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In this video I will talk about the appearance of illustrated tetsuyōsō books. As I mentioned earlier, the first illustrated books to appear were in fukurotoji binding. Their popularity paved the way for tetsuyōsō-style illustrated books, which first emerged around the mid-17th century. As for why fukurotoji books were the first to appear, the likely reason is that they are the closest in terms of structure to scrolls. The images were added as you see, with the text continuing on the rear of the picture. In most cases, however, the images were painted on separate sheets and then pasted on pages deliberately left blank for the purpose. This method would later become standard for all types of binding, not just fukurotoji books.
Another genre of books to consider in relation to the appearance of illustrated multi-section books are these books which I have showed you when we talked about the placement of the title. The cover designs and style of inscription of some of them closely resemble those of illustrated tetsuyōsō and they appeared more or less at the same time, but they do not contain pictures, only text. These lavishly-made books were made for the daughters of wealthy families, such as those of provincial lords, for them to take with them when they moved to their new home when they married. That’s why specialists call them yomeiri-bon or trousseau books.
Though we do not know for sure, it is very likely that these illustrated tetsuyōsō books were made for the same purpose, as part of a bride’s dowry. As for the reason for choosing the tetsuyōsō binding over fukurotoji binding in these books, I have already mentioned that there was a hierarchy of book formats, in which tetsuyōsō books occupied a higher place than fukurotoji books; so it makes sense that for something so special as a wedding gift, the more prestigious format would be chosen.



この絵入綴葉装は四半本が大半で、六半本は見かけることがありません。この2つの例、『文殊姫』(図1)と『たなばた』(図2)は、前者が 17.9×23.8cm、後者が 18.1×24.2cmと、綴葉装としては通常の大きさです。

Monjuhime 図1. 文殊姫
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Tanabata 図2. たなばた(雨わかみこ)
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Genji monogatari 図3. 源氏物語
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Books on the table

1. 中しやう姫 2. ふんしやう 3. 源氏物語・花散里 4. 敦忠集
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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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