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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

(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

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 ...

Article

Tadashi Kobayashi

[Sansai]

(b Osaka, 1736; d Osaka, 1802). Japanese collector, scholar, poet, painter and calligrapher. As a boy he undertook the study of medicinal herbs at the apothecary’s shop owned by his father and other relatives. According to tradition he began to have an interest in art when he was about five or six and studied with the Kanō-school master Ōoka Shunboku. He also learnt bird-and-flower painting (kachōga) under Kakutei, a Zen priest from Nagasaki. He first met the literati painter Ike Taiga (see Ike family §(1)) when he was 15, and became his pupil. Taiga’s influence is evident in his Bunjinga (literati painting; see Japan §VI 4., (vi), (d)) and also in his calligraphy, in which he excelled. Kenkadō also studied seal-carving with Kō Fuyō, a friend of Taiga, and poetry with Katayama Hokkai. He became one of the most erudite and well-known literati in the region. By profession he was a sake brewer and amassed a fortune, which, however, he forfeited when he incurred the wrath of the authorities. He collected a vast range of objects including calligraphy, old writings and paintings, maps, ceramics, utensils for the ...

Article

Kōmyō  

Samuel C. Morse

(b ad 701; d 760).

Japanese empress, Buddhist patron and calligrapher. She was the consort of Shōmu, her half-brother and the 45th emperor of Japan (reg 724–49). Kōmyō was the daughter of Fujiwara no Fubito (659–720), a powerful aristocrat who was also the father of Shōmu’s mother, and Agata Inukai no Tachibana no Michiyo (d 733). Kōmyō and Shōmu, who married in 716, were two of the most fervent Buddhist patrons in the history of Japanese art. They and their family are said to have commissioned 24 complete sets of the Buddhist canon of texts (Jap. issaikyō or daizōkyō), at that time numbering 5048 volumes, and they frequently took up the brush to copy sūtras and the Chinese classics themselves. No extant works can be firmly attributed to Kōmyō, but a copy of the Luoyi lun (Jap. Gakkiron; Nara, Shōsōin) in the style of the 4th-century master Wang Xizhi (...

Article

Celia Carrington Riely

revised by Katharine Burnett

[Tung Ch’i-ch’ang; zi Xuanzai; hao Sibo, Siweng, Xiangguang, Xiangguang jushi; Wenmin]

(b Shanghai, Feb 10, 1555; d Dec 1636).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, connoisseur, theoretician, collector, and high official.

At the age of 12 Dong Qichang, the son of a local school teacher, passed the prefectural civil-service examination to qualify as a Government Student (shengyuan) and was awarded a coveted place in the prefectural school. Mortified, however, at being ranked below his younger kinsman Dong Chuanxu because of his clumsy calligraphy, from 1571 Dong resolved to study calligraphy in earnest. His initial models were rubbings of works by the Tang-period (618–907 ce) calligraphers Yan Zhenqing and Yu Shinan (558–638), but soon realizing the superior merits of the Six Dynasties (222–589 ce) calligraphers, he turned to the works of Zhong You (151–230 ce) and the great Wang Xizhi (see Wang family (i), (1)). After three years he was confident of having grasped their style, and no longer admired works by the Ming-period (...

Article

Saga  

Samuel C. Morse

(b ad 786; reg 809–23; d 842).

Japanese emperor, poet, calligrapher and patron of the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. Along with Kūkai and Tachibana no Hayanari, he is regarded as one of the Sanpitsu (Three Brushes; master calligraphers) of the Heian period (ad 794–1185) (see Japan §VII 2., (ii)). He was the second son of Emperor Kanmu (reg 781–806), who founded the capital Heian (now Kyoto) in 794, and Empress Otomuro (ad 760–90). In 809 he succeeded his half-brother, Emperor Heizei (reg 806–9), to the throne as the 52nd emperor of Japan, and although he abdicated in 823, Saga remained the most powerful figure at court until his death. Politically the most significant event of his career occurred in 810 when Heizei attempted to return the centre of government to the old capital of Heijō (now Nara). Saga and his allies quickly crushed the rebellion, thereby assuring a pre-eminent cultural role for Kyoto in subsequent Japanese history. Saga had a deep passion for Chinese culture. He actively promoted the use of Chinese modes of dress and the adoption of Chinese nomenclature for the various structures of the imperial palace. He wrote accomplished poetry in Chinese and was responsible for the compilation of two imperial anthologies, the ...

