This article discusses European impacts on the Chinese print in the late seventeenth to eighteenth century, especially on woodblock prints produced by workshops in Suzhou, by revealing a newly discovered Suzhou print, Herding a Bull in a Forest (Mulin teli tu 牧林特立圖) now in the collection of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
This essay aims to demonstrate the direct influence of European copperplate engraving on the Chinese woodblock. Firstly, I identify its citation sources in seventeenth century Dutch images and the iconographic content of this newly discovered type of Suzhou print. Secondly, I discuss the workshop owner’s marketing strategy and the audience he targeted. Lastly I address the issues raised by this specific work within the framework of the global art context, how this European iconography was transformed into its own Chinese context and the meaning of this newly discovered type of Suzhou print in the fields of Chinese art history and global art history.
In conclusion, the Berlin print is an extraordinary case: it is a new type of Suzhou print. Although this work was originally promoted domestically as a European image; with the growing global trade that evolved during the seventeenth century, it came to Europe as personal item and became an image of China in Europe. For both audiences it was compelling for different reasons, providing novel visual material and as an object of curiosity.