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Yi Sŏng-mi

[cha Misu ; childhood name Tŭggok ]

(b Inch-on, Kyŏnggi Province, 1152; d 1220).

Korean literati painter, calligrapher and writer . He wrote the P’ahanjip (Chin. Poxian ji: ‘Breaking the doldrums’), a collection of poems and miscellaneous stories in the sihwa (Chin. shihua) literary genre. Active in the Koryŏ period (918–1392), he was born into a well-to-do family; he became a monk but soon abandoned the religious life, passing the civil service examination in 1180. Because of his literary talent and excellence in calligraphy, he served in the Office of Compilation of History. None of his painting or calligraphy has survived, but he was supposed to have excelled in the cursive and clerical scripts and learned ink bamboo painting from An Ch’i-min, another literati painter of the Koryŏ period. According to a poem written by him on his own ink bamboo painting and recorded in the P’ahanjip, he considered himself an incarnation of Wen Tong , the Chinese ink bamboo painter of the Northern Song period (...


Chu-Tsing Li

[Kung K’ai; zi Shengyu; hao Cuiyan]

(b Huaiyin, Jiangsu Province, 1221; d 1307).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, essayist and poet. When the Mongols became rulers of China as the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), Gong Kai became known chiefly as one of the loyalists of the preceding Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). Like many intellectuals of the Song period, he received a standard classical education. However, having apparently failed to distinguish himself in the official civil service examinations, he had to serve on the staff of commanders guarding the area of Lianghuai (now Jiangsu Province, north of the River Yangzi) against the constant threat from the north by the Ruzhen (Jürchen) and the Mongols. After the Yuan dynasty became established, Gong lived a secluded life with his family, mainly in the cultural centre of Suzhou and in Hangzhou, the old Southern Song dynastic capital, although he remained active in literary circles. His final years seem to have been spent in poverty. It was said that, lacking furniture in his house, he wrote or drew by resting the paper on his son’s back. Nevertheless, his artistic and literary accomplishments earned him the respect of many of his friends....


Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....