Article

Shōmu  

Samuel C. Morse

(b Heijō [now Nara], ad 701; reg 724–49; d Nara, 756).

Forty-fifth emperor of Japan, patron of Buddhism and calligrapher. He was the eldest son of Emperor Monmu (reg 697–707) and Fujiwara no Miyako [Kyūshi] (d 754), daughter of Fujiwara no Fuhito (659–720), a powerful aristocrat who was also the father of Shōmu’s consort, Empress Kōmyō. His reign, which almost coincided with the Tenpyō era (729–49), was marked by a flowering of culture and religion, dominated by the emperor and his consort. Fine Buddhist paintings were created, as were sculptures, made not only of wood and gilt bronze but also of new materials such as clay and dry lacquer (kanshitsu). Shōmu and Kōmyō established a scriptorium within the imperial palace and frequently commissioned sets of the Buddhist texts to be disseminated throughout the country. Skilled calligraphers themselves, they also copied sūtras and the Chinese classics. No extant works can be firmly attributed to Shōmu, but a small number of objects long associated with him reflect his familiarity with the styles of the great 4th-century Chinese master Wang Xizhi (...

Article

John T. Carpenter

(b Asuka, ad 574; d Asuka, 622).

Japanese crown prince (taishi), statesman, patron of Buddhism and the arts and calligrapher. He was known during his lifetime by various nicknames reflecting the circumstances of his birth and his personal attributes. Although historical evidence has been obscured by legend, the Nihon shoki (‘Chronicle of Japan’; 720) suggests that Shōtoku wielded political power by serving as regent for his aunt, Empress Suiko (reg 593–628), after an intense six-year power struggle over the imperial succession. He is said to have instituted reforms of the court rank system, initiated diplomatic relations with China and helped frame the Seventeen-Article Constitution (Jūshichijō no kenpō; 604), an early statement of Japanese universalist philosophy, consisting of moral injunctions for government officials. More significantly, he was a fervent patron of Buddhism who helped foster closer religious and cultural ties with the continent. He is believed to have lectured on three Buddhist sūtras, the ...

Article

Yi Sŏng-mi

[cha Ch-ŏngji ; ho Pihaedang , Maejuk-hŏn , Nanggan-kŏsa ]

(b 1418; d 1453).

Korean calligrapher, painter, poet and collector . Also known as Prince Anp’yŏng, he was the third son of King Sejong . His talents in poetry, painting and calligraphy earned him the title of ‘three excellences’. He sponsored many gatherings of scholars, poets and artists in his studio and became the major patron of An Kyŏn , who painted the famous Dream Visit to the Peach Blossom Land (1447; Tenri, Cent. Lib.) based on a dream that Yi Yŏng had related to him. Prince Anp’yŏng’s collection of Korean and Chinese paintings must have served as inspiration for many contemporary painters. Its contents are known thanks to the Hwagi (‘Notes on painting’) section of the statesman Sin Suk-ju’s Pohanjae chip (‘Collected writings of Pohanjae [Sin Suk-ju]’). This is a valuable record, unique in that no other catalogue of painting collections of the Chosŏn period is known. The Hwagi lists 189 paintings and 33 items of calligraphy, mainly by Chinese painters and calligraphers of the Song (...

Article

Elizabeth F. Bennett

[Lo Chen-yü; zi Xuetang; hao Chensuntang]

(b Huaian, Jiangsu Province, Aug 3, 1866; d Lüshun, Liaoning Province, June 19, 1940).

Chinese writer, collector and calligrapher. He is particularly well known for his studies of oracle bone script (jiagu wen), the earliest Chinese writing, so called because it was found on animal bones and shells used for divination (see China, People’s Republic of §IV 2., (i), (a)). Luo’s friend Wang Yirong (1845–1900) and Liu E (1857–1909) were the first to collect the bones, which they discovered and rescued from pharmacists, who ground them up for medical prescriptions. The importance of oracle bones for early Chinese history was more widely recognized in 1899 after large quantities of them were unearthed at the Yinxu site in Anyang, Henan Province. Sun Yirang (1848–1908), Wang Guowei (1867–1927) and Luo investigated the texts on the oracle bones, and Luo dated them to the latter part of the Shang period (c. 1600–c. 1050...