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Willy Russell: 'Seeing Better' - Paintings 2008–2017

Contemporary Chinese woodcuts from Heilongjiang

Contemporary Chinese woodcuts from PuErh, Yunnan


PuErh (known sometimes as Simao) is a small town in Yunnan close to the Thai and Burmese borders. It is most famous for its tea, but it is gaining a reputation as a centre for contemporary prints and particularly reduction woodblock prints. Josie Reed has travelled there on several occasions to meet the artists and to see them at work.

Reduction woodblock printing involves a single block of wood (or MDF) being cut, printed, cut and printed again up to 20 times with 20 different colours. This technique using opaque oil based inks results in richly coloured, textured prints, quite unlike a traditional English woodblock print. By the end of the reduction process little is left of the woodblock and it cannot be reused. The technique requires considerable cutting skills.

With prices starting from £275, this is a great opportunity to start collecting what is proving to be an increasingly collectable area of contemporary art, Contemporary Chinese prints. The work of He Kun is already in the collections of the British Museum and British Library.


Prints currently available:

Wild Palms, 2004
by He Kun

The Old Tea Road in Yunnan
by He Kun

Peaceful Mountain, 2009
by Ma Li

Se Da Zhuo Ma (Tibetan Girl), 2006
by Jin Yongxiang

First Rays of the Morning Sun
by Li Min

WildPalms HeKun01 JinYongziang01 MorningSun