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date: 10 December 2019

Daoji [Tao-chi; zi Shitao, Shih-t’ao] locked

(b Guilin, Guangxi Province, 1642; d Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1707).
  • Wen Fong

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[Tao-chi; zi Shitao, Shih-t’ao]

(b Guilin, Guangxi Province, 1642; d Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1707).

Chinese painter and calligrapher. In modern Western writing he is most commonly referred to as Daoji or Shitao, although he himself preferred the name Yuanji. He was a descendant of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) imperial Zhu family. In 1645, in the face of invading Manchu troops, a family servant fled with Daoji to nearby Quanzhou, Guangxi Province, and in 1647 they found refuge in Buddhist monastic life. A large number of the many sobriquets Daoji adopted sprang from his connection with Buddhism.

Around 1650 Daoji and his servant left Quanzhou, travelling by boat and on foot around Hubei, Hunan, northern Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang. At this time, c. 1655, Daoji began to paint, beginning with subjects such as orchids. In 1664, at Mt Kun, Songjiang, Jiangsu Province, he became the disciple of a powerful Chan Buddhist priest, Lüan Benyue, who in 1665 instructed him to resume his wandering life. After a visit to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, Daoji visited Mt Huang, Anhui Province, in ...

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