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Pictorial Colorprinting in China and Japan: An Intermedia Overview

Pictorial Colorprinting in China and Japan: An Intermedia Overview

From letter to a colleague:

". . . I write this in such detail because I'm re-establishing it in my own mind, with the idea of writing a kind of outline history of woodblock pictorial color printing in China and Japan, now that we have the Shibui materials and others from late Ming. (I outlined the Japanese part in a review of Hillier's big 2-vol. book in Oriental Art, Autumn 1989--which however the editor of that, a woman, guaranteed would never be read by printing it in tiny type, complaining that I'd written it too long.) I will write out such an outline, as though it were a prospectus for a book that I will never write, and put it on my website, if possible with pictures, for the use of whomever is interested. Things of this kind, my particular understanding of big matters reached after years of looking and thinking, I want to get down while i can."

From another:

"I should tell you that one of my current projects is to write, as an interested outsider, a kind of outline of a book I would have written properly at one time, now haven't the energies and facilities, to put forth some ideas about how the development of colorprinting in China and Japan can be understood in terms of intermedia moves: one medium imitating another for a time, then gradually becoming independent, developing techniques peculiar/idiomatic to that medium. Simple idea, but needs some elaboration to be understood. And I'm making it clear that I write as an amateur in this field. . . " 

Notes for introductory paragraph:  I mean to cover mainly color-printed books and albums in China and Japan. I'm not especially interested in Buddhist texts and pictures, nor (for present purposes) in popular prints, nianhua etc. Narrative illustration in Ming and Qing is more interesting, but not to the point here, excepting in special case (Western Garden print series in Cologne.) On other illustrational color-printing, see also Fribourg, 132-135 and pp. 284-292.

Now, on to the "overview" itself:

I. Woodblock Colorprinting in China

A. Bibliography (important books on, or containing reproductions of, Chinese pictorial printing. chosen from a much larger number—this is by no means meant as a complete bibliography. Included mainly are exhibition and museum catalogs reproducing leaves from the albums and series.

Chung-kuo chuan-t'ung pan-hua i-shu t'e-tien (Special Exhibition: Collector's Show of Traditional Chinese Woodcut Prints.) (Taipei, National Central Library, 1983. (note: reproductions in this are harsh in color and presumably taken from late reprints? Included only for subjects.)

Cohen, Monique, and Natalie Monnet, Impressions de Chine. Exhib. cat. , Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 1992.

Comentale, Christophe. Les Estampes chinoises: Invention d'uneimage. Paris, Editions Alternatives, 2003.

Edgren, James Sören, "Chinese Rare Books and Color Printing," in East Asia Library Journal, 10, Princeton, 2001. Detailed notes on the books shown in the Philip Hu Visible Traces exhibition. A useful list of names and terms with Chinese characters is appended.

--   . Chinese Rare Books in American Collections. New York, 1984.

--  . "The Bibliographic Significance of Colour-Printed Books from the Shibui Collection." in Orientations, Spring 2009, 30-36.

Ferency, M. (Ed.) The Ten Bamboo Studio: Ancient Rare Books with Block Printing and Other Treasures from the Collection of the National Library of China. Budapest, National Szechenyi Library, 2003.

Fribourg, Jean, "Wood Engraving," in: Werner Speiser et al., Chinese

Art: Painting, Calligraphy, Stone Rubbing, Wood Engraving, New York, Universe Books, 1964, 273-360. Useful bibliography of writings on the subject, p. 360.

Hu, Philip K., comp. & ed., Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China. (New York, Queens Borough Public Library, and Beijing, National Library of China, 2000)

Machida Municipal Print Museum. Chûgoku kodai hanga-ten (Exhibition of Old Chinese Prints.) (Machida City, 1988.) Essays (in Japanese) by Chinese and Japanese specialists.

Monnet, Natalie. Chine: l"Empire du trait: Callligraphies et dessins du Ve au XIXe siecle. Exhib. cat. (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, 2004)

von der Burg, Christer, "Chinese Color Printing: 17th century Examples in the Muban Foundation Collection." Orientations April 2009, 20-29.

Wright, Suzanne E. "Luoxuan biangu jianpu and Shizhuzhai jianpu:  Two Late-Ming Catalogues of Letter Paper Designs." In: Artibus Asiae LXIII/1, 2003, 69-112.

Zhongguo meishu quanji, vol. 20: Banhua (Pictorial Prints). (Shanghai, Xinhua Shudian, 1988.)

B. Color Printing in China, published examples:

Chengshi moyuan (Ink Garden of the Cheng Family). 1605, 1610.

- Hu no. 9, 39-43. Two leaves printed in colors: 42,43.

- Machida 232-3, four colored leaves.

- Fribourg 130, pp. 280-81. Black-and-white reproduction; but read his notes.

- von der Burg Fig. 4. One leaf.

Huashi (History of Flowers). "Wan-li era" (1579-1619).

- Zhongguo 54, p. 58, one leaf.

- Machida 234, two leaves, from "incomplete copy" in Beijing Library.

Hushan shenggai (Remarkable Views of Mt. Hu) or Wushan shijing (Ten Views of Mt. Wu), "ca. 1620-1640." Published in Hangzhou. Twelve color illustrations. Unique copy in Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

- Cohen and Monnet no. 94, 152-3. Two prints in color.

- Monnet no. 127, 209-213. All twelve leaves in color.

- Fribourg 140-141, two leaves in color.

- Machida 248: three double leaves from a work of this title in the Beijing Library. Christer von der Burg writes (his essay for Orientations issue on Shibui print albums): "Different book with same title."

Jianxia ji (Collection of Scattered Red Clouds.) A series of designs for embroideries, some showing also the shapes of objects to be embroidered. Late Ming, date unclear. Edited by Shen Linqi (1603-1664). See notes on it below. The prints are similar in style and technique to those in the Hushan shenggai, above.

- von der Burg Fig 10, one leaf.

Caibi qingci (??) "Engraved in Hangzhou between 1621 and 1627," "close in color" to Hushan shenggai, see above. Referred to in Cohen and Monnet, p. 153, no ref. to where published.

Luoxuan biangu jianpu (Lo Studio Letter Papers).  1626. Printed by Wu Fa-hsiang (b. 1578) (In Chung-kuo, p. 300, it is claimed as the "first to use the multiple-block printing process." which "strongly influenced" Shizhuzhai. But some of Shibui books, see below, may precede it.) 128 folded pages.

- Chung-kuo, 63-89: fourteen leaves in color.

- Machida 235-36, five leaves in color, one (236 bottom) in gauffrage.

- Separate facsimile publication by Shanghai Museum.

Shizhuzhai shuhuapu (Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting). 1633-1644, Printed and published in Nanjing by Hu Zhengyan (1582-1672).

- Hu no. 15, 63-68. Four double leaves reproduced.

