Beizhen shuangfeng (Nestled in the North between a Pair of Peaks) from the Bishu Shanzhuang series.
RIPA Father Matteo (1714.)
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Copperplate print on Chinese paper, measuring ca. 32x29cm. Traces of central fold and minor creasing. Otherwise in fine condition. [Peking, Imperial Workshop],
The emperor decided to celebrate the occasion with a palace edition that illustrates each scene with a large woodcut accompanied by poetic descriptions from his brush. It was published under the title Yuzhi Bishu Shanzhuang sanshiliu jing shi (1712, with woodcuts by Shen Yu). He then asked Matteo Ripa to copy each of the woodcut scenes using copper plates. Ripa managed to complete the project just in time for the Emperor’s 60th birthday in 1713 and presented him with a set. It was the first time this technique had been used in China and it found the Emperor’s admiration. In the late 18th century, his grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, used the technique to produce a series of engravings celebrating victorious battle campaigns.
The present print shows the Beizhen shuangfeng (Nestled in the North between a Pair of Peaks) scene which includes another square pavilion affording a commanding view of the surrounding mountain ranges. In his poem the Kangxi Emperor emphasises that one could see as far as Gold Mountain and Black Mountain, two peaks that had particular cosmological and geomantic importance for the Qing dynasty. It is the 10th view in the Bishu Shanzhuang series of thirty-six. (See: Strassberg/Whiteman: Thirty-six Views. The Kangxi Emperor’s Mountain Estate in Poetry and Prints. Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2016, p.162).
Sets or individual prints of the Ripa engravings are exceedingly rare. They were only distributed amongst the close circle of the Emperor’s friends and family. We are only aware of one set having been offered at auction since 1945.
Stock Code: 244866