Rare Japanese book on display at Cantor Arts Center

March 2, 2017
Joshua Capitanio
Sakikusa kō 福草考 (1850)

A Japanese book from the East Asia Library's collection of rare books is currently on display at the Cantor Arts Center as part of the exhibit entitled "A Mushroom Perspective on Sacred Geography," curated by Phoenix Yu-chuan Chen, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Art History.

The exhibit, which was funded by the Mellon Curatorial Research Assistantship, showcases a variety of materials - paintings, sculpture, and print objects - that highlight the interconnections between humans, natural organisms, and sacred geography, a topic that Mr. Chen will explore in his dissertation research.  It includes the rare 19th-century Japanese book Sakikusa kō 福草考, which contains intricate color paintings of the "sacred mushroom" reishi 靈芝 (Ganoderma).  Japanese studies librarian Dr. Regan Murphy Kao worked with Mr. Chen to locate the book and other related materials, and David Brock and Sarah Newton of the Stanford University Libraries Preservation Department helped to repair the book's sewing and create a custom cradle for display.

Sakikusa kō 福草考 (1850) in custom cradle

"A Mushroom Perspective on Sacred Geography" is showing at the Cantor Arts Center until May 15, 2017.