- Cohen and Monnet no. 95-97, 154-5. Reproduces lotus blossom leaf from three copies in Bibliotheque Nationale.

- Chung-kuo 91-129. Not good—from late reprint?

- Machida 239-40, five double leaves.

- Fribourg 139 (black-and-white reproduction of one leaf), 142-150 (color reproductions, good.) Also 174, black-and-white.

- Ferency 138-41.fig

Note: a serious study of the many editions of this work, based on years of tracking down old and good copies, is being prepared for publication by Thomas Ebrey.

Shizhuzhai jianpu (Ten Bamboo Studio Letter Papers). Printed and published in Nanjing by Hu Zhenyan, 1644..

- Chung-kuo 131-169.

- Machida 237-38, ten leaves, two (237 middle) in gauffrage.

-  von der Burg Fig 9., original leaf and 1941 reprint of same.

Xixiang-ji (Romance of the West Chamber.) The splendid series of twenty illustrations to this published in 1640 in Nanjing by Min Qiji, of which a unique copy is in the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne.. The first and best publication of these is:

Dittrich, Edith, Das Westzimmer - Hsi-hsiang chi. Chinesische Farbholzschnitte von Min Ch'i-chi 1640. (The Romance of the Western Chamber: Hsi-hsiang chi. Chinese Colour Woodcuts by Min Ch'i-chi 1640,) Köln: Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, 1977. See also Fribourg, 131, black-and-white reproduction, and his notes.

Jieziyuan huazhuan (Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting)

Part 1, Landscapes. 1679. Compiled by Wang Gai (1605-1701) et al.

- Cohen and Monnet no. 98, 157-9. One double leaf of trees + foliage.

- Machida 241, 242 top, three double leaves.

- Fribourg 138, landscape fan, black-and-white reproduction.

Part 2, Orchids, Bamboo, Blossoming Plum, Chrysanthemums. 1701.

- Hu no. 18, 79-81,

- Machida 242 bottom – 246 top, eight double leaves.

Part 3. Birds, Flowers, and Insects. 1701.

- Cohen and Monnet no. 98, 157-9. Reproduces one double leaf, orchid blossom.

- Machida 246 bottom, 247, three double leaves.

- Fribourg 150-174, 14 prints, six of them in color.

- Ferency 180-83, two double leaves.

"Kaempfer Series" (Chinese name unknown). Printed in Nanjing? ca. 1680.

- Cohen and Monnet no. 99-102, 159-165. Five prints in color.

- Monnet no. 129, 215-217. Four prints in color.

- Fribourg 151-159. eight prints in color, with alternate version of one.

Xihu guihua gujin yiji (Survivals of Old and New Stories of the West Lake. "Qianlong era" (1735-95). Kyoto University, Institute for Humanistic Research.

- Machida 249, two double leaves.

Jinyu tupu (Illustrated Manual on Goldfish). 1848. Compiled by Gouqu Shannong.

- Hu no. 21, 90-93.

Panyunxian huazhuan, 1864, pictures by Li Ruochang. Machida 23, p. 223 bottom. One double leaf, flowers, red color with ink.

[Wenmeizhai] baihua shiqianpu (Hundred Flowers Poetry Writing Paper from the Wenmei Studio). 1911, published in Tianjin.

- Hu no. 23, 97-100.

- Machida 250 bottom, one leaf.

- Ferency 212-15, two leaves.

Additional note on the Jianxia ji: Until recently this work was known only in a single copy with sixteen pictures owned by the late Fangyu Wang; it was published (in Soren Edgren's entry) in the catalog A Literati Life in the Twentieth Century: Wang Fangyu—Artist, Scholar, Connoisseur (New York, China Institute, 1999) no. 27. But several years ago I purchased in Taipei, without quite knowing what it was, recognizing only that it was old and important, a handscroll that proved to be a much more complete Jianxia ji, containing no less than 42 prints--with numberings, moreover, going as high as 46, indicating that the original number must have been more than that. The Chinese dealer I bought it from had acquired the remaining stock of the Japanese dealer I most respected, Eda Bungadô (see Reminiscence no. 29, "Japanese Dealers"), from his widow after Eda's death. (The Wang copy had also been preserved in Japan.) The prints in this more complete series are not equal to the Wang Fangyu prints in clarity of printing or brilliance of color, but still make up a valuable repertory of late Ming decorative designs. The handscroll was purchased from me by Christer von der Burg for his Muban Foundation; he has plans to publish it.

C. The Shibui Print Albums

To all the above extant examples of Chinese woodblock color printing must now be added an important group of late Ming erotic albums, some now remounted as handscrolls, formerly owned by the Japanese scholar-collector Shibui Kiyoshi (1899-1993), which were at one time feared lost or destroyed, but which have now reappeared and have been acquired by the Muban Foundation in London. A special issue of Orientations magazine, to appear soon, will be devoted to this major discovery. For  now, I will only list the four colorprint series in this group, with notes. A proper bibliographical list of these and others in the group (ink-only printings) has been prepared by Soren Edgren, a truly knowledgeable specialist on Chinese rare books and printing, as I am not. (At the beginning of my classes on early Chinese art I used to say: "If I say one thing and Professor Keightley of our History Department says something different, believe him." The same is true of me and Edgren.) The book by Robert H. van Gulik Erotic Colour Prints of the Ming Period, privately printed by him in a small edition in 1951, was of little real help: two color prints reproduced from new blocks copied from color reproductions already published by Shibui; a group of "late Ming" prints he claimed were copied from originals in a Shanghai collection but were really fabrications by himself in his version of a Chinese manner; and black-and-white reproductions from one of the books, Huaying jinzhen, impressions from blocks, probably Japanese copies, which he had bought in Japan. (For an expansion of this appraisal of van Gulik's book, see my article "Judge Dee and the Vanishing Ming Erotic Colour Prints," in Orientations, November 2008, 40-46.) We had to wait, but our waiting is fully repaid by the number (a total of 128 color prints!) and quality of the new materials. They are (using the Muban Foundation's letter designations):

A. Sheng Penglai ("Supra-Paradise"), fifteen pictures, late Ming in date. (The original title of the work is not known; this one was taken from one of the facing poems.)

B. Fengliu juechang tu ("Pictures of the Height of Sophistication"), 24 pictures, in one near-complete copy with 23 pictures (Muban B1), one variant edition with ten (Muban B2), an edition with twelve pictures (Muban B3) once owned by the Japanese merchant-artist Kimura Kenkadô (1736-1802); and a fragment with two pictures (Muban H.02, H.03), one of them (H.02) not in any of the others and so presumably supplying the print missing from B.1. This work, most important of the entire group, carries a preface by an Anhui writer who uses the pseudonym Binghe or  "Ailing Crane" dated 1606, in which he names as the engraver a member of the famous Huang family from Xin'an.

