|Current List 209A
Aiko Gyoso (Maekawa Bunzo comp.):
Arce, Dr. Jose; drawings by Schiff:
Argence, Rene-Yvon Lefebvre d':
Art Institute of Chicago; Wang Tao ed:
Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology, Beijing University:
Wang Qi and Wang Siyi comp; Huang Sheng revised: SANCAI TUHUI: RENWU JUAN 5-14. (Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms: People: Parts 5-14). 三才圖會: 人物 卷 5-14。王圻 王思義 編輯。雲間元韓父王圻編集。潭濱黃晟東曙氏重校. N.p. (Huizhou?), n.d.(early Qianlong reign). Various paginations of folded leaves. A total of 499 full page b/w woodcut illustrations as follows: Juan 5: 26 full page portrait illustrations; Juan 6: 46 full page portrait illustrations; Juan 7: 39 full page portrait illustrations; Juan 8: 49 full page portrait illustrations; Second Juan 8 (juan you ba): 29 full page portrait illustrations plus family tree style diagrams; Juan 9 and 10 fascicle : 98 full page illustrations of deities and mythical creatures; Juan 11 and 12 fascicle: 72 full page illustrations of deities and people from legends; Juan 13 and 14 fascicle:140 full page illustrations of strange and mythical peoples and creatures. 8 vols. 25x16 cm. Stitched.
The famous and rare encyclopaedia work, Sancai Tuhui, was compiled during the Wanli reign of the Ming dynasty by Wang Qi with assistance from his son, Wang Siyi. The three realms are Heaven, Earth and Humanity. It was completed in 1607 and published two years later in 1609 (Wanli 37). There were two Wanli versions, the first printed in 1609 and then a slightly later revised edition also viewed as being printed in 1609. It was divided into 14 sections.
However, the title page of each juan mentions revisions (chongjiao) by one Huang Sheng. Huang Sheng was active in the late Kangxi and early Qianlong reigns of the Qing dynasty. He came from Huizhou in Anhui province and was a member of a later generation of the well-known Huang family of woodcut artists and printers active in the late Ming and on through the first half of the Qing dynasty. Huang Sheng was a wealthy salt merchant interested in traditional culture and thus, presumably, with his family connections and access, commissioned revised editions of a number of Ming illustrated works, including, as here, the Sancai Tuhui. The revisions seem confined to the list of contents as the main body of the work near exactly matches the original Ming edition.
We offer juan 5-14 from the renwu (people) section of the work in eight physical volumes. Juan 1-4 are not present. The renwu section finishes with juan 14. The renwu section comprises images with accompanying biographies or descriptions of famous people from Chinese history, together with deities and inhabitants of lands beyond China (juan 12-14). These illustrations and descriptions of strange peoples, fabulous creatures and foreigners are of particular note and are based on illustrations in at least two other famous Ming illustrated works, one being the Shanhai Jing (The Classic of Mountains and Seas). However, the illustrations here are much finer and larger than in the c.1600 Wanli editions of Shanhai Jing and may be based on earlier Ming editions. Secondly, the Luochong Lu (A Record of Naked Insects), which showed real and imaginary peoples from beyond China's borders (the illustrations here based on the 1593 edition?).
All eight fascicles have black-and-white woodblock illustrations throughout, many beautifully executed and which thus attest to the skill and achievement of woodblock printing in the late Ming dynasty. There are a total of 499 full page black-and-white woodcut illustrations, which is extraordinary in itself but even more extraordinary when one considers that this is but one small part of the work. A massive undertaking!
The woodblocks themselves all exhibit wear to the blocks similar to editions of the 1609 Sancai Tuhui held in major libraries. The text part of the fascicles also conform to the accepted format of the work; 9 columns with a maximum of 22 characters per column and surrounded by paper margins on all sides. The actual size of the printed area also conforms: 20.9 x 13.5 cm. Later covers and stitching. All text in Chinese
Thus we view this as being an early Qianlong edition using the original Ming woodblocks.
Condition wise, these volumes are generally in good condition. There is minor worming to a couple of volumes but most are clean. The occasional slight loss or tear and the occasional repair. Good ink impression to the images. Given their age, remarkably satisfactory. The covers each have an ink inscription in copperplate writing in English giving (somewhat erroneously) the overall content of each volume. These inscriptions have a distinct 19th century feel to them.
Very rare and near impossible to obtain even a single volume of an early edition of this work outside China. Even in China, a true rarity.
Zhongguo Guji Shanben Zongmu p.1071 for listing of the two Wanli versions.
Dictionary of Ming Biography pp. 1355-1356 (Wang Qi)
Science and Civilisation on China Vol. 5 Part I pp. 266-269
Zhongguo Shanben Shu Tiya p. 380.
Huang Sheng: https://www.zgbk.com/ecph/words?SiteID=1&ID=601718&Type=bkztb&SubID=1009
Subjects: Illustrated Books Rare Books
Item 86 in List 209.
URL for this record: hanshan.com/?w/WANST8.HTM
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