Details
From the Collection of James E. Fagan (1926-2011)

Otsuki Gentaku (text by), Edo period (circa 1850)
Kankai Ibun [Records of a Voyage Around the World]
Hand-written manuscript on paper with ink and colour illustrations, complete in 15 sections bound in 10 volumes, covers with titles in ink followed by the section numbers
26.5 x 19.1cm. (each volume)

Provenance
James E. Fagan (1926-2011) was an American collector with a special interest in the introduction of Western culture and technology to Japan’s closed Edo-era society (1603-1868), also known as the Tokugawa period. Mr Fagan studied Japanese language and history at Stanford University, and served as a US Naval officer in the Pacific theatre. He then lived and worked in Japan as an attorney in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

During this time, Fagan assembled and researched his collection of rare Edo-era woodblock and manuscript maps, prints and books not available outside Japan. Highlights include Nagasaki-e (showing the Japanese fascination with the Dutch East Indies (VOC) outpost at Deshima island), early Rangaku examinations of Western science and languages, the evolution of Japanese cartographic knowledge, and the study of English and Russian military might and technology. Imaginative illustrations and maps, from Japanese castaways reporting back to the Japanese Court, also provide a glimpse of how the Western world appeared to the first Japanese to circumnavigate the globe.

The collection demonstrates Japan’s keen curiosity about the Western world during its long isolationist period, and the artful way the Japanese perspective captures the impact of European contact.
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