“This third volume [...] is concerned with three large temple frescoes, now in the Chinese Collection of the Royal Ontario Museum, which originally came from South Shansi, and are considered as dating to the thirteenth century A.D. It must be re-stated that these Studies are based on objects or material in the collections of the Museum, mainly with the general public in mind, and for this reason data of a technical nature, or extensive foot-notes and references are kept at a minimum. This treatment leaves an opening for criticism from experts, but if the public of the West are better enabled to comprehend the background and associations of these museum objects in a generally accurate manner, and are stimulated to further and more extensive inquiry thereby, then this popular objective method must be considered as worth while.” (excerpted from the Preface)
Chinese Temple Frescoes is the third volume in a series titled Museum Studies published by the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. The preceding volumes are Tomb Tile Pictures of Ancient China (No. 1) and An Album of Chinese Bamboos (No. 2). Chinese Frescoes is a beautiful and accessible window into Chinese art and the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum. While not an in-depth analysis, the text is extraordinarily detailed, providing the historical, geographical, cultural, and technical information necessary to give even the most uninitiated readers the best vantage point from which to admire and analyze the works of art that serve as the focal point for this text.
Sprinkled throughout the monograph are a series of illustrations, both in color and in black and white. While the book as a whole was written and compiled by William Charles White, these illustrations represent the work of a variety of individuals. “The colour work of the frontispiece and the other coloured plates was done by Miss Dorothy MacDonald of the Museum staff, who also designed and drew the front cover, the title page, the map, and most of the line drawings” (xii). Mr. Laurence Sickman, Major A.J. Todd, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Chin-shih-so, The British Musem, Otsuka Kogeisha of Tokyo, and Miss W. Needler of the Museum staff each contributed at least one of the various table, maps, and drawings that appear throughout the text. The blocks were created by Rapid Grip and Batten, Ltd., and the colored plates were printed by Miln-Bingham Print-craft Ltd.
- Title: Chinese Temple Frescoes: A Study of Three Wall-paintings of the Thirteenth Century
- Author: William Charles White
- Publisher: University of Toronto Press
- Year: 1940
- First Edition
- Toronto, Canada
- Language: English
- Hardcover: Blue cloth covered boards with gilt decorations
- Length: 230pp
- Dimensions: 8” x 11.5” x 1”
- Inscription: “Henry W. Woodcock / Toronto / 25 June 1942”
- Condition: There is no dustjacket. The cover is in good condition, whole with only some minor shelf wear and fading. The internals of the book are clean. The pages are crisp, with no fold or tears, and the binding is tight. The end papers are strikingly covered in a gilt marbled pattern that is only slightly faded at the edges and worn at the joint where the cover meets the spine. Overall, this is a fundamentally clean and complete copy.