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Ho Chuan-Hsing

[Chu Yün-ming; zi Xizhe; hao Jishan]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, c. 1460–61; d Suzhou, 1527).

Chinese calligrapher, scholar, essayist and poet . Born into an illustrious Suzhou family, he was commended in the provincial examinations, the second stage of the civil service career ladder, at the age of 33 but failed in several attempts at the national examinations. In 1514 he took office as magistrate of Xingning County in Guangdong Province and in 1522 was promoted to assistant prefectural magistrate of Yingtian District (now Nanjing). He retired after less than a year and died at the age of 67. Zhu was an outstanding representative of certain literary circles in Suzhou, revered not only for his calligraphy, but also for his scholarship, essays and poetry. His individual and non-conformist beliefs made him severely critical of Song Neo-Confucianism, the orthodox teaching of his day, seeing it as both ill-founded and constricting. His love of liberty and adherence to the classics are reflected in his calligraphy, which is at once informed by a thorough acquaintance with the classical masters and executed with an expansive and uninhibited flair....



(b 1694; d 1764).

Japanese poet and calligrapher . She was the adopted daughter of the famous Kaji , who ran the Matsuya tea house in Kyoto and was also a waka (31-syllable classical verse) poet. Yuri’s original family name may have been Kimura. Her initial training in waka and calligraphy came from her mother. Yuri was said to be exceptionally intelligent, and the courtier–poet Reizei Tamemura took a special interest in her and became her mentor. Both her poetry and her relaxed and fluid style of calligraphy reveal her strong personality. Nature was her preferred subject. In 1727, 159 of her poems were published in the Sayuri ba (‘Leaves from a small lily’). The scholar and poet Rai San’yō wrote her biography, exhorting other women to follow her example. She was the mother of the painter Ike Gyokuran ( see Ike family §(2) ).

Japanese Women Artists, 1600–1900 (exh. cat. by P. Fister, Lawrence, U. KS, Spencer Mus. A., 1988), pp. 69, 73–4, 80...


Roger Goepper

[ Yen Chen-ch’ing ; zi Qingchen ; Lu Gong ]

(b Shandong Province, ad 709; d 785).

Chinese calligrapher, scholar, writer and government official . His family, members of the gentry, moved within Shandong from the north to the south, giving him an acquaintance with the different cultural traditions of both areas. After the early death of his father he was educated by his uncle, Yan Yuansun. At the age of 28 he passed the civil service examinations to become a jinshi. He was prefect of Dezhou and governor of Pingyuan, both in Shandong Province, and he held high positions at the imperial library, in the Ministry of Justice and as preceptor of the crown prince. In 767 he received the title Duke of Lu (Lu Gong) for his honesty and integrity as investigation censor of the Bureau of Administration. An outstanding example of Confucian loyalty, he fought against the rebellion of An Lushan in 755 and against Li Xieli in 781; Li took him prisoner and had him strangled in 785....


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...


Lu Zhi  

Louise Yuhas

[Lu Chih; zi Shuping; hao Baoshan]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1496; d Suzhou, 1576).

Chinese painter and minor poet (see fig.). He is associated with the Wu school of painters active in Suzhou during the Ming period (1368–1644). Lu’s surviving paintings date to 1523–74; the most distinctive, executed between 1547 and 1555, represent a synthesis between the literati style of painting (wenren hua), as exemplified by Wen Zhengming (see Wen family, §1), and the professional tradition, as epitomized by Qiu Ying. Lu himself was a literatus: after he passed the local civil-service examination, his studies were supported by the prefectural government, though he never succeeded in the provincial examination. In 1557, at the age of 61, he was awarded the largely honorary gongsheng degree and allowed to retire.

Lu lived a life of genteel poverty. With the exception of two years as an instructor in a Confucian school in the early 1520s, he did not accept employment, refusing the hopeful students who sought him out. In the mid-1550s he built a retreat outside Suzhou on Mt Zhixing, where he lived in relative seclusion until the age of 80, when failing health forced him to return to the city. His biographer Wang Shizhen noted that Lu was somewhat misanthropic: he barred the door and hid at the approach of unwanted guests, though he might talk the night away over home-made chrysanthemum wine with a few select friends....


Chu-Tsing Li

[Ts’ao Chih-pai; zi Youxan, Zhensu; hao Yunxi]

(b Huating (modern Songjiang, Shanghai Municipality), 1272; d 1355).

Chinese painter, poet and engineer. Born into a family of prominent officials, he lost his father during infancy and was brought up by his mother and grandfather. He received a traditional education in the Chinese Confucian classics. He distinguished himself first as a hydraulic engineer, serving in 1294 and again in 1298 as an imperial adviser. His engineering achievements earned him great repute and doubtless contributed to his becoming one of the richest men in the Huating district. By reclaiming large areas of local wetland, he developed a large estate and farm. In the early 1300s he became a teacher in the nearby district of Kunshan but soon resigned. Later he visited the capital, Dadu (Khanbalik; now Beijing), where many aristocrats and high officials were interested in befriending him. Cao declined all offers of patronage, however, saying that he was not one of the vulgar people who went to the capital to seek high position....


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, ...


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 ...


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 (...