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We have already looked in some detail at the five main types of binding, so here I would like to say a few words about some of the more unusual ones. Let us start with this book. As you can see, it has a cover but no spine or bound area. What you do is open it up like this. Although it is too big to open it completely, it is a map of Kyoto. This format was used for oversized items, such as extra-large maps or board games, and it is known as tatamimono (fold-up books). Usually, the cover was applied to the outermost layer of the folded-up sheet to make it more resistant and durable. Take a look at this book.
You can see thread here, so at first sight it looks like a fukurotoji book, but where you would expect to see a crease there is none. And neither there is one on this side. In this kind of books the leaves were simply stacked and sewn together without folding them. It is perhaps the simplest method imaginable but actually it is quite rare. Despite the unusual binding, this is a sturdily-made book and it was in this format from the start. On careful inspection, the number of extant specimens is not so small, so the method must have enjoyed some degree of popularity. Next, let us consider two unusual ways of applying the cover to a book. First, look at this book.
You can see a cord is visible near the binding. If we turn the book, this is what the back looks like. Two holes are made on each of the two covers and a cord is passed through them which is then tied in an ornamental knot on the front cover. This is called musubitoji (knot binding). It was previously known as Yamato-toji (Yamato binding) but as this may lead to confusion with tetsuyōsō binding (which is also sometimes called Yamato binding due to its popularity in Japan), the term musubitoji is used instead.
This book here is bound as a fukurotoji, but older books tend to have the crease on this side, like tetsuyōsō books, so the name musubitoji describes the outer cover, not the binding as such. Another case is what you see here. This particular book was in fact made in China, but the cover was added in Japan. What’s distinctive about it is that usually bound books have two covers, a front one and a back one, but in this case a single piece of material is wrapped around three sides of the book serving as front cover, spine, and back cover, It is especially noteworthy because it can be seen in relatively early, Muromachi to early Edo-period, books.




Kyō ōezu 図1. 京大絵図
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Genji kokagami 図2. 源氏小鏡
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Baien kishō 図3. 梅園奇賞
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Embun hyakushū 図4. 延文百首〔室町末〕写
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古書から読み解く日本の文化: 和本の世界

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