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Chinese Printmaking Today: Woodblock Printing in China 1980-2000

30 May to 29 September 2006

Chinese Printmaking Today features works by leading artists from China and abroad, highlighting the dynamic transition to modernity currently taking place in China. The exhibition shows how contemporary artists have engaged with a traditional art form to produce exciting subject matter. The artists tackle a range of subjects from the art of the book, to rural and urban themes, politics, the human figure and the avant-garde.

The exhibition is organised in association with the Muban Foundation, London which holds the finest collection of woodblock prints outside China.  Woodblock printing has a long and distinguished history in China, where printing was invented about 1500 years ago.

Dr Michael Ryan, Director of the Chester Beatty Library, said this exhibition was timely as Ireland’s links with China strengthened and China itself emerged as a major economic power in the world.

The exhibition is mounted in a wide range of formats, from gigantic sets of hanging scrolls to sheet prints, to near miniature book-form illustrations.
Important Chinese treasures in the Chester Beatty Library include one of the world's largest collection of carved rhinoceros horn cups; a unique group of jade books, some inscribed in the hand of the 18th century Qianglong Emperor; early Buddhist sutras from Dunhuang; three volumes of the Great Encyclopaedia of the Yongle Emperor; a small collection of silk dragon robes; and over two hundred high quality paintings and prints dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.