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Tuesday 21 September |
The Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle
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Here’s the oldest multi-color printed book in the world

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY

Cambridge University Library | CC

Daniel Esparza - published on 07/28/17

You can thank Cambridge University Library for digitizing it and putting it online!

It was 1933 when the Cambridge University Library finally obtained a perfectly preserved copy of the famous Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, the Ten Bamboo Studio collection of calligraphy and painting, a legendary Chinese treatise on painting and calligraphy, dated 1633. Because the book was so fragile and delicate, it was not opened until it could be properly digitized.

That day came in 2015. According to CNN, when researchers finally opened the book, they found the copy they had in their hands was not only complete but in “pristine condition”: 138 pages containing sketches and paintings made by more than 50 artists, the colors bright as they were more than 300 years ago. It was printed using a technique similar to that of Gutenberg’s, but using wooden blocks instead of movable type.

Now, “the earliest and the most beautiful example of multicolor printing anywhere in the world,” (as Charles Aylmer, head of the Chinese department at Cambridge University Library, said) is online. You can visit the website here, and also enjoy some of these beautiful images below.

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

CHINESE CALIGRAPHY
Cambridge University Library CC

Tags:
ArtHistoryHumanities
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