Masters on Masterpieces of Chinese Painting

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Table of Contents
The Value of Literati Paintings
Gu Kaizhi’s Painting of Ode to Goddess Luo
Zhan Ziqian and His Painting Spring Outing
Han Gan and His Painting Herding Horses
Han Huang and His Painting Five Oxen
Gu Hongzhong’s Painting Han Xizai Evening Banquet
Zhou Wenju’s Playing Chess by Double Screens
Xu Xi, Huang Quan and “Non-Outlined Paintings”
Landscape Paintings by Fan Kuan
Wang Qihan’s Man Cleaning His Ear
Xiao and Xiang Rivers of Dong Yuan
Stories about the Painting Along the River during the Qingming Festival
Wen Tong and His Bamboo Paintings
The Two Mis and Three Zhaos
Emperor Huizong and Academy Painting of the Song Dynasty
Li Bai’s Image in Liang Kai’s Painting
A Brief Analysis of Ma Lin’s Listening to the Wind in the Pines
Secrets of Plum Blossom Paintings of the Song and Yuan Dynasties
Four Master Painters in Late Yuan Dynasty
Huang Gongwang and His Painting Nine Peaks Clearing after Snow
On Wang Meng’s Ge Zhichuan Resettlement
Fu Shan’s Piled Rocks on Hills
Bada Shanren and His Flower-and-Bird Paintings
Self-Portrait of Jin Nong
Ren Bonian’s Birds-Hunting in the Autumn
Wu Changshuo and His Plum Paintings
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Stories about the Painting Along the River during the Qingming Festival
Ye Kangning
The storytelling script Stories to Warn Men (Xing Shi Yan) made the following quotation in Chapter 32 “Three Serpents Play Tricks in Vain and the Ding Finally Returns to the Former Owner”:
An old man in this dynasty was entrusted by a traitor minister to look for an ancient painting. He made a copy of the painting to the traitor minister and concealed the genuine work. Unfortunately with his trick discovered by the traitor minister, he was sentenced to death.
Although Stories to Warn Men tells only an opinion of the novelist, the quotation was not invented but well grounded. It involves a trade of the famous painting Along the River during the Qingming Festival in the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty. The trade was not only recorded in many books, but also reworked into a play A Handful of Snowflakes and staged, reflecting how great its influence was. All recordings of the story in various books include four plots: Wang Shu soliciting the painting, Huang Biao making a replica, Tang Chen extorting bribes and Yan Song murdering Wang Shu.
I.Wang Shu soliciting the painting
During the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty, Yan Song manipulated power for personal ends and his son Yan Shifan “engages in politics through his father. He was promoted from Taichangqing (an official who controls ritual, god of land and god of grains) to Zuoshilang (assistant minister) of the Ministry of Works for the merit of building the outer city of the capital and was still in charge of the Shangbao Division (in charge of the imperial jade seals, tallies and chops etc.). He was swift, fierce and cruel and greedy of potency and money. However, he was proficiency in national decrees and regulations and had a good knowledge of overall situation and state affairs. He once said that himself, Lu Bing and Yang Bo were the best talents of the world. After Lu Bing died, Yan became growingly self-conceit. Yan Song lost his wits with age, and stayed in the Imperial Palace all the time. The subordinate officials of various departments often said “ask Donglou” when they reporting affairs. Donglou was the alias of Yan Shifan. The state affairs were all entrusted to Shifan. The officials under the ministers even had no chance to report to the emperor or have to wait in vain until dusk and return back. The scholars all looked askance at him with indignation and the unworthy fellows fawned on him. Shifan was familiar with duties of all the positions and the rules of punishment and bribes and the others could not conceal any at all. He built his residence in the capital city, which covered several blocks. He created a pond of dozens of mu in his residence, and collected rare birds and trees in his residence and entertained himself with guests wantonly all day. Even when his mother passed away he did not changed at all. He liked bronze vessels, calligraphic works and paintings. Zhang Wenhua, Yan Maoqing and Hu Zongxian and the like sent such treasures to Yan or extorted treasures from the rich people until he obtained what he wanted.” (The History of Ming , Volume 308)
Most of the subordinate officials fawned on Yan Song and his son for avoiding calamity if not for promotion. Yu Dayou was once put into prison because he was frank and not good at greasiness and provoked Yan Shifan. The Chronicles of the Ming Dynasty (Ming Shi Ji Ben Mo) has such records: “In the 35th year (of the reign of Emperor Jiajing), Yu Dayou was put into the prison of Jinyiwei. Dayou was not good at flattery. And Yan Shifan was angered by Yu’s reluctance of attachment and incited Hu Zongxian to criminate Yu’s failure. Therefore Yu was sentenced and had to borrow a large sum of money to grease Yan. Yu was pardoned of death penalty but dismissed to Datong to redeem himself by good services”.
Among the numerous hangers-on, some were officials with political reputation. Wang Shu was one among them, who was governor of jiliao , zuoshilang of the Ministry of War and youduyushi (junior president of the censorate). Wang Shu, styled Minying, alternative name Sizhi, was born in Taicang. He was jinshi (passed the highest imperial examination) of the 20th year of the reign of Emperor Jiajing and had defended against Mongolian invasion at the northern border and invasion of Japanese pirates in the south. Wang Shizhen, leader of the literary circles, was his eldest son and Yu Dayou, a famous Ming-Dynasty General who defended China against the Japanese pirates’ invasion, was his subordinate.

 Sample pages of Masters on Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (ISBN:9787508533209)
Sample pages of Masters on Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (ISBN:9787508533209)
Sample pages of Masters on Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (ISBN:9787508533209)
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Masters on Masterpieces of Chinese Painting