Tuhui baojian 圖繪寶鑒 (also written 圖繪寶鑑) "Precious mirror of the art of painting" is a book on painting compiled during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) by Xia Wenyan 夏文彥 (fl. 1365), courtesy name Shilang 士良, style Lanzhu Sheng 蘭渚生, from Wuxing 吳興 (today's Huzhou 湖州, Zhejiang). His family owned a huge collection of antiques which inspired Xia to dedicate his life to the study of painting.
Yang Weizhen's 楊維禎 (1296-1370) preface expounds the character of nature (tianzhi 天質), qualities of persons (renpin 人品) and how the mind transmitted the guiding aim of a painter (xin chuan yi ling 心傳意領). The book itself has a length of 5 juan, while where is also an appendix called Tuhui baojian xubian 圖繪寶鑒續編. Its is in great parts a summary of what older authors wrote on the history of Chinese painting, but Xia transformed this host of miscellaneous information into one concise and coherent text. It assembled data and critique of no less than 1,500 painters from the beginnings to the Yuan period, including foreign artists from Japan, Gaochang, Tibet, Koryŏ and the Western Xia empire 西夏 (1038-1227).
The first fascicle includes theories of painting by older authors like the six methods of the brush (liufa 六法), the quality classification in three ranks (sanpin 三品), the three mistakes (sanbing 三病), the six important points (liuyao 六要), and the six strengths (liuchang 六長). Xia adds his own theories and observations to these writings. The rest of the book is more or less arranged chronologically, apart from the end of the last juan that is dedicated to foreigners. The book focuses on persons and transmits names not found in other sources, but Xia does not speak a lot about specific paintings of these artists.
The appendix Xubian 續編 was compiled by Han Ang 韓昂 (jinshi degree 1478), who was Vice Director of Astronomy (qintianjian jianfu 欽天監監副) during the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644). It includes information on roughly 100 painters from the late Yuan and the early Ming period.
The Tuhui baojian is included in the series Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, Pingjinguan congshu 平津館叢書, Baijinglou congshu 拜經樓叢書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編. The appendix of Han Yan is found in the editions of the Rongyuan congshu 榕園叢書 and the Siku quanshu.
A further supplement to Xia's book, Zengbu tuhui baojian 增補圖繪寶鑒 with a length of 8 juan, was compiled by an anonymous author named Fangjian 坊間 "On the streets".
A further continuation of Xia's project, Tuhui baojian xuzuan 圖繪寶鑒續纂, was carried out by a team of writers under the guidance of Feng Xianshi 馮仙湜 (active c. 1730) or Feng Shi 馮湜, courtesy name Zhijian 沚鑒, style Guodeng 過登 or Yexi Moxia 耶溪墨俠, from Shaoxing 紹興, Zhejiang. The original version of this book had a length of 8 juan, but the transmitted version has been abbreviated to 3 juan. It presents 644 outstanding painters from the mid-Ming to the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The last fascicle is dedicated to female painters. The author(s) relied on various sources from biographical books like Guochao huazheng lu 國朝畫征錄 by Zhang Geng 張庚 (1685-1760) to various local records like Wusheng shishi 無聲詩史 by Jiang Shaoshu 姜紹書 (d. c. 1680), Haiyu huayuan lüe 海虞畫苑略 by Yu Yi 魚翼 (b. 1675), Wujun danqing zhi 吳郡丹青志 by Wang Zhideng 王穉登 (1535-1614) or Yuehua jianwen 越畫見聞 by Tao Yuanzao 陶元藻 (1716-1801).