OVERMEER FISSCHER, Johannes Gerhard Frederik van (1800-1848)
Bijdrage tot de kennis van het Japansche rijk.
Amsterdam : J. Müller & Comp., 1833. First and only contemporary edition. Large quarto, original pictorial stiff wrappers (very light foxing, spine rubbed), all edges gilt, hand-coloured lithographic frontispiece, pp. vii, (3), 320, with a further 14 hand-coloured lithographic plates, all with tissue guards intact; scattered mild foxing; a very good copy, housed in a custom velvet-lined red cloth clam shell box with gilt lettered morocco title label.
An important and lavish Dutch publication on Japanese culture and society, produced in the heyday of Dutch-Japanese trade relations.
The plates in this beautiful publication, whose title translates to ‘A contribution to the knowledge of the Japanese empire’, show a wide variety of costumes, trades and occupations (including a fully armed warrior), the Japanese creation myth with the first two Japanese men, a map of Japan superimposed over a view of Mount Fuji, a Buddist temple, a tea ceremony, men cutting woodblocks for printing (one man wearing glasses, betraying the influence of Western culture), an “alphabet” (syllabary) of Katakana calligraphy, a female artist at work, and musicians and other performers.
The author, Johannes Gerhard Frederik van Overmeer Fisscher (1800-1848), was a Dutch civil servant who worked as the secretary and director of the warehouses at Deshima at Nagasaki for nine years (1820-29). In this work he includes thorough descriptions of his voyage from Batavia to Japan, a description of the Dutch ‘factorij’ and his journey to the seat of power in Edo (Tokyo) in 1822.
Landwehr, Coloured plates, 385; Cordier, Japonica, 489-90