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Chinese Woodblock Prints

Sept 17, 2016 - Jan 09, 2017 Boone Gallery

Gardens, Art, and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints

Gardens, Art, and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints

VERSO: Chinese Poetry, Painting, and Gardens | Video | Catalog | Press Release

 

Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting

 


Pomegranate and Magnolia with Bird, Qing dynasty, ca. 1700–1750. Artist: Ding Liangxian. Publisher: Jinchang district, Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Woodblock print with embossing, ink and colors on paper (multi-block technique with hand-coloring), 11 7/8 × 14 3/4 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photograph © 2016 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Pomegranate and Magnolia with Bird, Qing dynasty, ca. 1700–1750. Artist: Ding Liangxian. Publisher: Jinchang district, Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Woodblock print with embossing, ink and colors on paper (multi-block technique with hand-coloring), 11 7/8 × 14 3/4 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photograph © 2016 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

This major international loan exhibition explores the art, craft, and cultural significance of Chinese woodblock prints made during their golden age, from the late 16th through the 19th century. Bringing together 48 of the best examples gathered from the National Library of China, Beijing; the Nanjing Library; the Shanghai Museum; and institutional and private collections in the United States, “Gardens, Art, and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints” features delicate works with painterly textures and subtle colors depicting plants, birds, and other garden elements alongside monumental accounts of sprawling, architecturally elaborate “scholar’s gardens.” A highlight of the exhibition is The Huntington’s rare edition of the Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (ca. 1633–1703), acquired in 2014, and on public view for the first time. The exhibition unites several interests at The Huntington, the home of one of the most extensive collections of early printed books in the nation, various collections of prints by European and American artists, and one of the largest and most authentic Chinese scholar’s gardens outside of China. It tells the story of how, during the late Ming (1368–1644) and early Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties, consumer demand for the printed word and image increased as merchants and scholars sought to display their taste in drama, poetry, literature, and art. Gardens also were central to a cultured life, appearing frequently in woodblock prints. Several centers of printing around the lower Yangzi River delta grew in reputation during the last decades of the Ming dynasty, and a golden age of Chinese pictorial printing began. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with curator essays. 

 

Exhibition Catalog

Gardens, Art, and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock PrintsGardens, Art, and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints
Authors: T. June Li and Suzanne E. Wright

$49.95

 

The fully illustrated catalog features contributions by exhibition co-curators T. June Li and Suzanne E. Wright. Li details the origins and provenance of the Huntington’s Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, a landmark of multi-block color printing, with particular emphasis on its appeal to 18th- and 19th-century Japanese collectors. Wright traces the development of three distinct regional styles of woodblock-printed illustrations during the late Ming dynasty, with striking examples of each style drawn from the exhibition. Available at the Huntington Store or online.

 

 

 

 

Images

Persimmon and tangerines, with calligraphy in running cursive script by Xing Yi, Fruit 9, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Persimmon and tangerines, with calligraphy in running cursive script by Xing Yi, Fruit 9, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Illustration from Rare Edition of the Northern Story of the Western Chamber, Corrected by Zhang Shenzhi, Ming dynasty, 1639. Compiler and editor: Zhang Daojun (d. 1642). Artist: Chen Hongshou (1599–1652). Carver: Xiang Nanzhou (act. mid-17th century). Woodblock-printed book, ink on paper, 11 × 6 3/4 in., each page. National Library of China.

Illustration from Rare Edition of the Northern Story of the Western Chamber, Corrected by Zhang Shenzhi, Ming dynasty, 1639. Compiler and editor: Zhang Daojun (d. 1642). Artist: Chen Hongshou (1599–1652). Carver: Xiang Nanzhou (act. mid-17th century). Woodblock-printed book, ink on paper, 11 × 6 3/4 in., each page. National Library of China.

 


Illustration from Story of the Peony Pavilion and the Return of the Soul, Ming dynasty, 1617. Carvers: Huang Dexiu (1580–1652), Huang Yikai (1580–1622), Huang Yifeng (b. 1583), and Huang Yibin (b. 1581). Woodblock-printed book, ink on paper, Vol. I, 10 3/4 × 6 1/2 in.; Vol. II, 10 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. each page. Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library.

