76; 99 folding leaves (of which two in Vol. II are in manuscript, replacing missing printed leaves). Six parts in two vols. 8vo, modern wrappers (text leaves lightly browned), new stitching. [China]: Prefaces dated 1754 & 1756.
First edition, and very rare (not in WorldCat), of this collection of the poetry and prose of Ren Huang (1683-1768), one of “the foremost lyrical poets” (Ko, p. 92, see below) of the Guangdong region and a member of the artistic circle whose center was Gu Erniang, a famous woman inkstone carver whose shop was located in Zhuanszhu Lane in the imperial city of Suzhou. This collectors and scholars of this circle were both patrons and clients of Gu Erniang and, in fact, Ren’s main asset late in life was his collection of precious carved inkstones.
Ren (1683-1768), whose literary name was Xintian (or Shentian) Ren, was a native of Yongful county in Fujian. Born into a well-educated family of generations of government officials, he learned poetry and painting as a child. He received the juren degree in 1702 and served as a county magistrate in Sihui in Guangdong province.
Most of the poetry in this work is from manuscripts and appears here for the first time, whereas the essays and other prose writings were previously published. The second preface, dated 1754, is signed by Tingheng Xu, and the third preface, of 1756, is signed by Tiaoyuan Sang (1695-1771), scholar.
A nice set, but with two leaves of text replaced in early manuscript. Several natural paper flaws not touching text and mended. With the seal of Yosaburo Takekoshi (1865-1950), Japanese historian and politician. Preserved in a chitsu.
❧ Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones. Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China (2017).
Item ID: 7375