A selection of Chinese poems translated by Arthur Waley with woodblock images by Ralph Kiggell

This collaboration between Japanese printmaking techniques and European letterpress has been a fascinating experience for us and the result, we believe, is an extremely interesting and beautiful book.

The selection of the twenty-four poems is from 170 Poems and from Chinese Poems, two books which the Orientalist, Arthur Waley, translated in the first half of the twentieth century. For this book, poems were chosen that were both beautiful to read and which also inspired Ralph Kiggell to produce images as woodblock prints . . . animals, plants, landscapes, moods and atmospheres.

Given the extraordinary immediacy and relevance to today's world of many of the poems, it is easy to forget that they were written between a thousand and three thousand years ago, in another country and in a different language.

The evening river is level and motionless - The spring colours just open to their full. Suddenly a wave carries the moon away And the tidal water comes with its freight of stars.

Waley's translated Chinese poems were perfect. They had created a stir when the first collection was published in 1918. While Waley did not try to translate the rhythms and rhymes of the original poems, the strange metres and 'sprung rhythms' he devised and the apparent simplicity and accessibility of the poems became influential in modern English poetry.

Editions & Inscriptions

Copies of the Main Edition are Numbered and signed by the artist.

Copies of the Special Edition are Each copy of the book placed in a drop-back box together with a portfolio of 3 images that also appear in the book and a fourth which was designed and cut specially for this edition. All these 'Special' images were printed (on Japanese paper, with water-based inks and by hand, using a baren) by the artist himself. Each is individually signed and numbered I-X.

The paper is 250gsm Vélin Arches. Ralph Kiggell's blocks throughout the book were printed from the wood. The book was case-bound at The Fine Bindery with papers printed with the artist's images and the slipcase is cloth-covered and has a printed label.

Leading the Cranes Home

Published in 2006

56 pp.

330 x 285 mm

Editions & Availability

150 copies were printed of the Main Edition at £250 each.

The Main Edition is no longer available.

ISBN: 978-0-907664-75-8


Only 10 copies were printed of the Special Edition at £485 each.

Special Editions are not available.

ISBN: 978-0-907664-77-2

Purchase Enquiry

If you would like to purchase this book, please contact us, letting us know which edition you are interested in and your address.