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Here I will talk about the origins of book-type illustrated books. As I said earlier, throughout pre-modern times the custom in Japan was to include illustrations only in scrolls. However, that started to change in the second half of the 16th century when we see the appearance of the first illustrated books. What caused the change is not entirely clear. If we take a look at these books, these are pictures that were taken out of one such book, you can see the binding holes here, which tell us that they came from a fukurotoji book. The size is more or less the same as that of a large scroll.
Next to appear were this kind of wide-page illustrated books which are about half the size of the larger illustrated fukurotoji books. As this line of thread here shows, these were also bound using the fukurotoji method. You can see that they contain illustrations. They are about the same size of the smaller koemaki (small scrolls) that we discussed earlier. So just like picture scrolls, book-type illustrated books also come in a large size and in a smaller one about half the size of the larger type. But why was fukurotoji binding, of all the available binding methods, preferred for illustrated books?
The thing to remember is that just as in scrolls only the inner side of the paper is used, so in fukurotoji books the leaves are first folded in two, and only the outer side is written on. So what scrolls and fukurotoji books have in common is that only one side of the paper is used. Similarly, if you have enough paper to make one of the smaller koemaki, you can also make one of the smaller fukurotoji. It is conceivable that this is how the first book-type illustrated were created. Having moved their first steps in the Muromachi period, book-type illustrated books reached the peak of their popularity in the Edo period (17th century onwards) when they were produced in huge numbers.
Picture scrolls did not die out but continued to exist alongside them.




慶應義塾大学所蔵の大型の例を確認してみると、まず16世紀のものとして、『扇合物かたり〈花鳥風月〉』(図1)があります。大きさは 27.4×21.7cmとやや小振りのものです。16世紀末から17世紀初め頃のものである、『四十二乃物諍』(図2)は、大きさは31.9×25.0cm とかなり大型です。

illustrated books 図1.『扇合物かたり(花鳥風月)』
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illustrated books 図2.『四十二乃物諍』
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一方横本の例をみると、17世紀初めの『毘沙門の本地』(図3)は、大きさが16.5×24.6cmです。近い時期の『祇王』(図4)は、やや大振りで 18.5×25.6cmもあります。

illustrated books 図3. 『毘沙門の本地』
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illustrated books 図4.『祇王』
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Illustrated Books 図5. 『常盤の姥』
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Illustrated Books 図 6. 『磯崎』
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Books on the table

1. 竹取物語 2. 大型絵入本挿絵断簡二種その一 3. 大型絵入本挿絵断簡二種その二
4. 中しやう姫 5. ふんしやう 6. 花鳥風月
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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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