Install Theme

Woodblock printed “painting manual” (Meihua hsishen pu), printed 1230, reprinted 1260, China.

shows the close relation between painting, calligraphy and woodblock printing:

Maggie Bickford points to the ways in which the images of the plum blossoms “imitate brush strokes” and “observe the formal conventions of calligraphy as applied to the art of ink-plum painting.” 1 This is especially noticeable when the carver indicates that the brush ought to be picked up when it traces one branch across another.2 As an instruction manual the shape of brush strokes and the breaking of strokes to prevent the overlap of ink are helpful clues to the painter, but they are not actually necessary in a wood cut.3

1 Bickford, 174-175. 2 Bickford, 174. 3 Bickford,  175.

Bickford, Maggie. “Stirring the Pot of State: the Sung Picture-book Mei-hua His-shen P’u and its Implications for Yuan Scholar-painting.” Asia Major vol 4.2, 1993.