The Sampans from Canton

(Sampanerna från Kanton)

The Sampans from Canton is an award-winning book consisting of 99 Chinese gouaches from the second half of the 18th century. In minute detail, they depict an entire community afloat on the water, with the various sampan vessels used for everything from the sale of fruit and religious ceremonies to warfare and thievery.

Together, these gouaches constitute one of the largest collections of hand-painted Chinese works preserved from this period.

The Sampans from Canton: F H af Chapman’s Chinese Gouaches is also available in a Bibliophile edition of 49 copies signed by the Chairman of Nordstjernan, Viveca Ax:son Johnson. The limited edition consists of the book, in a silk-clad box, along with a separate print of one of the paintings in a silk-clad portfolio.


ISBN Eng: 978-91-63972-02-7
ISBN Swe: 978-91-63972-01-0
99 illustrations. 27 x 36 cm (landscape)
220 + 48 pp of stand-alone essays
Autumn 2018

Press Release

Detailed Facts

Editor, Preface and Introduction to Essays

Kurt Almqvist, President of Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit


Kenneth Nyberg, University lecturer and Reader of History at Gothenburg University

Svante Nordin, Professor Emeritus of History of Ideas and Learning at Lund University

Magnus Olausson, Reader, Head of Collections and Research at Nationalmuseum

Kerstin Barup, Professor Emerita of Architectural Conservation and Restoration at Lund University

Torbjörn Lodén, Professor Emeritus Chinese Languages and Cultures at Stockholm University

Jeremy Franks (1934–2016), translator

Text editors

Mats Wiklund

Svante Helmbaek Tirén


Susan Long to English

Rebecka Charan to English

Margareta Eklöf to Swedish

Proof reading

Magnus Ingvarsson

Philippa Ingram


Patric Leo


Patric Leo

Petra Ahston Inkapööl


Italgraf Media


Göteborgstryckeriet 2018

Swedish ISBN 978-91-639-7201-0

English ISBN 978-91-639-7202-7

Distribution Förlagssystem phone 08-657 95 00

In association with Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit.

Interview with Svante Helmbaek Tirén