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A Chinese album of paintings,

late 19th century-early 20th century




No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Guangzhou China
    Cultural origin
    late 19th century-early 20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    watercolour on pith paper
    33.7 x 24.0 x 25.0 cm closed; 33.7 x 49.0 x 25.0 cm open
    Gift of Peter and Jenny Piestley - in memory of Professor Henry Priestley
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The Gallery has a strong collection of objects reflecting exchange between Asia and Europe from as early as the 9th century to the present, particularly in the form of trade ceramics. One focus of the current collection show The Way We Eat (April 2021–September 2022), ‘Exchange’, was drawn entirely from this rich collection. The pith paper album would be a welcome addition to the collection, further enhancing our ability to share stories of trade and interaction.

    Furthermore, this album would be the first pith item to enter the Gallery’s collection. Other Australian institutions that hold Chinese pith paintings include the State Library of New South Wales, the State Library of Queensland, Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection of Sydney Living Museums, the University of Melbourne Library, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, and the Gold Museum in Ballarat.

    If acquired, this remarkable album would be well placed in the new displays in the gallery’s Grand Courts or the reconsidered display of the Asian collection.
    While only one opening of the book can be displayed at a time, digital imaging would allow the entire album to be enjoyed on a tablet or other digital device. The digitalisation of the album would allow it to be used as an educational tool to explain how silk is made; or to accompany musical performances using traditional Chinese instruments, or together with Chinese paintings depicting the same musical instruments.

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