勅建雞足名山全圖: A Complete Picture of the Famous Holy Mountain, Jizu Shan

David LeffmanAntiques, Buddhism, Dali, map, Uncategorized, woodblock, Woodblock print, Yunnan 1 Comment

Here’s a woodblock-printed map of Yunnan province’s Jizu Shan (雞足山) – Chickenfoot Mountain – which peaks at 3240m east of Erhai Lake and the old walled town of Dali. According to the artist Huang Xiangjian, who painted a colour landscape scroll of the mountain in 1656, Jizu Shan got its name because “it is formed with three ridges in front …

Verbiest’s World Map 坤與全圖

David LeffmanAntiques, map, Mesny, Verbiest, William Gill, Woodblock print Leave a Comment

In 2016 I was extraordinarily lucky to come across this woodblock-printed world map at an antiques stall in Beijing. (The poor quality of the photo is because they didn’t want me taking one, and I had to sneak it from a distance with my ancient, low-res ipod touch camera. They wouldn’t sell me the print either.) The original version dates …

Feathers, Fakes and Fees

David LeffmanAntiques, Fakes Leave a Comment

I’m no expert in Chinese antiques, but I have spent a lot of time browsing antiques markets all over the country, looking at everything from old woodblock prints to iron cannon and pieces of nineteenth-century official regalia. These include rank decorations such as “hat buttons” (maoding, 帽顶), a coloured bead mounted on top of an official’s headgear, and “mandarin squares” …