What is this? It’s not a rickshaw, since it’s backwards and too early. An update at BibliOdyssey pointed me to a version of this from a site in Kyoto that gives the English title of the plate as Mandocorosama’s Maid of Honor, carry’d in little two-Wheel’d Chariots. Not much help, although it does seem to connect the cart to the elite. Fortunately, I came across some evidence while doing research recently. Specifically, I was headed into the kitchen to do a bit of research on the state of the leftovers in the fridge and I saw this hanging on the wall…
What’s that in the lower left?
This is from a Meiji-era Japanese book I bought on E-Bay entitled “A New Guide to Chinese Painting” and I’m guessing it was intended for Japanese who wanted to be able to paint scenes of China.1 So what is this vehicle? If we assume that the top character is 御 things get a little clearer. Gyo in Japanese or ya in Chinese means of or pertaining to the emperor, although it can also mean to govern (or drive) a cart according to Nelson. Neither Nelson nor 漢語大詞典 have a specific entry for 御車, although they have lots of things like 御手﹐and 御衣 which makes me think it is -not- an “imperial carriage” although I suppose it could be. It does seem to be something that the Japanese associate with China, however, so maybe it was reserved for the elite. Anyone have any ideas?
I’m pretty sure it is actually an authentic Meiji book, since it has the silverfish holes that are hard to fake and the nice thin paper. Plus it was only 10 bucks, so if anyone put work into faking it they are sure letting it go cheap. ↩