Chen Yunsheng: RENZHAI HUASHENG. (The Painting Achievements of Chen Yunsheng). Yongshang, 1876. T.p., , 16, 16; 16, 16, 16; , 16, 16; 16, 16, 16,  folded leaves, Chinese-style. Portrait (in first group of leaves) and 160 b/w woodcut reproductions of painting designs. 4 vols. 30x18 cm. Stitched.
Chen Yunsheng (1820-84) was one of a group of late Qing period painters from the Shanghai area who defined and redefined the painting of the time and, in particular, its relationship to book illustration and publishing. Jonathan Hay discusses this work in his 'Painting and Publishing in Late Nineteenth-century Shanghai' ('Phoebus' 8, pp. 134-88) where he identifies it as the earliest example of a 'Shanghai single-artist huapu (collection of paintings)'.
Chen's works are fairly traditional-style landscapes but executed in a clean, articulate line that seems to owe something to the traditions of book illustration emerging at the time. Designs in the first two physical volumes are portrait in format and those in the latter two are landscape. The work is illustrated throughout with black-and-white woodcuts. The first volume contains an excellent portrait of the artist by his famous colleague, Ren Yi (1840-96), who was renowned for his portraiture.
This is the first edition of the work and is a fine clean copy. The constituent fascicles have their original paper covers with cloth edges to tops and bottoms of the spines, and the printed impression is good. Illustrated throughout the four volumes with a total of 160 full page black-and-white woodcut illustrations. A very individual work.
Contained in the original wooden boards with some loss to the ribbons.
All text in Chinese. Rare.
Ref: Sibu Zonglu Yishu Bian, 317.
Subjects: Painting Rare Books
Available, as of: 19/05/2017
Was item 152 in printed List 187.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.