Home > Asian Art, International, Museums/Galleries > Chinese prints at the British Museum

Chinese prints at the British Museum

Most of us have heard about Japanese  color woodblock prints, vibrant pictures of actors, beautiful women, wrestlers and landscapes —- but Chinese prints??

I have handled 20th century popular Chinese prints of deities and mythological animals, made for special occasions like the New Year or to convey happiness and prosperity. A recent article in Orientation Magazine, May 2010, deals with one of the most comprehensive collection of Chinese prints at the British Museum and its sister institutions, the British Library, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Muban Educational Trust. An exhibition is at the British Museum from May 6th to September 5th displaying prints from the Tang dynasty (618-907) to the present. The article presents a survey of the different types and schools of Chinese prints, from two colors to a wide spectrum of colors, from woodblock prints to copper plate engravings.  Two of my favorite pieces are  a scroll size woodblock print of  the One Hundred Children theme, from 1743, and a modern print by Wu Jide, from 1984, showing two men smoking, drinking tea and chatting in a room. The magazine has four articles on Chinese prints – let me know if you cannot find the magazine.


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