Florian Knothe. Book Review: Bolihua: chinesische Hinterglasmalerei aus der Sammlung Mei-Lin By Rupprecht Mayer (Christian Juranek and Christof Trepesch, eds)
The publication of Rupprecht Mayer’s Bolihua: chinesische Hinterglasmalerei aus der Sammlung Mei-Lin (Bolihua: Chinese Reverse Glass Paintings from the Mei-Lin Collection) in 2017 caused something of a sensation. The catalogue, like the exhibitions it accompanied in Germany at Schloss Wernigerode and at the Schaezlerpalais in Augsburg, introduces a large and comprehensive private collection of Chinese reverse-painted glass panels never exhibited publicly before, either in Europe or in China. Beyond the focus on a largely forgotten medium, the display and publication of these painted images reveal their significance as documents of life in China and especially of the lives of Chinese women from 1850 to 1950, an era of massive political and social change.