Those interested in Chinese popular art and blockprint illustration, in the history of Chinese popular culture, the theatre, popular history, folklore and mythology. It should also interest anyone involved in world graphics.
John Lust joined, after reading French literature, the library of SOAS, London University. He has translated modern Chinese poetry, published on early Chinese radicalism and the secret societies.
'John Lust is to be congratulated on his achievement in producing this pioneering study. It will stand as a work of reference for the future, and it is hoped that it will be the basis for many specialists studies which are necessary to develop our understanding of this fascinating field.'
Anne Farrer, Apollo, 1997.
'Chinese Popular Prints' ventures into the world of Chinese blockprint illustration that had its assured niche in the rich history of Chinese popular culture from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. These prints were not considered high art in China, but were produced for the urban and rural populations.
The book deals with all aspects of the Chinese popular print. In the first two chapters its invention, origins, powerful traditions and its history are described. Classical art and the Ming illustrated book were important impetuses. Three major centres of north and central China emerged. Finally the popular print took on something of the roles of the modern cinema or television.
In the following four chapters the main themes are: the printmakers and printshops; society, symbolism and visual pun; categories of popular prints and their display; technical terms. A description of the workshops and their techniques, figure drawing and colouring, gives a good insight in the technical side of the print. A varied popular culture and a certain realism are strands in it, as are spirit protection of the house, recalls of the past, hopes for the future, the hold of the theatre, etc.
Two elaborate appendices provide much detailed information about persons, symbols, as well as about some images in the lore of the print. A special section of 28 illustrations (8 full colour) demonstrates the potentialities of the Chinese blockprint illustration.
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