Chinese Popular Prints

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $185.40
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 16%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (3) from $185.40   
  • New (2) from $185.40   
  • Used (1) from $308.42   


Chinese Popular Prints ventures into the world of Chinese blockprint illustration that had its assured niche in the rich history of Chinese popular culture from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. These prints were not considered high art in China, but were produced for the urban and rural populations.
The book deals with all aspects of the Chinese popular print. In the first two chapters its invention, origins, powerful traditions and its history are described. Classical art and the Ming illustrated book were important impetuses. Three major centres of north and central China emerged. Finally the popular print took on something of the roles of the modern cinema or television.
In the following four chapters the main themes are: the printmakers and printshops; society, symbolism and visual pun; categories of popular prints and their display; technical terms. A description of the workshops and their techniques, figure drawing and colouring, gives a good insight in the technical side of the print. A varied popular culture and a certain realism are strands in it, as are spirit protection of the house, recalls of the past, hopes for the future, the hold of the theatre, etc.
Two elaborate appendices provide much detailed information about persons, symbols, as well as about some images in the lore of the print. A special section of 28 illustrations (8 full colour) demonstrates the potentialities of the Chinese blockprint illustration.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'John Lust is to be congratulated on his achievement in producing this pioneering study. It will stand as a work of reference for the future, and it is hoped that it will be the basis for many specialists studies which are necessary to develop our understanding of this fascinating field.'
Anne Farrer, Apollo, 1997.
Lust takes a break from translating modern Chinese poetry on early radicalism and the secret societies to explore the Chinese block print illustrations that were a major element of popular Chinese culture from the 17th to the early 20th century. He looks at the origin and development of the art form, the influences on it, printmakers and printshops, symbolism and visual puns, categories and their display, technical terms, and some of the recurrent images. Eight of the 27 reproductions are in color. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

John Lust joined, after reading French literature, the library of SOAS, London University. He has translated modern Chinese poetry, published on early Chinese radicalism and the secret societies.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chronological periods
List of illustrations
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
1 The invention of the Chinese popular print 8
2 Collectors and collections 14
Ch. 2 History 23
1 Origins 23
2 Ming and Qing periods 40
3 Early and mid-Qing 46
4 Other early and mid-Qing centres 85
5 Last phase (1860s-) 101
Ch. 3 Three Printmakers and printshops 123
1 Organization of Printshops 125
2 The Publics 129
3 The Master 133
4 The precepts 137
5 Materials and Techniques 146
Ch. 4 Society, symbolism and visual pun 181
1 The Symbols 196
2 Visual punning 204
Ch. 5 Categories of popular prints and their display 212
1 Surveys 213
2 Peasantry, Calendars 216
3 The Child 219
4 Merchantry 220
5 Urban, Treaty Ports 220
6 Theatre 222
7 Amusements 224
8 Comedy, Satire 225
9 Masquerades of Beasts, Bird, Fish or Insect 226
10 Politics, Foreign Relations 228
11 Religion, Exorcism 233
12 Offshoots 237
13 Display 238
Ch. 6 Technical terms 242
1 New Year Prints 242
2 Historical terms 243
3 The modern trade 244
4 Categories 245
5 Votive prints 248
6 Production and Techniques 251
7 Forms of Prints 254
8 Distribution 255
9 Appearance and Weaponry 256
Appendix One Guide to persons, symbols, puns, etc. 259
Appendix Two Some images in the lore of the print 293
Bibliography 327
Index 337
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)