Wang Gai, Li Yu et al: JIEZIYUAN HUAZHUAN CHU JI. (The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting: First Collection (Part One)). N.p., Late 18th/early 19th century. 7, 23; 2, 40; 2, 45; 5, 47; 1, 41 folded leaves. Woodblock illustrations throughout, some coloured. 5 vols. 26x17 cm. Stitched.
GBP 4,200.00
The 'Jieziyuan Huazhuan' (Mustard Seed Garden Painting Manual) is China's best-known painting manual and was highly influential. It was first published in parts over a number of years and its bibliographic history is highly complex. The first edition of the first part has a printed date of Kangxi 18 i.e 1679 (reproduced in this edition) but, as the manual became popular, it spawned many editions (at least twenty) that were reproduced in varying qualities and formats. The better earlier editions, which include this one, have very fine multiblock, multicolour woodcut printing together with many black-and-white woodblock images.
This first part of the famous manual covers the art of painting trees, rocks, mountains, architecture, figures etc. All text in Chinese.
This copy does not correspond to any of the first three dated editions: Kangxi 1679, Qianlong 1782 or the Jiaqing 1800. However, it has none of the publisher names associated with later known 19th century editions. There exist earlier woodblock printed editions including reference in 'Sibu Zonglu Yishu Bian' to an undated Qianlong edition which we have not been able to examine and compare.
Given the age and feel of this work, and the fact that it is a good impression with subtle colours to the coloured woodblock images, we believe this is most likely to be an indeterminate late 18th century or, at the very latest, early 19th century edition.
Rare and of great interest.
Generally in good condition. Some foxing, at times heavy, as is usual. A copy that has obviously been well cared for, with protected title page and lined folded leaves.

Visible Traces: p. 79
Wood: Chinese Illustration. pp. 66-68.
Chiu: The Chieh Tzu Yuan Hua Chuan (Archives Chinese Art Society of America Vol. v 1951 pp. 55-69.)
Ding Fubao 'Sibu Zonglu Yishu Bian', shang, no. 39; xia, no. 838 et seq.
Subjects: Painting Illustrated Books
Available, as of: 12/02/2022
Was item 262 in printed List 202.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.