C. Huaying jinzhen ("Variegated Battle Arrays of the Flowery Camp"), the  series published by van Gulik from his blocks, which, as noted above, were probably Japanese recuttings from the Chinese originals. Two copies of this series, one complete with 24 pictures and the other with 22, are among the Muban purchases (Muban C1 and C2), both late Ming originals printed with colors and so much superior to van Gulik's.

F. Qinglou duoying ("Selected Scenes from Verduous Towers"), twenty pictures, undated but also late Ming.

E. Overview, Part I

With the main materials laid out, I can go on to the first part of my "Overview," a kind of outline of a book never to be written, this first part to deal with woodblock color printing in China.

Leaving aside non-pictorial and Buddhist materials, in which some anticipations of the great late Ming rise of pictorial colorprinting can be seen but which I am excluding here, we begin with the Chengshi moyuan ("Ink Garden of the Cheng Family"). 1606.

Underlying my Overview will be a basic argument, or belief: that the early development of any new medium is likely to depend at first on imitation or simple adaptation of some older medium, and only later to take on new characteristics peculiar or idiomatic to the newer medium. Printing in China begins, for instance, as a way of reproducing writing by hand, and only later becomes an independent medium.  Pictorial printing in ink starts out by reproducing, as best it can, linear ink drawing by hand—the only kind it has the capacity to reproduce, at that early stage—and only later opens up into a separate medium with its own characteristics. There is no real equivalent in painting, for instance, judging at least from what we know and is preserved, for the great achievements of pictorial ink printing as carried out during the late Ming in Anhui and Nanjing, notably by block-cutters and printers of the Huang Family in Anhui. (See Hu, Visible Traces, nos. 5-13 for good examples.) It transcends, that is, the character of a means of reproducing painting.

By this pattern, the earliest pictorial color prints in China (the earliest, at least, that we are considering), the colored leaves in Chengshi moyuan, represent the simplest extension of ink printing into color. (Fig 1-4D4A is from a copy in U.C.Berkeley's East Asian Library, and is taken from Deborah Rudolph, Impressions of the East, p. 40; 4B and 4C, added later, are from Ferency, 124-5. 4D is from von der Burg Fig. 4.) The book, published by one of the great ink manufacturing families of Xin'an or Huizhou in Anhui, reproduced by woodblock the designs Cheng had used for his molded ink-cakes. (For an account of this, see our exhibition catalog Shadows of Mt. Huang, "The Great Age of Anhui Printing," p. 25 ff.) In a small number of "luxury" copies, a few of the designs are printed in color by what Edgren calls the "relatively primitive method" of applying colors instead of ink to some parts of the block. Different colors could be applied to different areas of the block and more than one impression taken, but Edgren believes the printing was sometimes done by applying colors to the block all at once and taking a single impression. (Tom Ebrey has brought to my attention a Ph.D. dissertation, "The Proliferation of Images: The Ink-stick Designs and the Printing of the Fang-shih Mo-p'u and the Ch'eng-shih Mo-yuan" by Li-chiang Lin, Princeton, 1998. He says that she traveled everywhere to seek out copies and see how they differed in their color-printed leaves.)

The Hua-shih leaf published in Zhongguo 54, p. 58, Fig 4E, looks as though it might have been printed with two blocks, ink and red, since there is some overlapping. But it is a very simple process, hardly an advance over the Chengshi color prints.

It is in the decades after this that the techniques of multi-block color printing are invented and highly developed. They are used for high-level textual editions as well as for pictures, with red. blue, and occasionally other colors imitating the hand-written punctuation and annotations, done with a brush, that learned Chinese readers sometimes make in their books, as well as the seals impressed on them in red. (An example is Hu, Visible Traces, no. 14.)

It is not easy to establish priority among the color-woodblock pictorial printings for this multi-block process, but one of the Shibui erotic books, Muban B. Fengliu juechang tu, with a preface dated 1606, is a strong candidate. The preface is translated in the essay by Song Pingchen included in the special issue of Orientations (p. 52). Song dates the Chengshi moyuan to 1604, and argues that the literatus-sponsor of Fengliu, who signs with the pseudonym "Ailing Crane" (Binghao), and his block-engraver Huang Yiming of Xin'an), were the inventors of the multi-block process, which thus came into being in the two-year interval between the two publications. But that is far from being a really substantiated claim, and should not be accepted. Edgren questions the dates of both series, and leaves open the question of which series first used the technique; it must also be pointed out that both books are chance survivors from what must have been a much larger output (the "Ailing Crane" sponsor of Fengliu  writes of having seen "dozens of erotic picture albums printed by booksellers.")

Leaving aside questions of dating and priority, we can see this book, the Hushan shenggai in Paris (FIGS.5-15), and the Jianxia-ji (FIGS.16-27, twelve Jianxia-ji prints with details) as early examples of the multi-block (taoban) technique of colorprinting, in which separate blocks were cut and used for printing each of the several colors. And within our Overview pattern, they all represent a relatively simple translation into color of the basic characteristics of ink-woodblock printing of that time, as if the color blocks were simply substituting for ink blocks, being limited to linear designs, dotting, and small flat areas. They are still short, that is, of capturing the characteristics brush-painting, with its broader, broken brushstrokes and areas of shaded color; they resemble ink prints in which colors replace some of the ink lines and small areas. (For a diagram of how the paper was placed and moved over the successive blocks in multi-block printing, see the drawing on Ferency p.32, Fig. 15A.)

The Luoxuan biangu jianpu (Lo Studio Letter Papers) of 1626 (FIGS. 28-46 , 46A&B) mostly follows the same techniques as these, but in a few of the prints introduce crucial additions. In a "Blossoming Plum" leaf (Chung-kuo 71), the designer and printer appear to be attempting a closer approximation of brush drawing in the heavy contours of the branch. Some of the flower pictures use broader areas of color. And at least one of the prints (Machida 276 bottom) uses the technique of blind printing, or gauffrage—Chinese gonghua--in which the "exquisite low-relief designs were produced by pressing the paper firmly against a dry, uninked engraved woodblock" (Hu, p. 66.) The image is visible only as the raised lines catch a raking light. This is by its very nature a technique peculiar to high-level pictorial printing, not imitating either ink printing or painting.

For this and also the Shizhuzhai jianpu below, see also the good essay by Suzanne Wright and the black-and-white illustrations to her article.

