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Ten Bamboo Studio Print

Lu Hanyun, Chinese, b. 17th century

Creation date: 1643
Creation place: China

Other Information

Type: Woodblock
Medium and Support: Woodblock
Credit Line: Museum purchase through the Alice Klauber Memorial Fund of the Asian Arts Council, 1955
Accession Number: 1955.102.126
Dimensions: 9 5/8 in. x 11 1/8 in. (24.45 cm x 28.26 cm)
Currently on view

Label Copy

June 2005
Tastes in Asian Art Installation
The six wood block prints on view here are from the Ten Bamboo Studio Painting and Calligraphy Handbook, the best known of the early color-printed block books published in China and the first of the painting manuals to use color. The first edition of the Ten Bamboo Studio Handbook was published in 1627, and consisted of sixteen volumes on eight different subjects, the most celebrated being plum, orchid, bamboo, rock, and fruit. Although these volumes could conceivably be used to study painting, they are primarily objects of beauty enjoyed among Chinese scholars. It is likely that the copy in the Museum's collection follows the later 1643 edition.
The handbook was originally commissioned by Hu Zhengyan, who was an amateur calligrapher, painter, and seal carver. Engaged in a printing business in Nanjing city, he befriended many late Ming scholar-artists in the area. It was his understanding of literati aesthetics and the cultural milieu from which he came that led him into making such pioneering prints of delicate cut, refined lines, and harmoniously blended colors.
Of the eight subjects of the Ten Bamboo Studio Handbook, the plum and bamboo manuals-from which most of these prints are taken-are of the finest quality. Flowering plum and bamboo branches have been favorite subjects of scholar-artists since the Song dynasty. The first to blossom in harsh winter, plum trees are seen as an emblem of the moral rectitude possessed by Chinese scholars, while the hollow bamboo stems symbolize their humble, gentlemanly qualities.
Last Updated: 1/6/2022


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Tastes in Asian Art Rotation , 5/28/2005 - 11/6/2005

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Showing 16 of 20

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