Anita Wang, Wang Xiaoming, has pointed out some mistakes in my previous entry and has also contributed some very pertinent information which warrants an article of its own.
I made a mistake in transcribing the signature on the print of the Afang Palace, writing gu su shi jia juan guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇史家卷管瑞玉藏板 whereas it should be gu su shi jia xiang guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇史家巷管瑞玉藏板. Now corrected.
Umi Art Museum should read Umi Mori Art Museum, now corrected.
These are Anita’s words, with slight editing on my part:
“According to the Suzhou Gazetteer, Suzhou Fuzhi苏州府志, Shijia xiang 史家巷 was the name of a street located in central Suzhou nearby Daxin xiang 大新巷 Church, and this indicates the influence of Catholic activity in the area.
Furthermore, in the collection of the Umi Mori Art Museum another print, which forms the pair with the print Afang Palace, has the following written on the top: Yufeng Guanlian Xieyu Yanyun Ju 玉峰管联写于研云居
The print Hangong Palace 汉宫春晓图 in your collection has a similar inscription Yufeng Guanlian Xieyu Yunshui Ge 玉峰管联写于云水阁 which indicates Yanyun Ju 研云居 and Yunshui Ge 云水阁 are possibly both the workshops of the artist Guanlian 管联, and Guanlian might be the courtesy name of Guan Ruiyu 管瑞玉.”
I think these observations give us a broader perspective on the activities of the print studios, and geographically anchors Guan Ruiyü’s studio around the corner from the main Taohuawu Street.
Anita continues to write:
“I think these black and white prints were not the complete version selling in Chinese market, they were meant to be painted with colours like the print Pingyuan Weilie (平原圍獵).
In Chinese tradition, the uncoloured prints were definitely not popular to be used as the house wall decorations, they were possibly only bought by European merchants.”
Also a very interesting observation. Presumably an uncoloured print would be cheaper to purchase than a coloured one.
Dating of the Chaloner prints
We do not have the benefit of a date on the Chaloner or Douce prints, but if one is allowed to make a comparison with another print in a private Japanese collection we arrive to about the 1730s. This print, entitled tai xi wu ma tu 泰西五马图 or Western Picture of Five Horses, shows all the same traits as the Chaloner and Douce prints – view of West Lake, similar size, western style copper engraving imitation, etc.
This print is dated 壬子, which is equivalent to the 10th year of the yongzheng reign, or 1732. It should be mentioned that a Japanese exhibition catalogue dates this print to 17921 but I believe, as do two recent Chinese publications2, that it belongs to the first half of the eighteenth century.
Thank you, Anita, and I hope to receive more comments and contributions from other readers.
- Aoki, S., Kobayashi, H., & Machida Shiritsu Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan. (1995). “Chūgoku no yōfūga” ten: Minmatsu kara Shin jidai no kaiga, hanga, sashiebon. Tōkyō-to Machida-shi: Machida Shiritsu Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan. 中国の洋風画」展:明末から清時代の絵画、版画、挿絵本, 東京:町田市立国際版 画美術館, item 122. ↩︎
- 中国木版年画集成·日本藏品卷, p.112 and 康乾盛世－蘇州版, p.26 ↩︎