These are a few books in English I come back to again and again.

Lu Kesi Reading List

Drawing Trees. Taipei: Art Book Co., 1990. 117 p., Illustrated. A useful step-by-step manual for painting trees. There are other books in this series but this is the best (I wouldn’t bother with the others). ISBN 957-9045-08-9

Knight, Michael and Li Huayi. The Monumental Landscapes of Li Huayi. San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2004. 125 p., illustrated. This is an exhibition catalog of the landscape painting of Li Huayi, a modern Chinese artist living in San Francisco. His compositions are wonderful and, until a newer and more comprehensive book comes along, this will have to do—I haven’t seen much else about him. ISBN 0-939117-26-6

Ko, Dorothy. The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. 315 p., illustrated. Although the author is primarily concerned with revitalizing the reputation of an early woman carver, this may be the only book you’ll need for understanding the history and collecting of inkstones. It’s also, as far as I know, the only book on the subject in English. ISBN 978-0-295-99918-0

Ouyang Zhongshi, et al.  Chinese Calligraphy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. 511 p., illustrated. A monumental book on the history and philosophy of Chinese calligraphy—I was lucky enough to find a copy at a discounted price. This is NOT a how-to book. ISBN 978-0-300-12107-0

Shih-T’aoEnlightening Remarks on Painting. Translated with an introduction by Richard E. Strassberg. Pasadena: Pacific Asia Museum, 1989. 129 p., illustrated. I was lucky enough to purchase online a used copy of this short essay by the Qing dynasty artist now known as Shitao. It is an inspiring example of the philosophy behind scholar painting. ISBN 1-877921-00-9

Sze, Mai-mai. The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956. 624 p., numerous b&w illustrations. On the title page: “A facsimile of the 1887-1888 Shanghai edition with the text translated from the Chinese and edited by Mai-mai Sze.” The original, published in 17th century China, is the classic manual used by generations of Chinese art students. ISBN 0-691-01819-7 (paperback edition)

Wang Jia Nan and Cai Xiaoli. Oriental Painting Course. NY: Watson-Guptill, 1997. 224 p., illustrated. A beautifully illustrated and designed book, and a good introduction to Chinese-style painting. ISBN 0-8306-9010-7

Wong, Wucius. The Tao of Chinese Landscape Painting: Principles & Methods. NY: Design Press, 1991. 176 p., illustrated (some color). A great introduction to Chinese landscape painting, with probably the best guide in English on to how to construct a painting. ISBN 0-8306-9010-7

Wu, Yangmu. The Techniques of Chinese Painting. NY: New Amsterdam Books, 1990. 192 p., illustrated. A good basic introduction to Chinese painting (not just landscape). ISBN 0-941533-89-1 (paperback)

For a complete bibliography of books about seals/chops see my companion website Seal Society (