Picture Book of Dream of Red Mansions By Sun Wen In Qing Dynasty

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As a masterpiece of Chinese classical literature, "A Dream of Red Mansions" has been broadly popular among readers from different social classes since its advent in the mid-18th century. Its realistic depictions have gradually become the important painting subject for painters. Countless paintings of the subject, from civil painting workshops or imperial art academy, were created in over 200 years. Among them, “Picture Book of 'Dream of Red Mansions' by Sun Wen in Qing Dynasty”, painted with colored fine brushwork techniques and currently stored in Lushun Museum in Dalian, is a little-known art treasure.

The picture book, bound with the vertical accordion binding method, is consisted of twenty-four volumes, in which one volume is blank. Each volume possesses ten pictures and amount to two hundred and thirty pictures are displayed in the book. Each picture, painted on silk, is 43.3 cm in length and 76.5 cm in width. Each volume is covered by wood wrapped in golden-flecked cream silk. The picture book beginning with “Panorama of the Great View Garden in ‘The Story of the Stone’”, exhibits the scenarios of the 120-chapter “A Dream of Red Mansions”. The number of pictures painted for each chapter varies. It seems the picture book was not finished by the same painter because the painting style of the first 80 chapters differs significantly from that of the last 40 chapters. The pictures were inscribed “a seventy-three-year-old elder Run Zhai Sun Wen”. After the initial investigation, it turned out that Sun Wen, whose style is Run Zhai, was born in Fengrun of Hebei province in the Reign of Emperor Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty. The picture book was mostly designed and painted by Sun Wen, supported by Sun Yunmo, during the reign of Emperors Tongzhi and Guangxu of Qing Dynasty.

Viewing the pictures, you could find they were precisely composited with fine brushwork and thick color pattern. Putting the figures into the specific circumstances, the painter, with a unique conception, succeeded in combining the emotions and scenes and presenting a poetic art world. The picture book vividly visualized the spiritual connotation of the original novel. The picture book proves to be the sole masterpiece among the painting works of the same subject by its detailed and complete scenarios and vast volumes.

In this picture book, which was duplicated, printed and published based on the original work, the titles that were attached to the original work and written on the labels, are arranged as the chapter titles under each picture. The asterisks are adopted to mark the chapter titles that came from “A Dream of Red Mansions” (People’s Publishing House, 1964), and brackets indicate the original titles on the labels are false or have wrongly written characters. Additionally, each picture couples with a brief introduction of the scenarios to improve the understanding of the picture. Ever since the first edition published in September of 2004, three editions of traditional Chinese character version of the picture book have been published and the book has been printed for eight times. The accordion binding edition picture book of the original size was extremely welcomed by the painters and book lovers and became the best seller. The Chinese English bilingual edition is the fourth edition of the series. The brand-new high quality pictures bring a more vivid effect and the high-fidelity presents the features of the original work. This edition printed in extra large 6mo, which provides a much bigger size of both book and pictures in this edition than those in Chinese edition and makes the picture book look magnificent.

“A Dream of Red Mansions” has been translated into many languages and disseminated all over the world. This Chinese-English bilingual picture book would provide the crowning touch to the promotion of colourful Chinese culture and be loved by both Chinese and foreign readers.
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Sample pages of Picture Book of Dream of Red Mansions By Sun Wen In Qing Dynasty (ISBN:9787506340335)
Sample pages of Picture Book of Dream of Red Mansions By Sun Wen In Qing Dynasty (ISBN:9787506340335)
Picture Book of Dream of Red Mansions By Sun Wen In Qing Dynasty