The 1640 Xixiangji illustrations (FIGS. 47-82, original slides and details), which survive only in the single copy in Cologne, similarly exploit brilliantly the new and developing capacities of pictorial colorprinting. They are brilliant and original also in another way, in their highly sophisticated conception, or conceit: each of the twenty scenes from the play is presented as though it were a picture in and of some other medium: a painting on a fan or on a horizontal scroll, a six-fold screen with an inscription on a back panel, a puppet play with string puppets, a design on a bronze hu vessel, the open pages of an illustrated book. The mounted figures in a chase scene become hangings on a lamp of the kind that whirls with rising heat, endlessly pursuing each other around the lamp. Figures are viewed in a mirror, or reflected in the water, or dimmed through a bamboo blind. These, then, are representations (woodblock color prints) of representations (pictures on objects and in other media) of representations (scenes from a play)—we are close to preciosity. But gloriously so.  Basic publication is:

Edith Dittrich, (German text), Arthur J. Jordan, (English text), Hsi-hsiang chi = [Das Westzimmer] = The romance of the western chamber ; chinesische Farbholzschnitte von Min Ch`i-chi, 1640, Köln : Museum für Ostasiat. Kunst d. Stadt Köln, 1977.

(Also article by Dawn Ho Delbanco in Orientations for June, 1983.) 

To describe the ways in which they are also innovative as color prints would require too much space; it is enough to note that larger color areas, often with designs within them, are now possible; a tree leaf can be shaded from dark grey-green at the stem to fade-out at the tip, and garden rocks are shaped with gradations of ink and blue color. The designer, cutter, and printer seem here to be pushing further the capacities of the woodblock colorprint medium, not trying to imitate brush painting. Such an achievement makes us lament all the more the disappearance of so much of this art—there must have been many books of this kind produced--and its virtual discontinuance shortly afterwards.

Very much the same new capacities of colorprinting are explored and exploited in the Shizhuzhai jianpu, (FIGS. 83-112,12A&B; Fig. 88-92 are original slides from prints in Palace Museum, Beijing) in which designs of high sophistication are printed, often lightly, on paper that was to be used for writing poems and letters. Like the Xixianji illustrations they were produced in Nanjing, and only four years after those, in 1644; that city was already living under threat from the Manchu invasion, which ended the great cultural florescence of Nanjing in the following year. The letter-papers testify to the level of taste in the people for whom they were intended, and to the self-confidence those people must have felt in overlaying their calligraphy and their poetic or epistolatory sentiments upon such exquisite grounds.

The Shizhuzhai shuhuapu, on the other hand, although produced by the same publisher in the decade before 1644, is a more extensive work of quite a different character (FIGS . 113-158, 158A&B. Note that 120-139, taken from the Chung-kuo book, are from a late and poor edition. Fig. 139A-C, added later, from Ferency 139. 141, 158C from Zhongguo). The albums that make it up take the same form as painting albums devoted to particular types of subjects, and the printing techniques are unabashedly imitative of the techniques of brush painting, as if the woodblock medium were being used simply to reproduce, better than any printing technique had done before, actual paintings by artists of the time, whose signatures and seals appear on them as further testimony to their "authenticity."

As color-prints, seen in this light, they are splendid: this and the Xixiangji illustrations are probably the finest surviving works  of Chinese woodblock colorprinting. Fortunately, the Shizhuzhai shuhuapu survives in many excellent copies, with a complex history of reprinting that I will not attempt even to sum up—as noted above, it is the subject of research by Prof. Thomas Ebrey, who will eventually publish on it. The highly developed techniques of cutting and printing are used, as noted earlier, to reproduce the look of brush painting. Shaded areas of sometimes heavy color are on flower petals and fruit, an effect achieved by wiping part of the block after applying the pigment to it. (Since the block will never be wiped exactly the same way twice, this means that no two prints will be exactly alike.) One color sometimes shades into another, as on the picture of pomegranates (Chung-kuo 121.) An effect of textures is produced by light-toned overprinting with a pitted or otherwise fine-patterned block. Rough cutting of the blocks for ink outlines, and uneven inking of them, produce contour "drawing" that resembles closely the same contours as painted with a brush. And so forth—the new techniques are too many and complex to be described fully here. The Shizhuzhai shuhuapu prints are, for their purpose, completely successful.

Not much is left for the cutters and printers of the Jieziyuan huachuan or "Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting", whose purposes are largely the same, to do that is new. The great age of innovation in Chinese woodblock colorprinting, which lasted only a few decades, is over. Part I of Jieziyuan, published in 1679 (FIGS. 159-162A), opens a new area of subject matter: landscape, which requires some expanded applications of the already-developed techniques, for approximations of brush texture-strokes on rocks and mountainsides, for tree-foliage patterns, and other components of the new pictorial elements. For these, the Jieziyuan printers were able to draw on techniques already developed in earlier, late Ming painting manuals. (An extensive study of these by my younger colleague J. P. Park is being prepared for publication.) The Jieziyuan volumes on landscape are an expansion of these, and largely replaced them as pattern-books for Qing-period landscapists who needed such models. The later parts of Jieziyuan do not add much to the Shizhuzhai volumes, at least in the eyes of this non-specialist. (Fig. 162B, 162C, added later, from Ferency 182-183, and 1620D, from Zhongguo.) And the flower-and-fruit prints of the so-called "Kaempfer Series," published around 1680 (FIGS. 176-193), only increase the size and compositional richness of the pictures without making any notable contributions to the color printing process.

(Later: But note what Soren Edgren wrote in his response to my proposal about decline etc.: "Tom's statement that "no one even tried to copy any other paintings after 1701" is disputed by the existence of the Suzhou Ding family prints (formerly Kaempfer prints) in the BM. In fact, one could argue that the Ding prints are even technically and aesthetically superior to, or at least on par with, the Ten Bamboo Studio products." The recent British Museum exhibition did indeed contain some fine later prints, and maybe this issue indeed needs to be reconsidered. But it only pushes the decline a bit further down.)

Unclear, at least to me, is the place of the Xihu jiahua gujin yiji (Panorama of the West Lake) within this development. Christer von der Burg reproduces without comment (von der Burg Fig. 17, Fig. 193A) one leaf from a version he dates to 1673; two leaves from what appears to be a copy (captioned as "Qianlong period") are in Machida, 249; another, Fig. 193B, in Zhongguo 201, p. 208.)

Still later examples of woodblock colorprinting in China are sparse and non-innovative; they apply the old techniques to new subjects such as goldfish, but can scarcely be considered a healthy continuation of the great seventeenth-century beginning. (Xihu guihua gujin yiji, Qianlong era, FIGS. 194-195; Jinyu huapu, 1848, FIGS. 196-197; [Weimeizhai] baihua shiqianpu, 1911, FIGS. 198-201, 201A-B, added later from Ferency 214-15, and 201C from Zhongguo). (Zhongguo alsoreproduces, no. 191, Fig. 201D, a leaf from a series? called qizhi, "bond paper?, a simply-printed landscape-with-figures design with two or three colors. The explanatory note states that it was produced in Huizhou during the Qianlong era, as a continuation of earlier color printing done there.) Any further development was to take place in Japan.

LATER: SEE ADDENDUM BELOW, WHICH SOMEWHAT CHANGES THIS OBSERVATION.