Illustration from Story of the Peony Pavilion and the Return of the Soul, Ming dynasty, 1617. Carvers: Huang Dexiu (1580–1652), Huang Yikai (1580–1622), Huang Yifeng (b. 1583), and Huang Yibin (b. 1581). Woodblock-printed book, ink on paper, Vol. I, 10 3/4 × 6 1/2 in.; Vol. II, 10 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. each page. Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library.

 


“Morning Mist by the Western Ridge,” Thirty-Six Imperial Views of the Mountain Estate for Escaping the Heat, Qing dynasty, 1714. Artist and engraver: Matteo Ripa, also known as Ma Guoxian (1682–1746), copied from design by Shen Yu (1649–after 1728). Publisher: Imperial imprint, Beijing. Book of copperplate engravings, ink on paper, 12 1/2 × 73/8 in., each page. The Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Walter Silver.

“Morning Mist by the Western Ridge,” Thirty-Six Imperial Views of the Mountain Estate for Escaping the Heat, Qing dynasty, 1714. Artist and engraver: Matteo Ripa, also known as Ma Guoxian (1682–1746), copied from design by Shen Yu (1649–after 1728). Publisher: Imperial imprint, Beijing. Book of copperplate engravings, ink on paper, 12 1/2 × 73/8 in., each page. The Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Walter Silver.

 


Scenes from Story of the Western Chamber: The Complete Version, Qing dynasty, 1747. Publisher: Peach Blossom Cove, Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Hand-colored woodblock print mounted as hanging scroll, ink on paper, 38 1/4 × 19 7/8 in. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Photo: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Scenes from Story of the Western Chamber: The Complete Version, Qing dynasty, 1747. Publisher: Peach Blossom Cove, Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Hand-colored woodblock print mounted as hanging scroll, ink on paper, 38 1/4 × 19 7/8 in. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Photo: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

 


Detail from Illustrations of the Garden Scenery of the Hall of Encircling Jade, Ming dynasty, ca. 1602–5. Artist: Qian Gong (ca. 1573–1620). Carver: Huang Yingzu (b. 1563). Publisher: Wang Tingna (ca. 1569–after 1628), Wang Family Hall of Encircling Jade, Huizhou. Photolithographic reproduction of woodblock-printed handscroll, 1981, made from metal plates created in the 1960s, Beijing, 13 7/8 × 10 1/2 in. Collection of Richard Strassberg.

Detail from Illustrations of the Garden Scenery of the Hall of Encircling Jade, Ming dynasty, ca. 1602–5. Artist: Qian Gong (ca. 1573–1620). Carver: Huang Yingzu (b. 1563). Publisher: Wang Tingna (ca. 1569–after 1628), Wang Family Hall of Encircling Jade, Huizhou. Photolithographic reproduction of woodblock-printed handscroll, 1981, made from metal plates created in the 1960s, Beijing, 13 7/8 × 10 1/2 in. Collection of Richard Strassberg.

 


Two rocks, with calligraphy in seal script by He Guangxiu, Rock 7, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Two rocks, with calligraphy in seal script by He Guangxiu, Rock 7, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


“In the Manner of Wen Zhengming’s Orchids in Rain” (left) and “In the Manner of Shen Zhou’s Orchids in Clear Weather” (right), Orchid 8 and 7, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

“In the Manner of Wen Zhengming’s Orchids in Rain” (left) and “In the Manner of Shen Zhou’s Orchids in Clear Weather” (right), Orchid 8 and 7, Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period to early Qing dynasty, ca. 1633–1703. Compiled and edited by Hu Zhengyan (1584/5–1673/4). Woodblock-printed book mounted as album leaves, ink and colors on paper, 9 7/8 × 11 1/4 in., each sheet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Illustrations of the Grand Birthday Celebration of the Kangxi Emperor, Qing dynasty, 1715–17. Artists: Wang Yuanqi (1642–1715), Leng Mei (act. 1677–1742), and others. Publisher: Imperial Household, Beijing. Woodblock-printed book mounted as handscroll, ink on paper, 13 1/8 × 984 in. Shanghai Museum.

Illustrations of the Grand Birthday Celebration of the Kangxi Emperor, Qing dynasty, 1715–17. Artists: Wang Yuanqi (1642–1715), Leng Mei (act. 1677–1742), and others. Publisher: Imperial Household, Beijing. Woodblock-printed book mounted as handscroll, ink on paper, 13 1/8 × 984 in. Shanghai Museum.

 


Support for this exhibition was provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Richard A. Simms, The Constance Hotel, and The Ahmanson Foundation Exhibition and Education Endowment.


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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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