Publications and reproductions

5. Colour and full-scale reproductions of painting and calligraphy

Most of the books listed above have acceptable reproductions to assist the reader. However, the images are typically much smaller than the original paintings. This is a problem in view of the great importance of brushstroke and gesture in literati painting. It is therefore especially valuable to seek larger – preferably 1:1 scale – reproductions. Colour and ink-tone are also often imprecisely printed, so good printing quality is also important.

  • Nigensha reproductions. Full-scale, mounted reproductions of selected masterpieces in the Taipei Palace Museum, these Japanese prints are far and away the best reproductions of Chinese Classical painting. This is 99% like having the real thing, and having one of these allows sustained experience of great art. Available individually and in small sets from suppliers world-wide. The only limit here is the number of pieces in the catalogue (about 100) and the relative expense of each piece. Catalogue and world-wide contacts at:

  • Museum catalogues. Several of the museums in Greater China have produced excellent large format books on their collections. These include the Beijing Palace Museum (中国历代绘画 8 volumes; comprehensive but somewhat mediocre printing), Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Museum, Taipei Palace Museum (multi-volume sets on both painting and calligraphy - those on calligraphy are printed far better and more often 1:1 scale), and the Hong Kong Museum of Art (on the Xu Bai Zhai collection of Ming and Qing painting and calligraphy; organised by format – such as ‘vertical scroll’ – these books are very well printed.)