Scientific research on an original copy of Cruydt-Boeck

Observing a microscope image of the cloth binding of the original copy

 Cruydt-Boeck is a herbal written by Rembertus Dodonaeus (1517-1585), a Belgian naturalist. An original copy of its second edition in Dutch (1618) was imported to Japan during the Edo period. It is known that Noro Genjo and others wrote the first herbal in Japanese from 1741 to 1750 by order of Tokugawa Yoshimune based on a translation of Cruydt-Boeck. It is also said that Ishii Toko, Yoshida Masayasu and others made a complete translation by order of Matsudaira Sadanobu in 1823.
 Of the several copies of the original said to have been imported, the one in the collection of the Waseda University Library was separated into 7 volumes after being imported and then re-bound as a book. The first of the 7 volumes is being restored by Okamoto Koji, a book restorer. In the process of restoration, it was found that a very sophisticated Western style of bookbinding was used for the original copy and that there is a possibility that it is one of the oldest books made in this style in Japan. Thus, on request from Mr. Okamoto, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo set off to conduct a scientific analysis of the binding materials in cooperation with other institutes in order to obtain information that will enable us to determine the period at which it was made bound. To this day, image scanning analysis by Kato Masato of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques has revealed that paper used for a book published in France in the latter half of the 18th century was used for the inside cover. In addition, attenuated total reflection analysis by Sasaki Yoshiko of the Kyoto Institute of Technology points to a great possibility that domestic hemp was used as binding thread. Furthermore, UV-visible reflection spectroscopy by Yoshida has shown that the cloth binding, which is thought to be Jouy print, was dyed with indigo. Since the original copy is severely damaged, extreme care is taken to research the various materials. For this reason, it will require much more time before we can obtain the above-mentioned results. We hope to continue work so as to clarify the history of this original copy little by little by selecting analytical methods most appropriate for each material.

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