sagabon 嵯峨本
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also called kouetsubon 光悦本 or suminokurabon 角倉本, although some scholars consider each of these names to refer to separate types due to differences in binding and paper. Lit. Saga books. A generic term for a series of Japanese literary classics which were published by Suminokura Soan 角倉素庵 (1571-1632), a wealthy merchant and art connoisseur. The series was published at his printing press in Saga 嵯峨 village near Kyoto. Soan, in collaboration with his friend and mentor, the painter-calligrapher Honnami Kouetsu 本阿弥光悦 (1558-1637), sought to recapture the refined elegance of the Heian period aristocratic culture in these books. Sagabon were geared toward the wealthy merchant class of Kyoto. They were characterized by good quality, tinted paper decorated with various patterns and often printed with mica *kirara 雲母粉, and graceful calligraphy usually printed with movable wooden type , a technique newly imported from Korea. Designs included traditional patterns such as the marujishi 丸獅子 (round lion) and the *hishimon 菱文 (lozenge) pattern as well as innovative designs using butterflies, plum blossoms, deer, etc. Because kana かな letters were used in the text, sagabon are said to be the first Japanese style printed books. The earliest known example is the 1608 publication of ISE MONOGATARI 伊勢物語 (The Tales of Ise), which contains one of the earliest non-Buddhist illustrations. Only SHIN KOKINSHUUSHOU 新古今集抄 is thought to be based on the genuine calligraphy of Kouetsu, one of the greatest calligraphers of the day. Other classics published as sagabon include HOUJOUKI 方丈記, TSUREZUREGUSA 徒然草, *NIJUUSHIKOU 二十四孝, as well as the *nou 能 songbooks of the Kanze 観世 school. Publications of sagabon continued up to the 1620's. In all, 13 publications are called sagabon, although some scholars recognize another 20 varieties and 100 extant volumes. There are fewer illustrated books. Among the principal 13 examples, three (SHIN KOKIN WAKASHUU 新古今和歌集, SANJUUROKKASEN 三十六歌仙 and NIJUUSHIKOU ) were produced by woodblock print, and the remaining ten were produced by movable wooden type. The waka 和歌 scrolls of Kouetsu's calligraphy with gold and silver underpaintings by Tawaraya Soutatsu 俵屋宗達 (?-1643) are also sometimes considered to be a luxurious Saga edition.


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