Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 07 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Rose Venerini
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

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
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
3
MOTHER MARY
Cerith Gardiner
7 Ways to strengthen your relationship with the Virgin Mary
4
SAINT Januarius
J-P Mauro
Watch the blood of St. Januarius liquefy in May 2021
5
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
6
SAINT JOSEPH
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Chaplet of St. Joseph
7
MODLITWA
Francisco Veneto
Former Jehovah’s Witness to be ordained Catholic priest in ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.