Chinese-export watercolors were painted in port cities for sale to Western customers in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, these were mostly souvenirs brought back by merchants and tourists. Afterwards, they became valued as artworks in their own right. The colors used were those common in Chinese painting, but primary colors tended to predominate later in the nineteenth century, particularly because the adoption of pith paper, made from a plant called tong cao (Tetrapanax papyrifer), allowed the painters to create images in brilliant colors as well as in very fine detail.
The images in this calendar were painted by anonymous artists in China, ca. 1830–1871, and have been reproduced from an album in the collection of the Research Library of the American Museum of Natural History. Calendars are printed with soy-based inks on FSC® certified paper. Measures 6.5 x 7 in.