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Writing Paper Printed with the Design of Su Shi Visiting the Red Cliff

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Period: late Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Dimensions: paper length: 130 cm, width: 31.5 cm

Applied with powder, this laminated writing paper is cream colored. Of proportionally long dimension, it is printed with the well-known Song dynasty (960-1279) story of the eminent poet Su Shi (1037-1101), who with two friends enjoyed the scenery of the Red Cliff from a boat. Near the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the Red Cliff was the site of a decisive battle during the Three Kingdoms era (220-265). 
  The paper was made with a special printing technique that was the most advanced at the time. With precise registration, the plain paper was positioned against a series of carved woodblocks which were applied with different colors in accordance with the design so as to create a feeling of distance and lighting.   
  Popular in the Ming dynasty, printed writing papers were usually designed with patterns of dragons in clouds, hornless dragons in clouds, branches of flowers, and antiques. The design in this paper visualizes Su Shi's trip to the Red Cliff with his friends, showing not only scholarly taste but also the advanced printing technique at that time.

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