Christer von der Burg
Christer von der Burg graduated from Stockholm University with an MA in Art History and Chinese. After three years of work at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm he started his own business, Han Shan Tang bookshop, specialising in books on East Asia; this enterprise gave him endless opportunities to study Chinese prints and printing.
He moved the bookshop to London in 1978 and, even today, it is still the major supplier of new, second-hand and antiquarian books on the arts and culture of China, Japan and Korea.
In 1997,encouraged by his late friend Verena Bolinder-Müller,he established the Muban Foundation for the propagation of the knowledge of Chinese printing. He saw that Chinese prints were ignored as a research subject, as much among scholars as collectors, especially in comparison with the popularity of Japanese prints. Christer then decided to start a collection of both pre-modern and contemporary Chinese prints. Through annual visits to artists and academies in China during the years 1997-2007, a collection of over 8,000 prints was assembled, a collection now deposited with the Muban Educational Trust and which forms the backbone of its study material. He has also collected books, catalogues, and reference material on the subject, creating a valuable reference library.
Christer retired from the book business in 2000, but has since been active in building up what is now the second largest collection of antique Chinese prints in the world, especially those of the 18th century from the city of Suzhou.
Christer’s passionate interest in Chinese prints has actually encouraged many Chinese artists to continue the tradition of Chinese woodblock printing and he has also taught the Chinese collectors the importance and significance of Chinese prints, a fact that can be verified in the increase and value of prints in today’s Chinese auctions.
Christer’s knowledge in the field is well respected and continually evolving. He regularly attends seminars and conventions with colleagues, collectors and academics in his field and adjacent disciplines. He has given lectures on the theme of Chinese prints and printing, writes an irregular blog, www.chiwoopri.wordpress.com, and strives to widen the exposure of this art form.