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Article

Elizabeth F. Bennett

[ Wu Ta-ch’eng ; ming Dashun ; zi Zhijing, Qingqing ; hao Hengxian, Kezhai ]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, June 6, 1835; d March 6, 1902).

Chinese calligrapher, epigrapher and collector . Born into a rich and cultured merchant family, he entered the district school at 16 and at 17 began to study seal script (zhuanshu) under Chen Huan (1786–1863). He received his jinshi degree in 1868 and became a scholar at the Hanlin Academy in Beijing, followed by two years at the Suzhou Provincial Printing Office. In succeeding years, he distinguished himself as an army officer, diplomat and civil servant. He became Governor of Guangdong Province in 1887 and of Hunan in 1892, interrupted by a period as director-general of the conservancy of the Yellow River and the Grand Canal and followed by his directorship of the Longmen Academy in Shanghai in 1898.

Wu amassed a large collection of antiquities. He became renowned as an interpreter of written characters used before the Qin period (221–206 bc) and completed a dictionary of seal characters, the ...

Article

Elizabeth F. Bennett

[ Chang Ta-ch’ien ; Chang Dai–chien ; hao Dafengtang]

(b Neijiang, Sichuan Province, May 10, 1899; d Taipei, April 2, 1983).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, collector and forger . From an artistic family, he began to paint under the tutelage of his mother, Ceng Yi, and did his first paid painting for the local fortune-teller when he was 12 years old. Zhang’s elder sister gave him his first lessons in the classics. At 15 he embarked on three years of schooling at the Qiujing Academy in Chongqing. In 1917 he went to Kyoto in Japan to join his elder brother Zhang Shanzi (1882–1940). Here, Daqian learnt the art of textile painting, and the brothers collaborated in painting tigers: Shanzi painted the animals and Daqian the surroundings. Shanzi kept a pet tiger in the house, using it as his artistic model. In 1919 Zhang returned to China, where he continued his studies in Shanghai with the scholar Ceng Xi. He also studied with the artist Li Ruiqing (1867–1920) and was exposed to Li’s calligraphy in seal script (...

Article

Ju-Hsi Chou

[Kao Feng-han; hao Nanfu Shanren]

(b Jiaozhou (modern Jiao xian), Shandong Province, 1683; d ?Shandong Province, 1748–9).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, seal-carver, collector and poet. The son of a minor official in charge of local education, Gao developed an interest in poetry, painting and seal-carving in his early youth, when he also began to collect old seals and inkstones. The great poet Wang Shizhen took a liking to him and left instructions before his death that Gao be admitted into the ranks of his disciples. A relative of the poet, Wang Qilei, also provided Gao with some formal instruction in the art of painting, beyond what he could learn from his father, an amateur painter of orchids and bamboo. Gao’s official career did not begin until 1729, when he took up an appointment as assistant magistrate of She xian, Anhui Province. In 1734 a new assignment took him to Taizhou, east of Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province. In 1736, having become entangled in a legal dispute involving a chief commissioner of the salt gabelle, he was briefly imprisoned; this and his deteriorating health, which resulted in the paralysis of his right hand, inevitably led to his resignation from officialdom....

Article

Laura Rivkin

[Kao Shih-ch’i]

(b Pinghu County, Zhejiang Province, 1645; d Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 1703). Chinese collector, connoisseur, painter and government official. He grew up in Hangzhou and in 1665 moved to Beijing, where he studied at the imperial academy. In 1687 he attained the highest of his civil-service posts, that of Supervisor of Interpretation in the Hanlin Academy. He was also court painter to the Kangxi emperor (reg 1662–1722). Despite his relatively low rank he was a favourite of the emperor, a position he perhaps exploited to build a finer collection of paintings than would have been possible on his official salary alone. Implicated in a bribery case in 1688, he was dismissed from his official position and retreated to Hangzhou, where he lived in semi-retirement for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, he retained the affection of the emperor, with whom he continued to travel until his own death....

Article

(b Bianliang [modern Kaifeng], Henan Province, 1107; reg 1127–62; d Lin’an, now Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 1187).

Chinese calligrapher, art patron and founding emperor of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). He was the ninth son of the Song artist–emperor Huizong and inherited his father’s artistic talent. He played an important role in encouraging the arts, reviving imperial patronage and setting a standard for his royal successors. Gaozong received a thorough classical education, and his artistic interests were not discouraged, for he was not expected ever to rule. When his oldest brother, the Emperor Qinzong (reg 1126–7), was captured by the Jürchen nomads, founders of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234) in the north, Gaozong took the throne in order to perpetuate the Song dynasty in the south. He rallied support among the literati and the military by bestowing his calligraphic transcriptions of carefully selected texts on specific individuals. His calligraphy enjoyed widespread familiarity and influence after he started distributing rubbings of his works to successful ...

Article

Elizabeth F. Bennett

[ Yeh Kung-ch’uo ; zi Yufu, Yuhu ; hao Xiaan, Juyuan ]

(b Panyu, Guangdong Province, 1881; d 1968).

