Two tree sparrows (Passer montanus) fight under overhanging millet
Two tree sparrows (Passer montanus) fight under overhanging millet

The University of Cambridge Library has recently digitized this fragile book, reputed to be the world’s oldest example of multicolour printing. Perversely the image I’ve chosen is monochrome, but hey I like sparrows!

Dating from 1633, the Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Painting and Calligraphy (十竹齋書畫譜 Shízhúzhāi Shūhuàpǔ) contains around 320 prints by 30 artists including the printer himself, Hu Zhengyan (胡正言 Hú Zhèngyán) and was intended as a showcase as well as a primer.

Go browse!