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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Che Lou, “Nightwork on the Lantcheou-Sinkiang Line”, c.1955

Che Lou (fl.1950s—?)

“Nightwork on the Lantcheou-Sinkiang Line” (aka “Travail de Nuit sur la Ligne Lantcheou-Sinkiang”). c.1955, an original woodcut in three colours published in Peking (now Beijing) in 1956 by Éditions en Langues Étrangères (Foreign Languages Press) (fl.1952–) as plate 7 to the folio of 40 original woodcuts printed in the People’s Republic of China, “Gravures sur Bois de la Chine Nouvelle.” Note that this print was featured in the second National Exhibition of Fine Arts (China) in 1955 and was chosen from this exhibition for its inclusion in the 1956 folio of prints representing the achievements of “la Chine Nouvelle” (the new China).

I may be wrong, but I believe that this woodcut shows work on the railway connecting Xinjiang with Lanzhou—commonly abbreviated to the Lanxin line, built by the China Railway Engineering Corporation on which work began in 1952 and was completed in 1962. From what I understand, “Lantcheou” (shown in the title) is an alternate name for “Lan-Tchou” which is now called “Lanzhou”; whereas “Sinkiang” is the former name for the province of Xinjiang (“land newly returned”) when it was “liberated” by the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 (six years before this print was executed). I suspect that this remarkable night-time woodcut is designed to show advances made by China in expanding its control/influence in the more distant regions regardless of the hour or season.

Woodcut in three colours (blue, brown and black) printed on fine cream wove paper (China) with full margins and printed title as published.

Size: (sheet) 25x 34.8 cm; (image borderline) 17.9 x 22.5 cm.

Lettered below the image: (centre) “7. Travail de nuit sur la ligne Lantcheou-Sinkiang  Che Lou”.

Condition: a strong and well-printed (near faultless) impression in a pristine condition.

I am selling this superb three-colour woodcut designed to showcase the expanding infrastructure of China in the mid-1950s—mindful that the folio in which this print features was published by a press that was later “owned and controlled by the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party” (—for AU$174 in total (currently/approximately US $113.37/EUR 106.02/GBP 80.5 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries. Note that payment is in Australian dollars (AU $174) as this is my currency.

If you are interested in purchasing this unusual and pictorially inventive woodcut of a night scene, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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