ORIGINAL TITLE Title: 律令秘鑑 (Secret Mirror of Administration, Part 2
PRONUNCIATION: 律令秘鑑 (Secret Mirror of Administration, Part 2
MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 6 3/4 X 9 1/2 inches (closed)
COMPONENTS: 118 pages,
ITEM ID: 1813
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Law Manuscript with Tattoos

DATE
Year: 1783
Decade: 1780s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)
Notes: Tenmei 3

Edo Law Manuscript, including examples of tattoos given to criminals showing their crimes.

According to scholar Avery Morrow, “The title is “律令秘鑑” but I cannot find any mention of it online. The title in English is ‘Secret Mirror of Administration, Part 2.’ It is part 2/2 (this is written in a far more oblique way on the inside cover).

This is a commonplace book but the purpose of it is unclear and mysterious. What little I can read is a very odd mix, there is an esoteric Shinto document from a tiny hamlet in the mountains (苔縄) dating to 1760 and a document giving basic information about the imperial household alongside the markings. I cannot find either of these documents online. This seems to be a unique text and the tattoo markings are a real treasure too. They show the various kinds of marks used in different cities like Nagasaki, Osaka, Sakai, Kyoto.”