajima (Editor)
Ogawa, K:
Selected Relics of Japanese Art, (20 Volume Set) Nippon Shimbi Kyokwai - Zenkyoan, Kenninji, Shimokyoku - (The Shimbi Shoin), Kyoto/Tokyo, 1899~1908, folio (19 x 13 in - 49 x 34 cm), 20 volumes, double folded leaves (collotypes), bound Japanese style, decorated stiff paper wraps, purple silk threads, two edges gilt (top & bottom), 987 plates (899 black and white collotypes (8 foldout) and 88 color woodcuts), approximately 1782+ pages in total. There is a two page English introduction by Ernest F. Fenollosa in Volume 1. The non-foldout collotype plates are on thin wove rice type paper which is folded over a sheet of thicker backing paper. The foldout collotype plates are on thick paper. Woodcut plates are on thick paper. Each plate (or unit of plates when similar plates were grouped together by the editor) is protected by a tissue guard with text in English and Japanese which describes the art and artist and the source/location of the relic. The art in the first 6 volumes was photographed and collotyped by K. Ogawa (279 plates). Volumes 1-19 were printed at the Tokyo Tsukiji Type Foundry. Each paper wraps volume came with a protective mat finish folding slipcase (grass or grass like covering) with ivory clasps.

The series presents reproductions of Japanese art relics from the earliest times up to the end of the Tokugawa Era from collections in Buddhist Temples in Nara and Kyoto and held in private hands. The entire series was published over the 10 year period from 1898~1908. According to the Wenckstern bibliography of the Japanese Empire (Volume II), the entire set of 20 volumes was anticipated to sell for Y390 in the regular edition format. An edition with silk covers was said to be sold for Y490. This was a very expensive set, even when newly issued. According to my calculations the set would have cost the equivalent of $3,402 in 2004 dollars. To see how I came up with this rather remarkable figure, click here. Wenckstern also contains a comprehensive index (15 pages) of the first 10 volumes of the set.


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