I love the horse in history and art. A couple of decades back, I published a reproduction and analysis of the first book on horse anatomy ever printed in English, Andrew Snape’s, “The Anatomy of An Horse” (you can still find copies). For many years, I’ve wanted to do a similar project, but this time about the history of the horse and horse medicine in Asia.
Over the years, I obtained a large number of handwritten manuscripts from China (most are now the property of the German State Library, in Berlin). I used that information to learn about what was done to and for horses in China (and to show that so much of what people have been told is, quite simply, wrong). More recently, I’ve obtained a very rare manuscript on horse medicine from Japan.
Now, I wonder what it says.
I’m interested in how horses were treated in Japan centuries ago, not because I think that there are some hidden treasures of horse medicine that we can use today, but because the thoughts and practices of historical societies give a lot of lessons for how things are today. For example, I’m pretty confident that the people who wrote these manuscripts were sincere, and that they were trying to help horses get better from whatever condition they thought they might have. What did they do? Why did they think the horses got better? Could the fact that horses got better then, using treatments that may not have had any effect at all have any implications for things that are being done today? I find such quesions fascinating.
I wonder if you might find such a thing interesting, as well. The book would not just be about horse medicine, it would also be about history. It would be art, too – you can see for yourself, from some of the scans. I’d love to turn this into a coffee table book, to help shine some light on some little-known practices from a fascinating part of the world.
However, doing such a book is not going to be cheap. To get a translation done on ancient Japanese is going to take a good bit of time. Fortunately, I have a friend who is a professor of Japanese history who is up to the task. I want the book to be a treasure, which means I want it to be a work of art itself. Fortunately, I have a friend that specializes in the production of such books. Still, unless I hit the lottery, it’s not something that I’m going to be able to do myself.
But would you be interested? I’ve created a survey to see. I’d appreciate you filling it out and providing me with your contact information if you are interested (I would only use it to create a list of people who intended to buy a book – it wouldn’t be for any other use and I would have full control). I’d appreciate you sharing this message with your friends, to see if they’d be interested, too. This isn’t intended to be a money-maker, but I figure that it will cost about $50,000.00 to get the book translated, photographed, and made. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but 500 people at $100 per book? 1000 people at $50 per book? Seems doable to me (even though I have always been a bit of a dreamer).
Let me know what you think and if you have any questions. The link to the survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WM2VXKF