杭州市 (Hangzhou): 集雅齋 (Ji ya zhai), ca 1573-1627. First edition. Softcover. Small folios. 12.5x8.5". Unpaginated. Four softcover volumes housed in a dark blue cloth portfolio, with a pink paper label on the front cover and bone fasteners. Softcover volumes in dark blue paper wrappers, with gold string-tied bindings. French-fold leaves. The volumes have been rebound, with the original sheets re-backed onto newer paper, with some marginal loss.
The collection contains the first 4 vols, of a total of 8, published during the reigns of the Wanli Emperor (萬曆年間) (1572-1620) and the emperor Tian Qi (天啓年間) (1621-1627) containing poetry, calligraphy and painting. The gorgeous woodblock prints in b/w and the masterful calligraphy of this late Ming-era collection are based on work of Tang-era poets, including 王維 (Wang Wei), 元稹 (Yaun Zhen), 李白 (Lee Bai), 杜甫 (Du Fu), and 白居易 (Bai Juyi). The first three volumes, contain calligraphy by noted artists 董其昌 (Dong Qichang) and 陳繼儒 (Chen Jiru). Most of the illustrations, which feature landscapes, figures, and other detailed natural imagery, are by 蔡冲寰 (Cai Chong Huan) with the woodblock printing done by engraver 劉次泉 (Liu Ci Quan).
We have compared our set to three digitized copies and have found a number of discrepancies. According to the work of a Chinese graduate student at Nanjing Normal University in 2014, the original first editions of the work were printed without any publisher's information or table of contents*, corresponding to the state of our own copy. This fact and some other differences lead us to believe that our volumes are from the first edition (printed sometime between 1573-1627). Our copy was compared to a reported first edition held by the Yenching Institute, at Harvard University, and another at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong copy has been stated to have been printed in 1620 making it a first edition, although we believe it is in fact a later copy, based on its similarities to a third digitized copy at Guang Ming Zhi Men (www.gmzm.org), which seems to be the most complete.
The content of our copy is as follows*:
Vol.1, 五言唐詩畫譜 (Wu yen tang shi hua pu) contains poems in the five-syllable form (五絕). Our copy has 45 poems on a total of 47 leaves. The initial two leaves are an incomplete prologue, lacking one additional leaf.
Vol.2, 六言唐詩畫譜 (Liu yen tang shi hua pu) contains poems in the six-syllable form (六絕). Our copy has 60 poems on a total of 54 leaves. The initial two leaves are an incomplete prologue, lacking one additional leaf.
Vol.3, 七言唐詩畫譜 (Qi yen tang shi hua pu) contains poems in the seven-syllable form (七絕). Our copy has 41 poems on 41 total leaves.
Vol.4, 梅蘭竹菊四譜 (Mei lan ju zhu si pu) contains poems of the "Four Gentlemen" or the "Four Noble Ones", a term that compares the four Confucian archetypes of men (君子) to 4 plant species: the plum blossom, the orchid, the bamboo, and the chrysanthemum. Our copy has 4 poems, two of which should be in vol.1, and two that should be in vol.3. This volume has total of 50 leaves (46 + our 4 additional poems).
The discrepancies are as follows:
The poems in the Yenching copy are mis-bound, combining and mixing content, as there are many six-syllable poems in the first volume and many five-syllable poems in the second. Their copy also contains an incomplete table of contents in the second volume, which is missing from our copy. All volumes of the Yenching copy contain publisher's information that is missing from our copy.
The Hong Kong University Library copy has 6 poems in the first volume, not present in our copy, while lacking one poem present in our copy. The second volume has a poem not present in our copy, while lacking 11 present in our copy. Vol.3 has 11 poems not present in our copy and is lacking 2 poems present in our copy. All volumes have a table of contents and publisher's information at the front, none of which are present in our copy.
Text in Chinese.
Portfolio with some light smudges and some minor damp staining and abrasions to the cloth. Top and bottom right corners of the front flap lightly rubbed, with some minor bumping along the top edges. Pink paper label on the front with some scribbling in pen and pencil. Interior of portfolio with some notes in ink from the pervious owner, and some light cracking and abrasions in to the white paper lining. Wrappers of the individual volumes with some writing in pencil and some creasing. Wrappers of vol.1 with the gold string-tied binding coming loose at the bottom of the front cover and a small closed tear at the right edge. Interiors of the volumes 1 & 3 with water staining to the top half of the pages throughout, vols. 2 & 4 with less. Some smudges throughout. Portfolio in good+ to very good-, wrappers in very good-, and interiors in good- to good condition overall. g- to vg-. Item #41259
* "唐诗画谱研究" (Tang Shi Hua Pu, Study) by 石张燕 (Shi Zhang Yen), Nanjing Normal University, 2014. In the graduate dissertation, Shi discusses research in comparing copies of the first edition to those of the later 1672 edition, both held at Peking University library, finding that copies of original edition were lacking publisher's information or a table of contents. *www.gmzm.org Guang Ming Zhi Men, 1672 edition. Content organization of vols.1-4 is based on the table of contents of this copy.