F. Overview, Part II. Japan

This final section of my study must necessarily be fairly brief and incomplete, for now; I do not have here in Vancouver the books I need to write it, both originals (I was a serious gafu collector, and my collection, while it is now the property of my older children Nicholas and Sarah Cahill, is still accessible to me, as kept by Sarah) and reference books, nor do I have here my collection of slides made from original books. I do have a copy of Roger Keyes's splendid recent book Ehon: The Artist and  the Book in Japan, published in 2006 by the New York Public Library, home to the great collection around which the book was written. Many of the best of the NYPB's Japanese printed books came from the Japanese book-dealer Sôrimachi, and testify to his highly-reputed knowledge and taste. The reproductions in Keyes's book are excellent, and I will use them as references in what follows; his discussions are informative and informed—he is another true specialist in pictorial printing, in his case that of Japan.

Another major publication on the Japanese pictorial printed books (gafu in Japanese) is Jack Hillier's The Art of the Japanese Book (2 vols., London, Sotheby Publications, 1987) which is not accessible to me here—it is a non-circulating book in the UBC library on which I depend, and my own copy is in Berkeley. I knew Hillier, both from meeting him in England, his home country, and from his spending some days in Berkeley, mostly to study my collection; he had just come from seeing the larger and more important collection of Robert Ravicz in Los Angeles. Later he would publish another, smaller picture book on that collection: Jack Hillier, The Japanese Picture Book: A Selection from the Ravicz Collection (New York, Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1991.) Ravicz also came to Berkeley for a few days, and went through the better items in my collection; we carried out a trade, through which I obtained an incomplete copy of one of the finest gafu, Satô Suiseki's Suiseki gafu, nihen (Part 2), 1820 (Keyes 48, 198-201.)

I should add here that the basic, extremely useful bibliographical reference work for these books is: C.H. Mitchell, The Illustrated Books of the Nanga, Maruyama, Shijo and Other Related Schools of Japan (Los Angeles, Dawson's Book Shop, 1972.) Mitchell was himself a collector of these books and a non-academic scholar living in Japan, who compiled this now-indispensable work out of frustration that no one else had done so. And here is the place to insert a few notes on nomenclature:

- ehon, the term used in Keyes's title, means simply "picture-book," and is used for all kinds of Japanese books in which pictures are prominent, including illustrated books as well as gafu.

- gafu is the Japanese pronunciation for the Chinese term huapu, "painting album," meaning a series of painted leaves, or of printed leaves imitating paintings, bound as an album or book. It is properly used (with the addition of shu for calligraphy) in the Shizhuzhai shuhuapu, which is indeed a series of quasi-brush-written and painted leaves bound as albums.

The terms are commonly misused, gafu being often referred to as "Japanese illustrated books," when in fact they typically contain no texts and are not illustrations to any. Ehon is typically used for picture-books of the Ukiyo-e School, which can be either illustrated books with texts or series of independent pictures.

I wrote a review article on Hillier's The Art of the Japanese Book which was published in Oriental Art vol. 35, Autumn 1989, 169-71. That magazine or journal—which, I recently learned, is suspending publication after many years—was where I had published my long translation of my teacher Shimada's important study "Ippin gafu ni tsuite," which I rendered as "Concerning the I-p'in Style of Painting"; my translation, which cost me a great many hours of work (I told Shimada later that it was my equivalent to Bodhidharma's  disciple Huike cutting off his arm to show his reverence and sincerity) was published in three parts in Oriental Art for 1962-64. The magazine was then edited by Peter Swann and was a respectable popular-scholarly journal. Later it was taken over by others and deteriorated seriously—I seldom published there, and had bad experiences when I did. My review of Hillier's book—to get back to our subject—turned out longer than the editor, a woman, had expected, and she retaliated by printing it in a typeface so tiny that one almost needs a magnifying glass to read it. I strongly suspect that it was scarcely read by anybody—I don't recall ever getting any responses to it, although I used it to set forth some ideas and opinions that were then important to me, besides praising and critiquing Hillier's work. Included in my long review was a section outlining my ideas on how an art-historical account of the development of gafu in Japan might be constructed—ideas that I am now setting forth at much greater length, and with the inclusion of Chinese pictorial printing, in this long "intermedia overview."

I had meant to develop this line of thinking more fully in the catalog essay for an exhibition that we planned but never carried out, tentatively titled "Paintings Into Prints and Back Again," which would have juxtaposed paintings and prints to bring out their interrelatedness and mutual dependency in both directions. One sequence, for instance, might have been: some Nanjing-school landscape painting of the early Qing; a page from the 1679 "Mustard-seed Garden" landscape manual. based on a similar painting; a painting by Ikeno Taiga in a style derived from that leaf, or at least that book; the printed Taigadô gafu based on Taiga's paintings; some Edo-period work by a later artist who appears to have learned from the Taiga printed book. But after quite a lot of planning and preparation we realized how enormously time-consuming and expensive it would be to assemble all these materials for the exhibition, and how little visual impact the materials would have for ordinary viewers, and we abandoned the idea. (I presented it later in a lecture given at the Machida Print Museum near Tokyo, and they carried out a similar exhibition, in which my former student Hiromitsu Kobayashi took a large part, Assembling all or most of the materials from Japanese collections, as proved quite possible, made the project far more practicable.) Our abandonment of this exhibition project meant that my planned essay was never written, and this is a belated attempt to set it down, at least in outline, while I still can.

I noted in my review that Hillier's work, by its very nature, offered more of perceptive treatments of individual books than of "any all-over sweep of argument or tracing of developmental patterns," and I added, "A theme that must be central in the study of these books, the interplay between technical and aesthetic advances through the 18th century, the innovations that overcame the limitations of simple black-and-white printing, and the aftermath of these advances in the 'golden age' of gafu in the early 19th century," was set forth only disjointedly in Hillier's text. And I followed that observation with an outline of how I myself would construct such an account. What follows will be an expanded version of that argument, illustrated necessarily with references to the Roger Keyes book since Hillier's is not accessible to me. I will hope to further expand and rewrite this last section after I move back to Berkeley.

