Thanks for sharing Amelia.
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On 8/17/15 1:39 PM, Amelia Janes wrote:
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Natural subjects in 17th cent book. Eye candy.
This is the earliest
Chinese book printed by the technique of polychrome
xylography known as douban invented and perfected by Hu
Zhengyan 胡正言 (1584-1674). The method involves the use of
multiple printing blocks which successively apply
different coloured inks to the paper to reproduce the
effect of watercolour painting.
Great skill is required to
achieve a convincing result, but the beautiful gradations
of colour in this work have led to its reputation as
"perhaps the most beautiful set of prints ever made".
The work is divided into
eight categories: birds, plums, orchids, bamboos, fruit,
stones, ink drawings (round fans) and miscellany. Each
category is divided into two fascicles. The leaves are
printed on one side only, folded in half and glued
together along the outer fold (the so-called 'butterfly'
binding). With the exception of one category, every image
is followed by an accompanying text, in most cases a poem.
This copy has been
identified by the leading scholar of this work as the
finest and only extant complete copy in the original
binding of what he describes as the 'second superstate' of
the first edition.
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