Chinese Horse Print

Chinese Horse Print


One color, limited edition print.

50 prints were made, signed and numbered, and no more will ever be pulled. Paper is heavy, acid-free archival quality. Size is 18" x 24".
Unframed prints will be shipped flat to U.S. and Canada only.

Please see the other pictures for the process of setting and printing the horse print.

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In college, a friend of mine went on exchange to China. He didn't have the money or room in his suitcase to bring home extravagant souvenirs for his friends and family, so he brought home some tissue paper cuts. He offered me one and I chose this horse, since I was born in the lunar year of the horse. It was so delicate. It fit in the palm of my hand, and I marveled at the fact that it survived his journeys. I still have it somewhere, but it's been more than a dozen years and many moves since then, and I have misplaced it.

A few years later I started acquiring letterpress equipment. I purchased a cabinet or two of type from Jim Heagy in San Francisco; he was well known for his hanger at Hunter's Point full of letterpress printing items. Included in one of those purchases was a small tray of chinese characters, no doubt left over from a long-gone newspaper or print shop in San Francisco's Chinatown. A flash of inspiration struck me: I could form the image of the paper cut horse with the Chinese characters.

I scanned the paper cut horse, and printed it out at poster size, put that down on the bed of the press and set the type directly on it. I don't remember how long it took to set all the type — and spacing around it — by hand, but I do know it was sitting on the bed of the Vandercook for quite some time. I had originally planned for it to be a 2-color print, with the top block cut character in red, but in the end, they just needed to be printed and everything put away. I was about halfway through setting all the type when I ran out of Chinese characters. I knew where I could borrow more, but I didn't want to confuse my type with the other printer's type, so I took a photo and labeled it "just my type.jpg." That was the day I named my business, too.

I carved the linoleum blocks by hand, and from top to bottom, I believe them to read: Lynn, Horse, Earth, Woman, Love. I do not read or speak Chinese, so I hope they are correct. All of the Chinese characters making up the horse image were placed randomly and are not meant to read as poetry or prose. (I wish that they could have, but they are strictly laid out for aesthetic purposes.)