Art by the Book: Painting Manuals and the Leisure Life in Late Ming China
By J.P. Park
University of Washington Press, 2012
Sometime before 1579, Zhou Lujing published a series of lavishly illustrated books that were the first multigenre painting manuals in Chinese history. Their popularity was immediate and their contents and format were widely reprinted and disseminated. Art by the Book describes how such publications accommodated the cultural taste and demands of the general public, and both gratified and shaped their sensibilities. As a commodity of early modern China, when cultural standing was measured by a person’s command of literati taste and lore, painting manuals provided nonelite readers with a device for enhancing social capital.