Tribute Elephants at the Qing Court

David Leffman Uncategorized 2 Comments

Elephants are associated with wisdom in Chinese lore – the bodhisattva Puxian, the very embodiment of wisdom, is depicted riding one – and the emperors themselves used them as a symbol of their own sagacity and authority. Life-sized carvings of elephants guarded the Imperial tombs, and the palace kept live ones too, in stables known as the “Tame Elephant Facility” …

Verbiest’s World Map 坤與全圖

David Leffman Antiques, 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 …

Verbiest’s Map of China

David Leffman map, Mesny, Verbiest, Woodblock print Leave a Comment

Back in June 2016, I was a bit stunned to find this huge, woodblock-printed world map (坤與全圖) hanging up at an antiques stall in Beijing. It wasn’t for sale, and it took me some time to sweet-talk them around the “no photographs” sign (in fact they only let me take this picture because the quality of my ipod camera is so …