The beginnings of color woodblock printing in Japan lie, not surprisingly, in Japanese copies of Chinese books. Conventional accounts have multi-block, multi-color printing originating in the "brocade prints" created around 1765 in the works of Suzuki Harunobu and others, but that notion reflects only the power of the pro-Ukiyo'e faction within Japanese art studies, a power reflecting the popularity of Ukiyo'e as a collector's art more than art-historical importance. Multi-block colorprinting in Japan appears in fact to have begun with the Japanese edition of Jieziyuan, the so-called Kanan-bon, of which the bird-and-flower volumes were published in Kyoto in 1748. Keyes includes the landscape volumes published in 1753 (Keyes 16, 82-85 . FIGS. 202-204). Even earlier by two years is another book based supposedly on Chinese originals, although no Chinese edition of it is known, the Minchô shiken ("Purple Inkstones of Ming China") or Minchô seidô gaen ("A Living Garden of Ming Painting," published in Kyoto in 1746 (Keyes 15, 80-81, FIGS. 205-206. The flower pictures are by Ooka Shunboku (1680-1763), but signatures reproduced on the leaves are those of Ming masters such as Wen Zhengming and Sun Kehong, so they are probably copied after some late Ming originals now lost. For the elegant pictures in this book, the multi-block printing technique was combined with another, which the Japanese call kappa-zuri: adding colors by hand with a brush through stencils. Later reprints of the book, of which I have one, still use this unusual mode of coloring.

(Note: See Keyes no.13, 72-77, for an example and notes on a few privately-printed books with color printing produced in Japan earlier than 1746; these are unknown to me, and I leave them out.)

For the remainder of this section I shall move outside the focused attention to colorprinting and include in my discussion some books printed in ink only, since some of the gafu involved in it are without color. Important examples of the early period often took the form of collections of printed "reproductions" of Chinese pictures, intended for the enjoyment and instruction of sinophile artists and others, making the (supposedly) Chinese subjects, designs, and styles accessible for copying. Keyes does not include books of this kind, which are not rare enough or fine enough to merit places among his choices. Let me simply copy, then, the paragraphs from my review of Hillier's book (p. 170 in my review) that give a short account of the Japanese phase of my "Overview." The figure references are to Hillier's The Art of the Japanese Book, to which some readers may have access.

"Morikuni's Unpitsu soga of 1749 begins this development by introducing new ways of treating the block—roughening the surface of the wood, or "lowering" some areas so that they print lighter—which allows effects that are visually closer to the washes and rough brushwork of painting than had been possible before.

Some earlier books of this type, such as Morikuni's own 1720 Ehon shahô bukuro (Fig. 137) and the 1724 Jimbutsu soga (Fig. 203), are precursors in attempting to reproduce multiple-stroke brushwork with densely-cut blocks, or the fei-pai or "flying white" brushstroke by cutting streaks of white within the block area. The fuki-bokashi or gradation printing seen in the books of Tokiyama Sekien (Figs. 269, Fig. 271-272), is a further refinement. Hillier is certainly right in seeing these effects as primarily aimed, especially in this early stage, at conveying the "tonal effects" of ink painting (p. 191), and the books in which they appear are mostly collections of what are intended as reproductions of paintings. At the same time, the approximation to brush-painting is so imperfect, and the woodblock-print qualities so (paradoxically?) enhanced by these attempts to imitate effects proper to another medium, that Morikuni's work and the others can also be seen as inaugurating a new era in the technical and stylistic history of woodblock printing. We can observe in the subsequent development, traceable through later 18th century books included by Hillier, a kind of vacillation between two directions, one pulling toward closer renderings of painting's brushstrokes and washes, the other toward styles more properly idiomatic to woodblock. The Kanyôsai gafu of 1762 (Figs. 184-186) belongs more to the former direction, the superb "Autumnal Foliage" leaves from the 1765 Sô Shiseki gafu (Pl. 26) to the latter—the technique of putting several colors on a single block and allowing them to run slightly together has no exact parallel in painting.

"By the end of the 18th century and the early 19th it was possible, when the designers and printers chose, to reproduce in woodblock the distinctive brushwork, washes, graded tonalities, and shaded colors of different kinds of painting with striking fidelity; Utamaro's Momo chidori kyôka pictures of ca. 1791 (Fig. 280, Pl. 64), or some of the less interesting w0rk of Keisai Masayoshi (Fig. 311, Pl. 77 and 80) are examples. And the gap between print and painting is further narrowed in still later works, Meiji and later prints after paintings by Takeuchi Seihô and others (Pl. 197, Figs. 658-59.) But the products of this technical triumph are too close to the woodblock reproductions of paintings in old issues of Kokka magazine, or the attempts of Jung Bao Chai in Beijing to reproduce old paintings by woodblock printing (they are better at modern ones): they end up being neither good reproductions, by present-day standards, nor really interesting prints.

"Another work by Masayoshi (and, we should always add, his collaborators: publisher, block-cutters, printers), the remarkable Shinki ippitsu of 1801 (Figs. 315-316), appears to represent a deliberate and mannerist misuse of the "reproduction" techniques for effects never seen in any paintings in China or Japan, and signals the liberation of the best of the gafu from that aesthetically unfruitful direction. Yamaguchi Soken's Soken gafu: sôka no bu, 1806, for which Hillier's treatment is especially good, has the same quality. The aims of the best book artists and technician in the decades that followed were rather to exploit the idiomatic potential of woodblock printing to the fullest. The relationship of the prints to paintings continued to be close, but was of anther kind: the makers of the prints find woodblock equivalents for rough and individualistic brushwork, instead of attempting to reproduce it. And so opens the great age of the gafu"

The account and argument set forth in these paragraphs copied from my review, which could be strengthened and elaborated with further examples if I had access to more books, extends the one I made in the first part of this "overview" about Chinese color printing and interchanges between media. I should add quickly that it is not intended as an outline of any qualitative "progress"—I am not claiming that Japanese gafu of the early 19th century are finer works of art than the Shizhuzhai shuhuapu, only that they exploit more fully the particular technical and expressive capacities of woodblock printing.

The Japanese development can also be illustrated, although less fully, with examples in Keyes's book. The Itchô gafu of 1770 (Keyes 18, 90-91, FIGS. 205-206) and Ransai gafu of 1782 (Keyes 22, 102-05), especially, in the latter, the leaf depicting orchids growing on a rough-drawn grassy bank and blowing in the wind (105, , FIG. 207), illustrate the kind of printing that captures with remarkable fidelity the rough and shaded brushwork of painting. And he includes several of the finest gafu of the kind my discussion leads up to, those exploiting fully the special character of the woodblock medium. The two books after paintings by Ikeno Taiga, the Taigadô gafu, probably published in 1803 (Keyes 36, 164-67, FIGS. 208-210) and the Taigadô gahô, 1804 (Keyes 37, 168-69, FIGS. 211, 212) the latter based on an instructional series that Taiga painted for his wife Gyokuran, hover attractively between reproducing the Nanga master's distinctive brush-drawing and claiming some independence as prints. The Kaidô kyôka awase (The Coast Road Poems), 1811 (Keyes 42, 182-84, FIG.213), a joint work by Kawamura Bumpô and Watanabe Nangaku, is the only book by the prolific and loveable Bumpô that Keyes includes (Bumpô's books, easily available at low prices in the Teramachi bookstores of old Kyoto, started my collecting). He reproduces one leaf (183) that is a fine example of that nice interplay of artist's lively brush and printer's semi-autonomous knife that Bumpô's books offer their viewers. The incomparable Kafuku nimpitsu (Leave Joys and Sorrows to the Brush). 1809.  by Bumpô's adopted son (?) Kawamura Kihô (Keyes 40, 174-77, FIGS. 214-218) is a masterwork that combines bitterly satiric drawing with feats of woodblock cutting and printing that are nearly unmatched in their exploiting of the medium. I remember sitting with the late Hiratsuka Unichi, the major print-artist and founder of the sosaku hanga movement (in which the prints were designed, cut, and printed by the artist himself, rather than by specialist artisans) who spent much of his later life in Washington, D.C. living with his daughter Keiko—the two of us admiring this book, both exclaiming with excitement and pleasure over each double-leaf. Hiratsuka was a highly knowledgeable enthusiast for these books, and one who early-on recognized their brilliance as pictorial printing. My own appreciation for them was partly shaped by him. although I had collected them from my Fulbright year in Kyoto (1954-55).

