Friday, April 28, 2006

18th Century Chinese Garden Architecture

Chinese garden engraving Xushuilou dongmian, east façade of Reservoir


chinese garden book illustration Xieqiqu beimian, north façade of Palace of the Delights of Harmony


Dashuifa nanmian, Great Waters, south side


jardin chinoise Wanhuazhen huayuan, the Maze


book engraving - garden design Haiyantang dongmian, east façade of Palace of Calm Seas


18th cent. chinese garden design engraving Xianfashanmen zhengmian, façade of gate leading to Hill of Perspective


Chinese garden watercolour courtesy Rylands library(watercolour sketch added [via Rylands Library, as below] June 2012)



A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.



Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) received artistic training from Carlo Cornara and Andrea Pozzo in Milan and then took his religious vows. As part of the Jesuit evangelical aspirations in China, Castiglione was sent there as a missionary when he was 27 years old.

He was to serve for 51 years until his death as court painter under his Chinese name of Lang Shih-ning to 3 Emperors during the last Chinese (Quing) dynasty. He introduced the ideas of renaissance perspective, anatomical accuracy and the use of light and shade which had a significant and lasting influence on Chinese art. He himself incorporated Chinese artistic techniques into his own works.

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) contributed to the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Giuseppe Castiglione design buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Unfortunately, French and English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. The beautiful illustrations above were published 20 years after Castiglione's death but I'm not sure if the engraving work was by done by him or someone else.
The only reason this post is here is because I heard about NYPL Digital Gallery winning a  horoughly deserved award for the Best Research Site last month and I went wandering in my usual random fashion. The NYPL Digital Gallery now hosts 450,000 images. From my own point of view it is the best digital repository online.

2 comments :

Moon River said...

always, a great joy to visit your place!

do you happen to have a collection of witch figures from children old books?

pk said...

Thanks Moon. (I also like your site but would be even more happy if you changed away from 'spaces'. Ugh. It nearly crashes my browser every time I visit! .. I've never been able to find your email address to tell you this privately ;-)

Witches? No. I think that might be something worthwhile searching for - I bet someone has compiled a bunch of images before. I'll keep an eye out. But drop me a line at peacay at gmail anyway.

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