Rongbaozhai: SHIZHUZHAI JIANPU. (Decorative Letter Papers from the Ten Bamboo Studio). Beijing, 1952. 17 leaves with text, 142 folded leaves with colour woodcuts on both sides, many with embossing (gauffrage). A total of 267 illustrations. 4 vols. 31x22 cm. Stitched, in brocade covered case.
A superb example of the fine colour woodblock printing by Rongbaozhai in Beijing, here exercised in this highly-regarded 1952 facsimile reproduction of beautiful letter papers from the late Ming dynasty 'Ten Bamboo Studio', attributed to the Ming master, Hu Zhengyan. The work was first published at the end of the Ming dynasty, presumably in a very small edition. It seems that the blocks did not survive. In the early 20th century, partial copies or single sheets from the edition were discovered and new blocks cut to reproduce the letter papers for commercial sale. A small edition, based on these recut letter papers, was published in 1934. It is said that a complete copy was discovered in China in the 1940s and this 1952 edition here offered was prepared from it. However, the prefaces of this edition refer back to the 1934 edition... so, as with all early Chinese illustrated books, the publishing history is complex and uncertain. This edition is regarded as the finest and one of the greatest examples of Chinese colour printing of the 20th century using many different techniques, including gauffrage. Text in Chinese. An excellent copy of this work, rare in any edition. Images available on request.
Item 567 in List 204.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.