Chinese calligrapher, painter, archaeologist, collector, poet and government official. He was born into a wealthy, scholarly family, received a classical education and as a youth of 16 founded a school in Guangzhou (Canton) and a publishing company in Shanghai; at 17 he enrolled in law school at the Imperial University in Beijing. His studies were interrupted two years later by the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, whereupon Ye moved to Wuchang, Hubei Province, and taught history, geography and modern languages for four years. In 1906 he began his official career as a specialist in railways and communications. After 1911, Ye held various positions in the Republican government and was instrumental in the establishment of Jiaotong University in Shanghai; he also served as director of classics for several years at Peking [Beijing] University. After the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), he gave up his government career and devoted himself to the arts and research, although he continued to serve on educational and cultural committees for the rest of his life. In particular, he became involved in the committee to organize the simplification of Chinese characters. In ...

Article

Roderick Whitfield

[Li Kung-lin; zi Boshi; hao Longmian, Longmian Jushi; Li Lung-mien]

(b Shucheng County, Anhui Province, c. 1047; d 1106).

Chinese painter and collector. He was from a family of scholar-officials, possibly related to the Li clan who were rulers of the Southern Tang (ad 937–75). In 1070 he passed the national civil-service examinations to gain the title of jinshi, which in the Song period (960–1279) was the culmination of scholarly achievement and means to the highest official careers. Li Gonglin, however, began by retiring to his native district.

Little is known of Li’s life during the 1070s. He was joined by friends in the mountains, and around 1076 went to Nanjing to visit the reformer Wang Anshi (1021–86). In early 1078, Li bought land in Mt Longmian, south-west of Shucheng, and began building a villa that he later depicted in a handscroll painting. A surviving copy of this painting is Shanzhuang tu (‘Longmian mountain villa’; Taipei, N. Pal. Mus.), one scene of which, ‘Hall of Ink Meditation’, alludes to Li’s practice of calligraphy and painting as a means to enlightenment; there are also other versions (Beijing, Pal. Mus. and Florence, I Tatti). In ...

Article

Mary S. Lawton

[Hui-tsung]

(b Tianshui, Gansu Province, 1082; reg 1101–26; d Wuguocheng, Yilan, Heilongjiang Province, 1135). Chinese ruler and painter. The last emperor of the Northern Song period (960–1127), he was the 11th son of the emperor Shenzong (reg 1068–85). Huizong is considered to be the only accomplished artist in a line of emperors who all shared an interest in the arts. The fall of the Northern Song dynasty is usually attributed to Huizong’s neglect of his official duties in favour of religious and cultural pursuits. This preoccupation is described in miscellaneous notes of Deng Chun (fl 1127–67) in the Hua ji (‘Painting continued’; 1167) and by Tang Hou (fl 1322) in the Gujin huajian (‘Mirror of past and present painting’; 1320s), as well as in later chronicles such as the Tuhui baojian (‘Precious mirror for examining painting’; preface dated 1365) by Xia Wenyan....

Article

Mayching Kao

[ Wang Chi-ch’ien ; C. C. Wang ; ming Jiquan ]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Feb 14, 1907; d New York, NY, July 3, 2003).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, collector, and connoisseur, active in the USA. Wang studied Chinese painting and connoisseurship first with Gu Linshi (1865–1933) in Suzhou and subsequently with Wu Hufan (1894–1968) in Shanghai, where he gained access to major painting collections, including that of the Palace Museum. In 1947 he toured the USA and two years later settled in New York. Thereafter he did much to promote the study of Chinese painting in the USA and was often invited to lecture at universities and to advise museums and collectors. Exhibitions of his work were held in prestigious institutions in both Asia and the USA. In keeping with his study of traditional Chinese paintings, in his early work Wang followed the orthodox masters ( see Orthodox school ) and continued the elegant styles of the later literati tradition ( see China, People’s Republic of §V 4., (ii) ). Living in New York put him in contact with trends in modern Western art. Finding parallels between Western abstract art and traditional Chinese painting with its emphasis on spiritual expression, from ...

Article

Elizabeth F. Bennett

[K’o Chiu-ssu; zi Jingzhong, hao Zhouqiu Sheng]

(b Tiantai, Zhejiang Province, 1290; d Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1343). Chinese calligrapher, painter, connoisseur and collector. He was appointed connoisseur to the imperial art collection housed at the newly constructed Kuizhang Pavilion in Beijing in 1330, by the Yuan emperor Wenzong (reg 1330–32). He was given the title of Master Connoisseur of Calligraphy, and was responsible for the verification of all the painting and calligraphy that entered the collection. After the death of Wenzong in 1332, Ke retired to Suzhou, where he spent the rest of his life.

Ke owned a large collection of painting and calligraphy and was often asked to authenticate works and write inscriptions. His calligraphy appears on paintings such as Lowland with Trees (handscroll, ink on paper, n.d.; New York, John M. Crawford jr priv. col.) attributed to Guo Xi, Early Autumn (handscroll, ink and colour on paper, 267×1020 mm, n.d.; Detroit, MI, Inst. A.) by ...