225 folding leaves. Three juan in one vol. 8vo, orig. yellow silk over wrappers, new stitching. [China]: Prefaces dated 1693, but a later printing.
This is a record of paintings and calligraphy by Gao Shiqi (1645-1703), who completed it in the summer of 1693 in the main hall (caotang or Herb Hall), of his refurbished old mansion in Pinghu, Zhejiang. Gao, a Zhejiang man of relatively humble origins, had literary talents that earned him a job in the civil bureaucracy in Beijing, where he came to the attention of important figures and subsequently of the Kangxi emperor himself. For several years, Gao was part of the emperor’s literary entourage, accompanying him on his travels outside the Great Wall, from which he left several valuable accounts. Embroiled in factional struggles, he was persona non grata at court for a time, during which he wrote this book. The year after it was finished, Gao was summoned back to court to serve as one of Kangxi’s personal secretaries.
Jiangcun xiao xia lu is a record of paintings and calligraphy that Gao had personally seen. It records the physical dimensions of the works, their provenances, and the notes and colophons that accompany them. It carries prefaces by Zhu Yizun (1629-1709) and Song Lao (or Luo) (1674-1713), who were both prominent Chinese scholar-officials.
The first edition was printed by Gao in 1693 at his home, where he had established a private press. In the late 18th century, the book was included in the Qianlong emperor’s great manuscript library (Siku quanshu; The Complete Books of the Four Repositories). Our edition, printed on superior paper and bound in yellow silk, is probably a 19th-century printing.
Fine copy, preserved in a hantao. With thanks to Prof. Marten Soderblom Saarela of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
❧ Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period (1644-1912), Vol. I, pp. 413-15.
Item ID: 8453