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Carol Michaelson


Chinese dynasty dating to c. 1050–256 bc that succeeded the Shang dynasty. The Zhou established suzerainty as far south as the coastal districts on the eastern and northern edge of the Yangzi River basin and as far north as modern Beijing. The empire encompassed areas bordering on Central Asian and Mongol deserts to the west and north and the state of Chu in the south. However, for much of the period Zhou rule was not direct, but limited, devolved and often challenged. Chronologically, the Zhou is divided into the Western Zhou (c. 1050–771 bc ) and the Eastern Zhou (771–256 bc ). The Eastern Zhou period is further divided into a Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc ), named after the chronology for the state of Lu, the Chunqiu (‘Spring and Autumn Annals’), and the Warring States period (403–221 bc ), a time of severe fragmentation. The exact dating of these periods is a matter of debate, however: many scholars date the Spring and Autumn period to ...


Kim Hongnam

[Chou Liang-kung]

(b Nanjing, 1612; d 1672). Chinese patron, collector and writer. Zhou’s devotion to the art of his own time rather than to that of the past was unique in traditional China. His huge collection of contemporary paintings was unrivalled in his day, and his extensive influence within the art world led artists to seek his endorsement. His book Duhua lu (‘Record of researches into painting’; c. 1673), also known as Du hua lou hua ren zhuan (‘Biographies of painters from researches into painting’), a collection of biographical notes on 77 painters, became and has remained the authoritative source on 17th-century Chinese painters. Also well known is Zhou’s 18-leaf collective album with facing inscriptions (Taipei, N. Pal. Mus.), which groups together the works of various contemporary artists.

Zhou was a man of classical culture and taste. In his aesthetic outlook he maintained a view typical of the Chinese literati (Chin. ...


Richard Edwards

[Shen Chou; zi Qi’nan; hao Shitian]

(b Xiangcheng, nr Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1427; d Xiangcheng, 1509).

Chinese painter, calligrapher and poet. He is generally considered to be the leading literati master of his time, the artist to whom the establishment of the Wu school is most often and aptly attributed. Wu was the ancient geographical area centred on the city of Suzhou, where Shen Zhou lived all his life. Artists of the Wu tradition (not a school in the strict sense) were literati or scholar-amateurs who emphasized the importance and interdependence of poetry, painting and calligraphy. Their aesthetic ideals and aims were thus in direct contrast with those of the professional and court painters of the Zhe school, the leading exponent of which was Dai Jin.

Shen’s ancestors suffered substantial losses in the turmoil that accompanied the end of the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). When Shen’s great-grandfather, Shen Liangchen (1340–1409), established the family estates at Xiangcheng, c. 16 km north-east of Suzhou, on a flat plain honeycombed with watercourses, he laid the foundations for the family’s renewed prosperity. Shen Zhou represented a fourth generation of wealth, high social position and deep knowledge of China’s cultural traditions. Shen Liangchen had been a younger friend of the Yuan-period painter Wang Meng, and Shen’s grandfather, ...


Bent Nielsen

[Chuang-pai ; Chuang-po]

Site on the border of Fufeng County and Qishan County in Shaanxi Province, China. It is one of the main centres of bronze finds from the Zhou period (c. 1050–256 bc ) in Shaanxi; many of the finds bear Shang (c. 1600–c. 1050 bc) motifs or are forms characteristic of the Shang period. In 1976 a storage pit dating from the Western Zhou period (c. 1050–771 bc ) and filled with bronzes was discovered. A total of 103 bronzes, of which 74 were inscribed, had been placed carefully in three layers in the pit. In addition to spoons and bells, 21 different types of vessels, jars, pots, bowls and dishes were represented; all were in a good state of preservation. The bronzes can be divided into groups according to the names and circumstances given in the inscriptions. The 284-character inscription on a pan dish known as the Shi Qiang ...


Deborah Nash

[Feng Tzu-K’ai; Feng Tse-kai]

(b Shimenwan, near Changde, Zhejiang Province, Nov 9, 1898; d Shanghai, Sept 15, 1975).

Chinese cartoonist, teacher, translator and writer. He is best known for the lyrical cartoons he created from the 1920s to the 1960s, which explored themes of Buddhist philosophy and the innocence of childhood through humorous observations of daily life. He trained as a teacher at the First Teacher Training College in Hangzhou, where he was taught by Li Shutong, a Buddhist monk who was to prove influential in Feng’s conversion to Buddhism in 1927 and in the development of his artistic career.

In 1921 Feng left Shanghai, where he had founded a teacher training college, and went to study Western art in Japan. However, as he later acknowledged in his book The Art of the Cartoon, he became fascinated by the popular Japanese manga (Chin. manhua; cartoon). On his return to China ten months later he joined the editorial staff of the Kaiming Book Company and began to publish his cartoons in the journal ...


Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Chan Tzu-ch’ien ]

( fl Sui dynasty, ad 581–618).

