Han Meilin: TIAN SHU. The Sealed Book. Tianjin, 2007. 655 pp. Full page b/w calligraphy and reproductions of glyphs throughout. 42x28 cm. Cloth.
Uncannily, or perhaps, pointedly bearing the same name as the famous contemporary artist, Xu Bing's 'Tianshu' or 'Book from the Sky', this may also be seen as a work of language-driven conceptual art but, because it is presented in the context of relatively traditional calligraphy and epigraphy, it will be unlikely to be widely appreciated in the western art world. Over a period of 34 years, Han Meilin collected rare glyphs from early Chinese inscriptions of all kinds - from oracle bones to bronzes and stone carvings - particularly glyphs with figurative forms but regardless of whether these inscribed characters had been deciphered. He then assembled them in this extensive collation, occasionally intermingled with his own figurative additions. He has thus produced a mysterious 'Text from Heaven', one that is hard to place - creative epigraphy?, scholarship? art? craft? Highly interesting and graphically engaging. Prefaces and introductions in English. Main 'text' in Chinese. Very hard to find.
This is the deluxe 'artist's book' edition of a work that was published in 2007. The 'popular' paperback edition went out-of-print immediately. This is the first time we have been able to obtain this large format clothbound edition that is produced to a very high quality. Han Meilin was honoured with an exhibition at the National Museum of China at the end of 2011. He is highly regarded in China for his innovative calligraphy and his artistic accomplishment shines through in this work.
Available, as of: 13/03/2021
Was item 472 in printed List 199.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.