Clive Farahar Antiquarian Books - Rare and Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts

CHINA. An Album of 10 High Quality Pith Paintings including the Qing Emperor Daoguang and Empress Xiaojingcheng, and Courtiers,    [Canton 1830]
from the blue silk borders 12 x 8 ins. 305 x 205 mm. original woven silk covered binding, worn, spine repaired,
During the reign of Daoguang, the second Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong was leased to the British by the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, after the first Opium War which began in 1840. Pith comes from the central column of spongy cellular tissue in the stem of a small tree called Tetrapanax Papyrifera, native to south-west China. It has had a variety of uses, some going back many centuries. At the imperial court both men and women wore coloured flowers made from pith in their hair. For use in painting, it is cut by hand with a knife into thin sheets from short lengths of the spongy tissue. Cutting is highly skilled and the constraints of the process mean that the finished sheets for painting seldom, if ever, measure more than about 30cms by 20cms. The sheets are dried, trimmed and used for painting without any further processing.

Stock ref: 14252