Sun Jianai et al. ed: QINDING SHUJING TUSHUO. (Imperially-Commissioned Illustrated Edition of the Classic of History). Tianjin, 2007. Various pagings of folded leaves, Chinese-style, 50 juan in 16 ce. 511 fine lithographic illustrations with imagery, plus 23 maps printed in black & red, and 32 charts & tables. 16 vols. 33x22 cm. Stitched, cloth cases.
A faithful and well-produced facsimile of the most famous example of late Qing period imperial lithographic book production.
The 'Shujing Tushuo' is an illustrated version of the 'Shujing' (also known as the 'Shangshu') or 'Classic of History', the earliest book in the Confucian canon, a collection of historical writings dating from the Western Zhou dynasty but also referring to earlier times. The text was considered a supreme authority on early Chinese history and knowledge of its contents was essential for the Civil Service examinations. The 'Shujing' has been published in hundreds of editions over the centuries. Illustrated editions were often very high-class or, as in this case, imperial educational textbooks (in fact, the editor was involved in the Palace School for Princes and as a tutor of the emperor in his earlier career). This edition stands out in that it was produced by imperial decree of the Guangxu emperor and is copiously illustrated with a total of almost 600 illustrations, charts and maps. Although traditional in format, the illustrations highlight certain advances in qualities of reproduction that the technology of lithography brought to Chinese printing at the end of the Qing dynasty. The most delicate detail is clearly reproduced. The work stands as the prime example of lithographic publication produced in the Wuyingdian Imperial press located in the Forbidden City. According to the Bibliotheque Nationale catalogue, 'Impressions de Chine' it may well have been the final publication of the Wuyingdian before the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911.
The first-named editor Sun Jianai (1827-1909) was an important scholar and official and a reforming Director of Educational Affairs during the Guangxu reign. He was also the first president of the institution which became Beijing University, and a Daxueshi of the Wuyingdian itself in 1907. Sun oversaw a team of some 20 people dedicated to the production of this work. All text in Chinese.
See: Bibliotheque Nationale: Impressions de Chine, exhibit 10 page 25. Hummel, 673-5.
Subjects: Rare Books
Available, as of: 19/05/2017
Was item 595 in printed List 188.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.