An album of Chinese export pith paintings from the studio of Sunqua, circa 1880. Each leaf has a fine representation of butterflies and other insects from China and is mounted within a blue silk border on a plain paper page. There are 11 paintings in all and 12 pages so one painting is missing but collectors of this genre will know just how rare it is these days to find an album from a known studio. Many of these albums have been split up in the past and the paintings individually framed so it will not be impossible to find a single painting to complete the album. For more information on this genre see “Chinese Export Watercolours” by Craig Clunas and “The Decorative Arts of the China Trade” by Carl L. Crossman.
The album is 11.3/4 inches (29.8cm) by 8.1/2 inches (21.6cm). The paintings are 8.3/4 inches (22.2cm) by 6 inches (15.2cm). The covers are chipped and worn at the edges. The backing pages have some foxing, The paintings are generally in excellent condition given the delicate nature of the medium, looking through I can see on page with a small (1 inch) tear right on the border and another with a corner repair. The pith paper has virtually no foxing.
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