Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Greater Japan), 1877
Products of Greater Japan, 1877
Dai Nippon Bussan Zue 大日本物産図会 (だいにっぽんぶっさんずえ)
The Series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue 大日本物産図会 (Products of Greater Japan, 1877)
Example of uncut ōban-size sheet
Most Prints Bound Into Books
Example of a volume in which each print lays flat
Cover of one of two volumes of Dai Nippon Bussan Zue, each containing 42 prints
Two pages from the above binding (Waseda University Library Archives)
Example of a volume in which each print is folded
In this bound set of 30 prints, each print is folded in half
Covers for volumes 1 and 2, each containing 30 prints folded in half
Signatures and Cartouches on the Prints
Most of the prints in the top half of the uncut ōban size sheet are signed "Hiroshige hitsu" in the bottom of its right margin and most of the bottom prints carry a cartouche in the left margin that gives Hiroshige III's address and his family name, Andō Tokubei, and the publisher's address and name, Ōkura Magobei, in a cartouche in the right margin, as shown below.
Borrowing of Scenes
Source: Picturing Westernization and Modernization: A Woodblock Print Collection from Late 19th Century Japan, Izumi Koide, June 16, 2006, a paper delivered at the WORLD LIBRARY AND INFORMATION CONGRESS: 72ND IFLA GENERAL CONFERENCE AND COUNCIL 20-24 August 2006, Seoul, Korea http://archive.ifla.org/IV/ifla72/papers/085-Koide-en.pdf
These pictures show industrial scenes such as harvesting natural resources, processing crafts, shipping products, etc. in certain regions, and hence depicting local industry. In the history of Japanese drawings particularly for practical use, there were various genres of pictures: meisho-e described famous places such as temples, sight-seeing spots, etc.; shokunin-e depicted various professionals and how to make things; bussan-e were like pictorial encyclopedia for products; and hakubutsu-e were of things. The Dai Nippon Bussan Zue is a combination of these genres of picture. By presenting images of most regions in Japan systematically with respective local industries, products, and working people, it suggested the variety as well as commonality of the developing nation.
The pictures are of all regions of Japan (see Former Provinces of Japan) and it is unlikely that the artist traveled to each place. Some pictures of the series are “borrowed” from other pictures, a practice known as shakuyō. Some pictures were taken from Nihon Sankai Meisan Zue (Famous Sea and Land Products in Japan, first published in 1799), and others were from Kii Meisho Zue (Famous Places in the Kii Region) of the mid 19th century. There might exist other “originals” upon which pictures in the Dai Nippon Bussan Zue were based, as there were many other regional “famous places series.”
click on image to enlarge
Despite the borrowing of scenes from older originals, local industries had not changed much for decades when these prints were issued in the early Meiji period in comparison to the immense change in the political system. The pictures in Dai Nippon Bussan Zue gave people images of local industrial scenes, even if conventional or imaginary, in the age of “national industrial expositions.”
The series was extremely popular and was reprinted many times by the publisher Ōkura Magobei, whose shop in Nihonbashi (shown left) was nearby the site of the First National Industrial Exhibition in Ueno Park. While there is no record of prints being sold at the exhibition site, I believe, even if not actually sold at the site, they were advertised at the Exhibition.
Producing Soy Sauce in Shimosa Province - Three Variations
The 1877 First National Industrial Exhibition
The Complete Set of 118 Prints