18. Item #86532
[CHINESE PITH PAINTINGS]. ALBUM OF 30 FISH ON 12 SHEETS. Album of 12 sheets of pith, approximately 19 x 26 cm each, mounted onto pages within covers approx. 24.7 x 34.3 cm, covered in brocade with ties. A wonderful mid-19th century example of this realistic genre, which uses the three dimensionality afforded by the surface of the inner plant pith of the Tetrapanax papyriferum, a ginseng relative that grow to the size of a small tree, shaved as here into thin sheets and painted with opaque colors. The fish sparkle and the colors glow, the fish accuraely depicted in form and color. Pith by its very nature is extremely fragile and larger sheets such as those employed here even more than usually frangible. Thus the completeness of the sheets with almost no lost pigmeted sections is most unusual. The covers are a bit worn though, as usual, the paintings show occasional cracking and repair, but a worthy example of its kind.