That same enthusiasm drives me to add brief notes on three more of the gafu that Keyes includes in his book, books very different in subjects, pictorial style, and printing technique but all unrivaled works of their kinds. About Kameda Bôsai's Kyôchûzan (Mountains of the Heart), 1816 (Keyes 47, 196-7, FIGS. 219-220), Keyes remarks that this "may be the most intimately personal book in the ehon tradition." An imaginative publisher "conceived a trilogy of picture books" and invited three artists to contribute designs, beginning with Bôsai. (The other two were Tani Bunchô and Sakai Hôitsu, both of whose books are also among the treasures of the genre.) Bôsai sketched his pictures at a drinking party, using an ink-stick by a late Ming master of ink-making. When he later saw the prints made from his quick sketches, he was "stunned" by "the beauty of their color gradations and their unfamiliar sense of space." The landscape pictures, simple as they are, are indeed endlessly absorbing. Nakamura Hôchû's Kôrin gafu (Kôrin PIcture Album), 1802 (Keyes 32, 148-51, FIG. 221) is the finest book in Rimpa style; it is said to have been Robert Ravicz's favorite in all his large collection. The pictures are enchanting purely as images, and the printing, which includes hand-application of water and pigment to the block to produce equivalents of the tarashikomi technique of painting, is without parallel. And Saitô Shûhô's Kishi Empu (Mr. Ginger's Book of Love), 1803 (Keyes 35, 159-163, FIGS. 223-228), while it may offer less of cutting-and-printing originality than the others, is an endless delight in its depictions of the women of the Shinmachi pleasure-district of Osaka in a style both parodistic—this is the ultimate anti-Ukiyo'e book—and affectionate. I have only a reproduction of this marvelous work, having missed two chances to buy copies, one at Isseidô in Tokyo and one when I was taken to visit the old bibliophile Aimi Kôu, who offered me a copy he owned. Both times the prices seemed too high, and I hoped to find one cheaper if I waited. Either would have been cheap at twice the price.

The mention again of Ukiyo-e suggests the need for a note on why I leave the prints of that school out of consideration here. Again, I do not mean to make a qualitative judgment; I join other Japanese art enthusiasts in loving the work of Harunobu, admiring Utamaro, being fascinated by Hokusai. But the relationship between even the greatest Ukiyo-e prints and the paintings of that school remains simpler, with the basic fine-line-and-color mode of the paintings followed relatively closely in the prints. (Yes, I know about the exceptions, but still . . .) The gafu, by contrast, based as they are on paintings of various Edo-period schools, allow and display far more brilliance and originality in their free and creative renderings as prints. An early writer on the gafu, Owen Holloway (Graphic Art of Japan: The Classical School, 1957) reveals  his bias more openly with his use of "Classical School" for the gafu contrasted with "Plebeian Genre" for Ukiyo-e. (He was a lecturer at the British Museum; I tried to meet him on a visit there, wanting to tell him that the negative opinion expressed by my Freer Gallery colleague Harold Philip Stern in a review of his book was not general among foreign specialists; Bill Watson made an attempt to find or contact him, but was unsuccessful.) And somewhere in the back of my mind, the gafu always represent, however unfairly, a Kansai (Kyoto-Osaka) refinement as against a Kantô (Edo/Tokyo) showiness.

Not only is the art-historical importance of the gafu under-recognized, but so, I believe, is their role within the "japonisme" that so deeply affected European artists, especially French, later in the 19th century. A double-leaf from Satô Suiseki's strikiing Suiseki gafu, nihen of 1820 (Keyes 48, 198-201, FIGS. 229-231) was reproduced in Bing's L'art Japonais, and copies of other gafu can be shown from auction catalogs to have been in Paris for artists to see. My own, non-specialist belief is that they may well have had a larger effect on French Impressionist and Post-Impressioniist painting than the Ukiyo-e figure prints that are always reproduced in books on japonisme. But this is a matter for European-art specialists to explore, and none so far has shown any interest in doing so. When I broached the matter to one in our department at U.C., she replied curtly that she was "not interested in influences."

Finally, a word on the difficulty or even impossibility of conveying the real pleasures of these books to others through either publication or exhibition. a problem I have confronted throughout my career. I have lent my books for exhibitions—one such at LACMA, organized by George Kuwayama, others at our University Art Museum. Always with a sense of futility: even if I could persuade the curators to open the cases and turn the pages daily or every few days, we could scarcely count on viewers who would come back regularly to look at them. Like the oil-pigment-on-canvas nature of European oil painting or the ink-on-silk medium of great Chinese landscape painting, the aesthetic values of the gafu are inextricably bound to their physical properties. The series of pictures they contain are planned to be seen in succession, making up an artistic whole, whether or not they present some kind of sequence. (Bumpô in his Bumpô gafu Part 3 gives us a wonderful pictorial account of a private exhibition of paintings, from the gathering of the scrolls and the selection committee to the hanging of them and their viewing by old men kneeling in front of them, or discussing them in groups (FIGS. 232-235.) Goshun, in a wonderful book titled Shin hana tsumi based on designs by his teacher Buson and published to raise funds for Buson's widow, presents a picture of a village procession extending over a double leaf; it is followed, as one turns the page, by a straggler hurrying to catch up. (I have an excellent copy of this book, formerly owned by the Japanese-French dealer Hayashi and bearing his seal.)

In the end, the only way one can really convey the qualities of a gafu is to hand someone a copy and let her or him hold it, turn the pages, see the pictures up close and not through glass, feel the paper, experience the sequence of images and writing as the artist intended it. And considerations of conservation, the necessity of avoiding wear, make that an infrequent kind of event, one that will not be available to many people. A scholar with proper qualifications can call out and handle books in some public collection, and generous owners will allow properly-cautioned friends and colleagues to hold them and look through them. But rare and fragile printed books, whether Chinese erotic albums or Japanese gafu, must always remain an art form of which the subtlest and deepest values are open only to private, very limited audiences. That is a source of some frustration for enthusiasts like myself, who would like to open them to the world.

