This highly detailed and decorative woodblock is from Hu Cheng-yen’s Shih-chu-chai chien-pu. The work was published in Peking by Rong Bao Zhai in 1952. The work contains characters from ancient classics, and is augmented by blind stamping and printed in multiple colors. Jan Tschichold called the 1952 edition “the finest issue. An incomparably perfect facsimile; the best printed book of modern times anywhere.” The work is a monument of colour printing in both the historical and modern sense.
The original publication of the work was at the end of the Ming period in 1644-1645. The techniques they developed to first publish this in 1644 truly advanced the art of printing. This 1952 printing was done carefully following the process of the original. Very few copies of the original survived, but Rong Bao Zhai Studio made a faithful reproduction edition from re-cut blocks. It even included the blind-stamping technique of gauffrage (gonghua “embossed design” or “arched pattern”). “The new prints, like the original, belong to the greatest masterpieces of the art of printing. They are admirably accurately reproduced, printed in exactly the same technique as the original, on the most magnificent paper, and replace, as hardly any other reprint of an old work, the only original copy on the most perfect “(J. Tschichold in Die Bildersammlung der Zehnbambushalle, Zurich 1970, 30-35)