Chinese painter . After the defeat of the Northern Zhou (557–81), he was summoned to Chang’an (now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province) by the victorious new emperor, Wendi (reg 582–604). He became the most influential painter of the Sui period, attaining several prestigious titles. Emperor Wendi promoted Buddhist art and sponsored sculptures and wall paintings throughout China. Zhan Ziqian was among the best of the artists who traversed the land to the growing numbers of Buddhist monasteries and temples, producing wall paintings for Guangming si, Lingbao si and Yunhua si in Luoyang (Henan Province) and Chang’an, for Dongan si in Jiangdu (now Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province) and for other temples in western Zhejiang Province. Tang period ( ad 618–907) writers recalled Zhan’s wall painting Eight Kings Dividing the Shari (Skt sarīra, the relics of a Buddha after cremation), a popular theme in Buddhist painting during the Sui period, at the Chan Buddhist monastery Longxing si in Chengdu, Sichuan Province....


Norihisa Mizuta


Name used by five generations of Japanese seal-carvers, active from the mid-18th century to the Meiji period (1868–1912). An ancient bronze seal (Jap. kichū) with a stem in the shape of a turtle (zōroku) was passed down from one generation of the family to the next. The founder of the Hamamura school was Zōroku I [Kitsu Mokyo] (b Edo [now Tokyo], 1735; d Edo, 1794), who worked in an Archaic seal-carving style influenced by Kō Fuyō (see Japan §XVII 20.). He was the eldest of four sons, and from an early age he was attracted by the Archaic school (Kotaiha) of Kō Fuyō. He went to Kyoto to learn the technique of seal-engraving from Fuyō and to seek out the mysteries of the art. He later returned to Edo, where he was instrumental in spreading the Archaic-school style. His style, which came close to that of Fuyō, gained him a very high reputation. In ...


Zhong Hong

Archaeological site at the city centre of Changsha, capital of Hunan Province in southern China. From this site an astonishing quantity of documents belonging to the Kingdom of Wu ( ad 222–280) was unearthed in 1996.

Covering the south and southeast China, the Kingdom of Wu was one of the three kingdoms in a period of division immediately following the fall of the Han dynasty. Also known as Dongwu (the Eastern Wu) period in Chinese history, Wu was immortalized for its rivalry with other kingdoms in the Ming dynasty novel Sanguo yanyi (‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’). Outside of the legends, however, little was known about Wu due to the fact that historical documentation surviving from this period was scarce. This situation changed after the 1996 excavation at Changsha, a key city of Wu, where archaeologists uncovered 57 storage wells in the Zoumalou construction site. Thousands of items made of bronze, steel, iron, ceramics, wood and bamboo were unearthed. The most surprising discovery was from a single well containing a hoard of about 170,000 intact slips and fragments, inscribed and dated to the Eastern Wu period, with an estimated text of over 3 million characters....


Vyvyan Brunst and James Cahill

[ Chao Tso ; zi Wendu ]

(b ?Songjiang [in modern Shanghai Municipality], c. 1570; d ?Tangxi, West Lake region of Hangzhou, c. 1633).

Chinese painter and theorist . Zhao studied painting under the landscape painter and calligrapher Song Xu and became the founder of the Yunjian school, one of two groups active in the Songjian region, near Shanghai, during the early 17th century (the other, the Huating school, was led by Dong Qichang , the founder and theorist of the Orthodox school of painting). Zhao wrote a short text called Lun hua (‘Discussion of painting’), the first surviving text on landscape painting since the Xie shanshui jue (‘Secrets of describing landscape’), written by Huang Gongwang about three centuries earlier. The essay adheres to Huang’s concerns with dynamic force (shi), natural order (li) and the organization of mountain masses in long, continuous movements within the composition. Zhao Zuo’s text lacks the stern intellectual tone of Dong Qichang’s writing. It offers practical advice for the artist, such as how to sketch houses, trees and bridges in dry brushwork before developing the forms with wet ink, and includes advice on depicting figures, villages and temples, anecdotal elements not often found in Dong’s painting. Indeed, Yunjian school painting in general, and Zhao’s work in particular, is more representational, more relaxed and executed with softer brushstrokes and less dramatic tonal contrast than comparable Huating school works....


Ralph Croizier

[ Wu Tso-jen ]

(b Jiangyin County, Jiangsu Province, Nov 3, 1908; d April 9, 1997).

Chinese painter and arts administrator . Brought up in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, a city known for its strong artistic tradition, he studied oil painting first at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Art (1927) and then under Xu Beihong at the Nanguo [Southern] Academy of Fine Art in Shanghai and the art department of the Central University in Nanjing. From 1930 to 1935 he was in Europe; he studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, also visiting Austria, Germany, England and Italy. During this time he practised both mural and easel painting, acquiring a solid foundation in the rather conservative academic style favoured by Xu Beihong. After his return to China he was invited to teach at the art department of the National Central University, and his oil landscapes were shown at the Second National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Nanjing (...


Gordon Campbell