The World’s Oldest Multicolored Printed Book Has Been Opened and Digitized for the First Time

All images courtesy Cambridge University Library

All images courtesy of Cambridge University Library

The earliest example of multicolor printing is now available for the public eye, digitally available through Cambridge University Library’s Digital Library site. The 17th century book, Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu), is so fragile that it was previously forbidden to be opened, its contents a total mystery before its recent digitization.

The book was created in 1633 by Ten Bamboo Studio and is the earliest known example of polychrome xylography, invented by Hu Zhengyan. The technique, also referred to as douban, uses several printing blocks applied in succession with different inks to achieve the appearance of a hand-painted watercolor. The Cambridge site explains that the although the skill required to achieve such douban prints is admirable, the gradations of color within the book are what led to its reputation as “perhaps the most beautiful set of prints ever made.”

The manual contains eight categories showcasing birds, plumbs, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings and miscellany. All of these sections of the manual are contained in the original “butterfly binding,” and has been identified to be the finest copy in the original binding by a leading scholar.

In addition to Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, the library has also digitized other selections from its Chinese collections including the oracle bones (the earliest surviving examples of Chinese writing anywhere in the world), a Buddhist text dated between 1127 and 1175, and a 14th century banknote that threatens forgers with decapitation. (via Hyperallergic)

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Artist Charles Young Completes Work on Daily Paper Model Project After Designing 365 Structures

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It’s daunting to witness the labor poured into a 365-day creative project, be it taking a daily photo, doing a quick sketch, or even writing a few lines. Edinburgh-based artist Charles Young (previously) gets particularly high marks for completing his daily paper model project that he started a year ago today as a way to explore design, architecture, and model building.

Every single one of his 365 models were designed, cut, and assembled daily using 220gsm watercolour paper and PVA glue, with many of the structures incorporating moving components that Young photographed to create quick animations. The pieces are frequently infused with bits of whimsy and ingenuity, probably the result of any undertaking requiring so many different random ideas. Although he’s now stopped working, Young hopes to eventually display the cityscape somewhere in its entirety. You can find more of his paper architecture on Etsy.

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Sponsor // Design a Career Without Boundaries at Parsons

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You deserve to learn from the best. Start exploring Fall offerings in all areas of study and discover your new path at a free Information Session on Tuesday,  August 18. Take the leap today. Learn more.

The Incredible Pencraft of Jake Weidmann, the World’s Youngest Master Penman

When in school, artist and penman Jake Weidmann watched as his classmates typed their notes in laptops. Weidmann instead took the old-fashioned approach and wrote everything longhand with pen and paper, using every opportunity to practice and perfect his exquisite penmanship. The hard work quickly paid off he’s now one of only a dozen people designated as a master penman—not to mention the youngest by three decades.

This new video from Uproxx profiles Weidman has he talks a bit about his process and shows off some of his delicate pencraft, much more of which you can see on his website where he also shares his paintings, drawings, and sculptural work. (via Sploid)

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A Pair of Butterflies Photographed While Sipping on Turtle Tears in Ecuador

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Apparently if you’re a thirsty butterfly, one option available to you is a refreshing sip of turtle tears. No, this isn’t a staged photo masquerading as science, it’s an unusual behavior known as lachryphagy (tear drinking), and is one of several ways butterflies obtain moisture and nutrients. Captured here by Ama la Vida TV, this photo shows two Dryas iulia drinking tears from the eyes of a few turtles. The photo won the 2014 Wikimedia Picture of the Year. (via Laughing Squid, Twisted Sifter)

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Sidewalk Paintings of Gargantuan Gummy Bears Wobble to Life When Viewed From Above

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Alongside the Malta Street Art Festival, artist Leon Keer decorated a boardwalk with bright, elongated gummy bears that appear skewed when up close, but tower in height when viewed from above. This band of nine realistic candy bears seem to interact with the passersby, their slanted shapes appearing to be the same height as those who stop to take a closer look.

The anamorphic bears don’t seem to be celebrating their position on the Valetta waterfront however, as their composition looks as if they’re mourning a fallen green friend, which Keer confirms is indeed deceased.

Keer began painting while working on large advertisement murals for multinational corporations. His commissions have stretched from Europe to Asia and included work for Coca-Cola. Keer exhibits his own paintings in various Dutch and UK galleries and also presents work through live-action painting performances on the street. (via My Modern Met)

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Earth View: A Curated Selection of the Most Striking Satellite Images Found on Google Earth

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Ayamonte, Spain

Earth View is a giant collection of 1,500 curated images that represent the most striking images found through Google Earth. You can can click or swipe randomly through the far flung reaches of the planet as captured from satellites as captured from the world. All the images are available as wallpaper images for mobile and desktop, and they even have a Chrome app that loads a random image for each new tab. See also: Aerial Wallpapers. (thnx, Xavier!)

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Xhariep, South Africa

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Galapagos, Ecuador

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Al Jowf, Saudi Arabia

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Saint John, United States

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Tablelands, Australia

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Uzbekistan

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Kumarina, Australia

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Haerbin, China

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