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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 (...


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....


Cecil H. Uyehara


(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 (...


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 (...


Laura Rivkin

[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 bc) and Han (206 bcad 220...


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 ...


Laura Rivkin

[ Yen Sung ]

(b Fenyi, Jiangxi Province, 1480; d 1565). Chinese government official, collector and poet. He came from an artisan family and passed the civil-service examination in 1505 to gain his jinshi degree. He subsequently held a variety of public posts before being appointed a Grand Secretary in 1542 and becoming a favourite of the Jiajing emperor (reg 1522–66). After intense political manoeuvring he became the chief Grand Secretary in 1548 and remained in that position until 1562, when he and his son Yan Shifan were dismissed from their posts and degraded to the status of commoner.

After his dismissal, an inventory of Yan’s possessions from his various properties was compiled and published by Zhou Shilin in the Tian shui bingshan lu (‘Record of heaven reducing the ice mountain to water’); this included estimates of the market value of the items. An abbreviated version, the Qian shan tang shuhua ji...


Yi Sŏng-mi

[myŏng Yi Kong or Kyun]

(reg 1567–1608).

Korean ruler, poet and painter. He reigned during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). As an artist he excelled in ink paintings of bamboo and orchid as well as calligraphy (see Korea §V 5.) and promoted scholarship and good government by inviting such famous Neo-Confucian scholars as Yi Yi to court. No paintings by Sŏnjo survive. Only the poetic inscriptions he wrote on his ink bamboo paintings that were given to the High Priest Sŏsan Taesa have been recorded. Kim Chŏng-hŭi, the noted scholar–painter and calligrapher, commented on King Sŏnjo’s ink orchid painting: ‘In our country no one before King Sŏnjo did ink orchid well. When I see the King’s orchid painting, I feel his heaven-sent talent. His orchid leaves and flowers follow the methods of Cheng Sixiao [fl c. 1240–1310], a Chinese scholar–painter of the late Southern Song period [1027–1279; also of the early Yuan, ...


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 ...


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....


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....


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....