Koyama, Noboru
Cambridge University Library, retired

The provenance of Saito Gesshin’s Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko at Cambridge University Library

Saito Gesshin’s manuscript of the Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko is very important for studies of ukiyo-e artists, particularly those of the mysterious Sharaku. Ukiyo-e ruiko itself was a complicated manuscript (or rather, a group of manuscripts). There are several versions of Ukiyo-e ruiko and they had been used in manuscript form until 1889, when the first modern typed version was published. Of the manuscript forms, Saito Gesshin’s Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko was the most comprehensive.

Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko had been kept as a personal copy at his home, when Saito Gesshin (1804-1878, a prominent compiler and scholar) died in 1878. In Japan, Ernest Satow (1943-1929) acquired it shortly after Gesshin’s death. Satow was then earnestly collecting a lot of Japanese books, including art materials from the late 1870s to the middle of 1880s, and was particularly active in these efforts in the early 1880s. Satow had a plan to publish a book of Japanese art with William Anderson (1842-1900, a collector and scholar of Japanese art) and he was helping Anderson to collect art works and books at this time.

Satow acquired Zoho uikiyo-e ruiko shortly after it had been available either through art dealers or through a group of book collectors, whom he had become acquainted with through his secretary or librarian. Satow had three copies of Ukiyo-e ruiko including Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko. By studying other copies of Satow’s Uikiyo-e ruiko, as well as other items of his Japanese collection, we can have a better understanding of the circumstances in which Satow was able to acquire Gesshin’s manuscript.

In the middle of 1880s, Satow decided to pursue a diplomatic career. At this point, Satow mostly gave up his Japanese studies, continuing only with his studies of the Jesuit mission press and while he was stationed in Bangkok, he dispersed his large collection of Japanese books to his friends and the British Museum.  Saito Gesshin’s Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko was sent to F.V. Dickins (1838-1915) in London and it was transferred to W.G. Aston (1841-1911) later. When Aston died in 1911, his collection of Japanese books, most of which had derived from Satow’s collection, was purchased by Cambridge University Library, and among these books, there was a certain Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko. However, Saito Gesshin’s Zoho ukiyo-e ruiko had been unknown among scholars of Japanese art until it was reprinted into a Japanese scholarly journal in 1963-64.

ケンブリッジ大学図書館所蔵斎藤月岑の『増補浮世絵類考』の来歴について

斎藤月岑の『増補浮世絵類考』(写本)は、浮世絵師の研究、特に謎の浮世絵師写楽の考証にとって大変重要である。『浮世絵類考』(写本)または『浮世絵類考』という題名でまとめられる写本の一群は大変錯綜している。『浮世絵類考』にはいくつかの系統があり、1889年(明治22年)に最初の活字翻刻本として出版されるまでは、いずれも写本として利用されて来た。その写本の中でも、斎藤月岑の『増補浮世絵類考』は集大成版ということができる。

『増補浮世絵類考』は、斎藤月岑が1878年(明治11年)に死亡するまで手元に保管されていたと思われる。アーネスト・サトウは月岑が亡くなってからあまり間がない時期に日本で『増補浮世絵類考』を入手したと思われる。サトウは1870年代の終わりから1880年代の中期にかけて、特に1880年代の初め頃、熱心に日本語書籍を収集していた。その頃、サトウはウィリアム・アンダーソンと一緒に日本美術の書籍を出版する計画を持っていて、アンダーソンが美術作品や日本美術関係の書籍を収集していた際、いろいろと彼に援助を与えていたと思われる。

『増補浮世絵類考』が売りに出された際、サトウはそれを割と早い時期に美術商または古書同好者などを通じて入手したものと思われる。古書同好者とはサトウが雇った図書係(または秘書)を通じて知り合いになっていたと思われる。サトウは『増補浮世絵類考』以外にも、2点の『浮世絵類考』(写本)を所蔵していた。それらの『浮世絵類考』やサトウの他の収集品などを通じて、我々はサトウがどのような状況で斎藤月岑の『増補浮世絵類考』を手に入れたかということをある程度推測することができる。