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Article

Celia Carrington Riely

[Ch’en Chi-ju; zi Zhongshun; hao Meigong, Meidaoren, Migong]

(b Huating, Jiangsu Province [modern Songjiang, Shanghai Municipality], 16 Dec 1558; d 19 Oct 1639). Chinese editor, writer, calligrapher and painter. He exemplified the literati ideal of the accomplished gentleman–scholar who rejected the sordid world of political involvement and devoted himself to a life of literary, artistic and philosophical pursuit. At the age of 28, having passed the prefectural examination, the first important step leading to a career in government office, Chen renounced official life in a dramatic gesture, by burning his Confucian cap and gown. Thereafter he lived at country retreats at Kunshan and then Mt She, near Huating in Jiangsu Province: entertaining guests; writing and editing; composing the poems, prefaces, epitaphs and biographies for which he was in constant demand; and travelling to places of scenic beauty in the company of friends.

Chen followed the lead of his close friend Dong Qichang, the foremost painter, calligrapher and connoisseur of the late Ming period (...

Article

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....

Article

Cecil H. Uyehara

[Sanmyakuin]

(b 1565; d 1614).

Japanese government official, poet, painter and calligrapher. Together with Hon’ami Kōetsu (see Hon’ami family §(1)) and Shōkadō Shōjō, Nobutada is recognized as one of the Kan’ei no Sanpitsu (‘Three Brushes of the Kan’ei [1624–44] era’), despite his death a decade earlier. The Konoe family belonged to the powerful Hokke branch of the Fujiwara family; Nobutada was the son of Fujiwara [Konoe] Sakihisa, a court official. He became Minister of the Left at the age of 21, but resigned this post in 1592 after a disagreement with the then Regent, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He participated without permission in Hideyoshi’s ill-fated invasion of Korea in 1592, incurring imperial displeasure, and in 1594 was exiled to Satsuma in southern Kyushu. He returned to Kyoto in 1596, however, regained his ministerial portfolio and became Regent in 1605. He was one of the best-known calligraphers of his time. He studied Zen Buddhism at Daitokuji in Kyoto, which undoubtedly influenced his approach to calligraphy. While he was initially trained in the Shōren’in tradition of calligraphy (...

Article

Celia Carrington Riely

revised by Katharine Burnett

[Tung Ch’i-ch’ang; zi Xuanzai; hao Sibo, Siweng, Xiangguang, Xiangguang jushi; Wenmin]

(b Shanghai, Feb 10, 1555; d Dec 1636).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, connoisseur, theoretician, collector, and high official.

At the age of 12 Dong Qichang, the son of a local school teacher, passed the prefectural civil-service examination to qualify as a Government Student (shengyuan) and was awarded a coveted place in the prefectural school. Mortified, however, at being ranked below his younger kinsman Dong Chuanxu because of his clumsy calligraphy, from 1571 Dong resolved to study calligraphy in earnest. His initial models were rubbings of works by the Tang-period (618–907 ce) calligraphers Yan Zhenqing and Yu Shinan (558–638), but soon realizing the superior merits of the Six Dynasties (222–589 ce) calligraphers, he turned to the works of Zhong You (151–230 ce) and the great Wang Xizhi (see Wang family (i), (1)). After three years he was confident of having grasped their style, and no longer admired works by the Ming-period (...

Article

Ellen Johnston Laing

[Chun; Ch’en Shun; zi Daofu, Fufu; hao Baiyang, Baiyang Shanren]

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1483; d 1544).

Chinese painter, calligrapher and poet. Born into a wealthy family of the scholar–official class, he is known for his landscapes (see fig.) and flower paintings. He was once a student of Wen Zhengming and was loosely associated with the Wu school.

He is best known for his landscapes in the style of the Northern Song-period (960–1127) master Mi Fu and his son, Mi Youren, and of their Yuan-period (1279–1368) interpreter, Gao Kegong (see fig.). The Mi style was rarely appreciated by Suzhou artists, but Chen’s affinity for it could be explained by the fact that his family owned a painting by Mi Youren. The style is characterized by cone-shaped or rounded hills composed of large, horizontal, wet blobs of ink applied in vertical layers. Chen added motifs and techniques borrowed from the Suzhou artist Shen Zhou, such as rhomboid plateaux outlined with dry brush lines and squat, blocky figures. Chen further modified the Mi style, giving it a rich, colouristic effect by introducing fluid colour washes and large blobs of blue and buff, as in his ...

Article

Xu Wei  

James Cahill

revised by Vyvyan Brunst

[Hsü Wei; zi Wenchang]

(b Shanyin [modern Shaoxing], Zhejiang Province, Mar 12, 1521; d 1593).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, essayist, poet, and dramatist. He was born to the concubine of a minor official and was reared by his father’s second wife after his father’s death. In 1540 he passed the first test leading to higher government examinations. He was married the following year and moved with his wife’s family to Guangzhou (Canton). Xu retreated to a monastery in 1550, after the deaths of his wife and stepbrothers, and attempted the higher civil service examination but failed repeatedly. While in the monastery Xu Wei turned his energies to writing and painting, producing paintings, plays, poetry, and essays on opera. His literary reputation resulted in his appointment as personal secretary to Hu Zongxian, the commander–governor of the southeast coastal provinces, a post he held until 1562, when his patron was accused of treason and imprisoned. Between 1552 and 1561 Xu Wei four times attempted the provincial examinations, the second stage in the civil service examinations, with no success. From ...

Article

Alice R. M. Hyland

[T’ang Yin; zi Bohu; hao Ziwei, Liuru]

(b Suzhou, April 6, 1470; d Suzhou, Jan 7, 1524).

Chinese painter, poet and calligrapher. He was born into the merchant class of Suzhou, where his father was a restaurateur, and although lacking social standing, he received an excellent education. He was a brilliant student and became the protégé of Wen Lin (1445–99), the father of Wen Zhengming. His friends in Suzhou scholarly circles included Shen Zhou, Wu Kuan (1436–1504) and Zhu Yunming. In 1498 Tang Yin came first in the provincial examinations in Nanjing, the second stage in the civil service examination ladder. The following year he went to Beijing to sit the national examinations, but he and his friend Xu Jing (d 1507) were accused of bribing the servant of one of the chief examiners to give them the examination questions in advance. All parties were jailed, and Tang Yin returned to Suzhou in disgrace, his justifiably high hopes for a distinguished civil service career dashed forever....

Article

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....