Words from the Publisher

The Realization of a Great Dream

In the history of world art, nothing has probed more profoundly into the relationship between man and nature as the calligraphy and painting of the Sung and Yuan dynasties of China, and nothing has exhaustively depicted the sentiments of the wonders of all things in the universe as the calligraphy and painting of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties. The true character of Eastern art can indeed be found in the harmonious state of the arts of poetry, calligraphy and painting as mentioned in the phrase "the heart of painting lies in calligraphy, the heart of poetry lies in painting and the heart of the brush lies in poetry."

As those who study calligraphy have aimed at Wang Hsi-chih over the centuries, Chinese artists of the successive periods have always inherited and conveyed the artistic state developed by precedent masters, and left numerous works in pursuit of universal beauty. However, the works of calligraphy and painting extolled as eternal masterpieces, which can be compared to the fading stars at dawn, have all been kept under lock and key as rare treasures, and appreciated only by a small number of lucky connoisseurs.

On the other hand, innumerable masterworks collected by the successive emperors such as Ch'ien-lung and stored in the repository of the Imperial Court are preserved to this day as treasures never allowed to be taken out of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. These consummate works are truly the great aesthetic heritage of Eastern civilization left to mankind.

We have been confronting with the enterprise of making reproductions of the works of calligraphy and painting in the National Palace Museum in Taipei by its commission, and remarkable reproductions that not only re-create the size, color and material of the originals but also their sense of volume and energetic power of the brush have become possible. Our reproductions have been displayed in the exhibition halls of the National Palace Museum side by side with the originals in the past, and even the specialists were astounded by their extremely perfect congruence. There were repeated questions as to which of the two is the original.

We are greatly confident of the fruits of our labors that by far exceed the realms of reproductions, and present what may be called the Eastern treasures or originals themselves to the lovers of art throughout the world.

-- Takao Watanabe, President, Nigensha Publishing Company, Ltd.

Promotion of Chinese Art, the World's Cultural Heritage

Excellent works of Chinese calligraphy and painting of the past have rendered considerable influence on the development of the art of the following periods. When we actually observe the history of Chinese calligraphy and painting, it can be understood that unsurpassed artists have exerted effort to study superior works of the past. They thereby acquired the splendid techniques of ancient masters and then created their own art. In most instances, however, the masterpieces of calligraphy and painting were stored in the Imperial Repository or owned by a small number of collectors, and actually appreciating the works was not easy. Consequently, sophisticated copies have been produced since over a thousand years to be used for appreciation and study. For example, we are able to know the works of famed calligraphers from the Chin dynasty (265-420) thanks to the excellent copies made during the T'ang dynasty (618-907). Also, although most of the masterpieces of T'ang dynasty painting had been destroyed by the flames of war and so forth, the various styles of T'ang dynasty painting were handed down to the following Sung dynasty (960-1279) through remaining superior copies produced by masters.

In consideration of such a history, the National Palace Museum commissioned Nigensha over ten years ago to reproduce the calligraphy and painting in its collection so that they may be introduced overseas more effectively. Since then, Nigensha has been successively publishing exquisite reproductions of calligraphy and painting by freely using today's most advanced technologies. All of those reproductions are consummate works of the respective periods from the Chin to Ch'ing (1644-1912) dynasties covering a thousand and several hundred years, and not only are their sizes and formats such as the handscroll or hanging scroll the same as the originals, but materials such as the paper or silk and the mounting are also as close as possible to the original works. For such reasons, these reproductions have already been highly praised among specialists in China and elsewhere. However, these materials which serve as direct references are not intended only for specialists and scholars. My strong wish is that the unique artistic value of Chinese calligraphy and painting is understood extensively among people throughout the world and is enjoyed as the cultural heritage of all mankind through these reproductions.

Ch'in Hsiao-yi, Director, National Palace Museum

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