Lot 101
The Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden (Jieziyuan Huazhuan), Orchids
Lot Details & Additional Photographs
18th century, woodblock printed on homemade paper, part two, the book of Orchids, soft cover bound to right hand side.

Purchased in South Korea in the 1970s.

Each page 10 1/4 x 6 1/2 in.

The Collection of a Gentleman, North Carolina and South Korea

The Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden is a classic and highly regarded standard of painting technique created during the 17th century in China. Shen Xinyou collected the teaching materials of the Chinese painter Li Liufang (1575-1629) and commissioned Wang Gai (1645-1707) to design a painting manual around these instructions, with a preface by Xinyou’s father-in-law, the renewed connoisseur Li Yu.

Wang Gai produced the first part of the Mustard Seed Garden Manual in five books and then in 1701 with the help of his brothers Wang Shi and Wang Nie, Wang Gai published the second part, which included four books on how to paint orchids, bamboos, plum blossoms and chrysanthemums. The third and last section came also in four books and created in collaboration with his brothers, examining the methods of flowering plants, herbs, insects, birds and animals.

In each of these three parts, an introduction summarized the guiding principles, followed by illustrated explanations of the painting methods and concluded with copies of works by famous artists. The Mustard Seed Garden Manual served as a clear, structured and highly didactic teaching document. The popularity of the manual spread to Korea and Japan during the 18th century with many re-printings of the original manuals.

Extensive wear with loses to cover; toning to pages; corners and edges with wear; some of interior pages have areas of burn marks and damage; some paintings with artist's seals cut out of page; some water staining to center of pages throughout, more noticeable to interior pages.

$2,000 - 4,000