Additions to the bibliography of the gafu:

I left out Jack Hillier's book The Uninhibited Brush: Japanese Art in the Shijô Style (London, Hugh H. Moss Ltd., 1974) and my review of this book published in Oriental Art NS vol. XXI no. 4, winter 1975, 375-79. I am putting the latter on my website as CLP 195.

Addendum: Additional digitized images, made from slides stored in Berkeley. A trip to my house in Berkeley where my old slide collection is stored has produced a lot more slides that can now be added as images to those listed above, which are mostly from books. They are:

Figs. 236-254, more leaves and details from Shizhuzhai jianpu, following on Figs. 88-92 as above, all taken from original leaves exhibited at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Light reflections (my flashgun off the glass case) do not obscure the designs.

Figs. 255-260, leaves from Shizhuzhai shuhuapu, six leaves photographed from originals, I've forgotten where.

Figs. 261-282 Taigadô gafu. Leaves from Ravicz copy, early and fine. These are not in correct order, nor are others below.

Figs. 283-286: four leaves from my own copy of the same, said by Hillier to be later; for comparison.

Fig. 287. Title double-page of Taigado gafu, Ravicz copy.

Figs. 288. Same, from hand-painted scroll purporting to be Taiga "original" from which Taigado gafu was printed, owned by Tajima Teishôdô.

Figs. 289-300. Remainder of Tajima scroll. Purported "originals" of Japanese printed gafu are commonly met with; there may be true originals among them, although it's unlikely that the paintings after which the prints were made would have survived.

Figs. 301-310. Yosa Buson, Sanjû-rokkasen. Ten double leaves from my copy, earliest edition, printed in ink only, colored by hand.

Figs. 311-336. Satô Suiseki, Suiseki Gafu nihen (Part II): Flowers and Birds. Twenty-five double leaves photographed from Ravicz's complete and fine copy of this great book. For some reason, the leaf with swallows (Fig. 337 below) is left out.

Figs. 337, 338. Two double leaves from the same book, one corresponding with a Ravicz leaf, the other (swallows) making up the missing leaf from that, from reproductions (Hillier).

Figs. 339-340. Two leaves from Satô Suiseki, Suiseki gafu, ichihen (Part I), Figures. From my own copy. Fine book also, but not such a knockout as Part II.

Figs. 340A, 340B. Painting by Satô Suiseki, and detail. Used to make the point that paintings by these gafu artists, when we can find them, are frequently far less interesting than their printed books.

Figs. 341, 342. Two leaves from my copy of Minchô seidô gaen--cf. Figs 205, 206 above. This is a Japanese book, supposedly based on a no-longer-extant Chinese original. Some of the coloring was done by the kappa-zuri method: applying colors by brush through stencils. Hillier didn't think my copy was especially early or fine.

Figs. 343-346. Four double leaves from Sôkyûshi, Kishi Empu. Cf, Figs 223-228 above. From reproductions in Hillier; not from originals.

Figs. 347-348, 348a. Three double leaves from Kameda Bôsai, Kyôchôzan. Cf. Figs 219, 220. From my copy.

Figs. 349-356. Eight double leaves from Kawamura Kihô, Kafuku nimpitsu, cf. Figs 214-218 above. From my copy. Wonderful work. To realize the super-sophistication of this—the figure half cut-off at the top of the picture, the completely controlled clutter and dishevelment, the brilliantly idiomatic use of woodblock—think of what was going on in European printing—indeed, European figure composition—in 1809.

Figs. 357-359. Three double leaves from Goshun, Shin Hana-tsumi. From my copy. The third follows on the second, and illustrates my point, see above, about how the designers of gafu create sequences that can only be appreciated by someone holding the book and turning the pages—here, a group of villagers, and a straggler lagging behind on the following page.

Figs. 360-368, nine leaves from Hôchû, Kôrin gafu, cf. Fig 221 above. From Ravicz copy, first printing? Some tarashikomi (dropped-in puddling) done by hand.

Figs. 370-373. Four leaves from my copy, later, of same book. (One leaf, deer, somehow missing from Ravisz series.)

Figs. 374-376. Painted fan by Hôchû, and two details, showing tarashikomi technique in painting, for comparison.

Fig 377. Double leaf from Onishi Chinnen, Sonan gafu, 1834. My copy. Cf. Keyes p. 217.

Figs. 378, 379. Two double leaves from Sakai Hôitsu, Oson gafu, 1817.

Figs. 380, 383 Four double leaves from Issô hyakutai. 1874? after sketchbook by Watanabe Kazan (Fill in later). Two from reproduction, two from book.

Figs. 384, 385.Two double leaves from Kôrin gashiki, 1818. My copy.

Figs. 386, 387. Two double leaves from Shôkadô gafu? Uncertain.

Figs. 388, 389. Leaf from Chikutô gafu, 1812, landscape "in manner of Huang Gongwang"; and painting by Nakabayashi Chikutô "in manner of Huang Gongwang" (Clark Center, Hanford, California).

Figs. 390-394. Five double leaves from Wakan gasoku, 1776. This is a good example of the kind of "instruction manual" for painting in the Chinese style, discussed in my Hillier review above, that attempts (with considerable success) to reproduce the shaded and rough or broken brushwork of painting in woodblock. These precede the full development of gafu that exhibit truly idiomatic woodblock style, independent of painting.

(3/27/09: Tom Ebrey sends me biblio. for Shizhuzhai with many more books. I  might try to get, from library?

Ferency, M. (Ed.) The Ten Bamboo Studio: Ancient Rare Books with Block Printing and other Treasures from the Collection of the National Library of China, National Szechenyi Library, Budapest, 2003

Luo, Shubao An Illustrated History of Printing in Ancient China, City University of Hong Kong Press, Hong Kong,1998

Addendum, 2010:

- Clarissa von Spee, ed., The Printed Image in China: From the 8th to the 21st Centuries. Exhibition Cat., British Museum, 2010. Very important exhibition, with good essays by von Spee, Tom Ebrey (on Shizhuzhai), Hiromitsu Kobayashi (on 18th century Suzhou prints), Anne Farrer (on recent printmaking at the China National Academy in Hangzhou.) Especially important among the prints exhibited are nos. 24 to 29, popular Suzhou prints of the 18th century from a group of "about seventy" (!) previously unknown & unpublished prints in the British Museum. These change somewhat my observation, above, about how nothing much of high quality color-woodblock printing was produced in China after the early Qing period (Jiezuyuan series). They should all be published, in a separate publication!

Note also the important conference on The Colour Print in China held at Sotheby's in London, to be published? Participants, titles and abstracts of papers are on the web at sothebysinstitute.com/abstracts.html.

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