[Wang Shih-chen; zi Yuanmei; hao Fengzhou, Yanzhou Shanren]
(b Taicang, near Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1526; d Taicang, 1590).
Chinese art patron, literary critic, poet and scholar–official. Born into a wealthy, aristocratic family, Wang passed the national civil-service examinations to gain the title of jinshi at the early age of 21. He spent most of his life in public service, retiring temporarily from 1560 to 1567 after his father was tried and executed at the instigation of Grand Secretary Yan Song (the feud between the families was the subject of great contemporary interest and notoriety), and again from 1570 to 1574 after his mother died. From then on he remained more or less on active duty almost until his death.
Wang is best known for his patronage of painters, but in his own day he was most celebrated for his literary achievements. He became an influential member of the guwen movement, which advocated a revival of the Qin (221–206