The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, in Five Juan


Jieziyuan hua zhuan (The Mustard Seed Garden manual of painting), also known as Jie zi yuan hua pu, was compiled in the early Qing dynasty. The work was commissioned by Shen Xinyou, son-in-law of the famous playwright Li Yu (1611−circa 80), whose mansion in Nanjing, was called Jieziyuan (Mustard Seed Garden). The compiler and editor was the local landscape artist Wang Gai (active 1677−1705), who was assisted by his brothers Wang Shi and Wang Nie. The manual systematically introduces basic techniques of Chinese painting, which are provided in rhyme. The work also gives examples and analyses of the works of great landscape painters and instructions on how to imitate them. The original edition was printed in multicolor with the technique of douban (assembled-block), a printing process to produce refined pictures. With its bright and vivid colors, it represented a masterpiece of ancient Chinese woodblock printing and played an influential role in the history of Chinese printing. It was also influential in Edo-period Japan. Shown here is juan one of a later edition of this classic on Chinese painting.

Publication Information

Li Yu, Nanjing, Jiangsu


Title in Original Language


Type of Item

Physical Description

5 volumes ; 21.4 x 14.6 centimeters


  • Only juan 1 is shown in the WDL presentation.

Last updated: November 25, 2014