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Gao Feichi. Illustrating the Life of the Buddha: A Polychrome Edition of Shishi yuanliu in the Library of Congress

In the collection of the Library of Congress is the only known polychrome copy of the Chenghua edition of Shishi yuanliu yinghua shiji, or The Origins, Transformations and Deeds of Buddha, from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). First catalogued and recorded by the renowned Chinese scholar Wang Zhongmin, this copy, contain four hundred illustrations coloured by hand, has been largely overlooked since then. In this article, the author traces the complex publication history of Shishi yuanliu, also shedding light on printmaking, as well as relationships between printing and painting, in the Ming.
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May - June 2019
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