Scholarship in the History of Ancient
Chinese Painting in the 1990s
China Central Institute of Fine Arts
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The scholarship of the history of ancient Chinese painting in
the 1990s develops out of and continues the scholarship from the 1980s.
Due to changes in research climate, and the improvement of scholarly
knowledge, 1990s scholarship presents new characteristics and directions.
First, there is a new trend in research and re-evaluation of the literati
paintings of the Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911)
dynasties, grounded in a tradition of critique from the early twentieth-century
-- previously renounced for over a hundred years that uses socio-historical
examination. Following the 1989 "International Symposium on Dong Qichang"
in Songjiang (Jiangsu province), the Palace Museum held the "International
Academic Conference on Wu School Paintings" in Nandaihe in 1990. Afterwards,
the symposium volume Studies of Wu School Painting was published.
In October 1992, Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy Press sponsored an
exhibition held by the editorial department of the journal Duoyun
entitled "The Gems of the Four Wangs," accompanied by the "International
Symposium of the Paintings of the Four Wangs." This resulted in the
publication Essays on Studies of the Four Wangs of the Early Qing
Dynasty. After the "Four Wangs" symposium, cultural organizations
in the city of Wuxi (Jiangsu province) sponsored the "Exhibition of
Paintings by Ni Zan and His School" and the "International Symposium
of Ni Zan Paintings." At the same time, Chronology of Works by Ni
Zan, edited by Zhu Zhongyue, and Studies of Ni Yunlin,
edited by Xiao Ping and others, were also published. In March 1995,
the Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy Press again sponsored a symposium
held by the editorial department of Duoyun entitled "International
Symposium on Zhao Mengfu" in Shanghai, accompanied by the publication
Essays on Studies of Zhao Mengfu.
Second, following the advent of Post-Modernism, traditional paintings
outside the mainstream since the beginning of this century began to
receive attention. Research and publications have expanded to reflect
these new interests. In the area of paintings on scrolls, there are
new developments in both non-literati painting and in court
painting. In the latter category, first there was Yang Boda's Qing
Court Painting, and then Nie Chongzheng's The Glory of Court
Arts. Lin Mu discusses non-literati paintings comprehensively
in his The New Wave of Literati Painting of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
In addition, regional approaches also emerge with representative works
such as Zhang Guobiao's History of the New Anhui School of Painting,
Xue Yongnian and Xue Feng's The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou and
Yangzhou Commerce, and Zhao Li's The Jingjiang School
Outside the realm of paintings on scrolls, there are new publications
on New Year's pictures and wall paintings. Notable works include Wang
Shucun's Discussions on Popular New Year's Pictures in China,
his History of New Year's Paintings, and Zhu Zhongshou's A
Brief History of Chinese Murals. Never before published rock paintings
have been brought into scholarly discussions through Chen Zhaofu's History
of the Discovery of Chinese Rock Paintings and Gai Shanlin's Chinese
Rock Painting. Moreover, there are new developments in the research
on minority art in the borderlands and on the history of women's paintings.
Third, a recent increase in private and public collecting, along with
the expansion of the art market, opened up a new trend of scholarly
and popular books on the connoisseurship of calligraphy and paintings.
Every ten years or so, there have been nationwide efforts in authentication
under the auspices of the National Cultural Relics Bureau. After the
latest one concluded in 1993, the Bureau sponsored the Art History Department
in the China Central Institute of Fine Arts, under the direction of
Xue Yongnian and Yin Ji'nan, to collaborate with specialists in the
museum world to begin a graduate program to train new generations of
connoisseurs. The graduate program offers courses in the principles
and methodologies of authenticating calligraphy and paintings, the history
of connoisseurship and collection of calligraphy and paintings, and
authenticating masterpieces from successive dynasties. Since the program's
inauguration, there have been two classes of graduates who have successfully
written their theses and received Master's degrees. In the following
year, the National Cultural Relics Bureau commissioned the Palace Museum
to hold the "National Exhibition of Forgeries of Painting and Calligraphy"
under the direction of Liu Jiu'an. One hundred fifty-six forged items
were selected by sixteen different collections in the country, and placed
side by side with forty-eight genuine pieces. The exhibition attracted
a large public attendance. Since then, the Liaoning Provincial Museum
also held a similar exhibition under the direction of Yang Renkai in
1996, resulting in the publication Connoisseurship of Genuine and
Fake Chinese Calligraphy and Painting, reprinted a
year later under the English title Genuine and Fake Illustrated
Handbook of Chinese Every Dynasties [sic] Calligraphy and Paintings.
After the exhibition traveled to Shanghai and overseas, the exhibition
catalogue also underwent revision. Other publications have also tried
to meet popular demand, such as: the Cultural Relics Publishing House
series Compendium of Connoisseurship of Cultural Relics: Calligraphy
and Painting; Wang Ying's Connoisseurship of Ancient Paintings;
Shan Guoqiang's Collecting and Connoisseurship of Ancient Calligraphy
and Painting; and Shi Shuqing's Authenticating Calligraphy
Fourth, scholarly communication between Chinese and foreign institutions
have increased in recent years. Colleagues from East and West have sought
mutual understanding, and have begun to collaborate to further scholarly
research. One type of collaboration comes in the form of international
symposia such as the "Symposium of Chinese and American Scholarship
on Ming and Qing Dynasty Painting." Conceived by the China Central Institute
of Fine Arts in 1994, and co-sponsored by the Palace Museum, the University
of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, the symposium accompanied
the "Special Exhibition of Ming and Qing Painting." Distinguished by
its use of new methodologies and new directions, this collaboration
was a rather large undertaking and had enormous influence in the field,
furthering exchanges among younger scholars. Another collaborative effort
took place in the symposium "Painting Milieu of Shanghai from 1840 to
1930." Participants included Jason Kuo of University of Maryland, Julia
Andrews of Ohio State University, Jonathan Hay of the Institute of Fine
Arts, New York University, Wen-hsin Yeh of the University of California,
Berkeley, Xue Yongnian of the China Central Institute of Fine Art, Shan
Guoqiang of the Palace Museum, Shan Guolin of the Shanghai Museum, and
Ding Yiyuan of the Shanghai Gallery of Art. This symposium embraced
a comprehensive approach to visual culture by combining the perspective
of regional culture with traditional approaches to painting studies.
Other examples of smaller collaborations include the "Workshop on the
Study of Chinese Ancient Religious Art" (University of Kansas, Yale
University, China Central Institute of Fine Arts) and "Workshop on the
Study of Shanghai Paintings from the Late Qing and Early Republican
Eras," (China Central Institute of Fine Arts, University of Michigan).
These workshops were attended by professors, students, and specialists
alike, taking advantage of dynamic academic inquiry in the best instructional
environment. In the publication on the general history of Chinese paintings,
3,000 Years of Chinese Painting was a joint effort by James
Cahill, Richard Barnhart, Wu Hung, Yang Xin, Nie Chongzheng, and Lang
Shaojun in 1991. An example of collaborations on monographs is the Study
of Shen Quan, by Zhou Jiyin and Kondô Hotsumi in 1997.
Finally, other notable projects in the 1990s include: case studies published
in journals such as Duoyun, Meishu yanjiu, and Xin
meishu; multi-volume sets and series published on specific painting
collections and pre-modern painters and painting schools; and also the
publication of collections of writings by senior historians of painting.
The result of these undertakings have expanded and enriched scholarly
research in the field of Chinese art history.
The Select Bibliography lists the
works cited above.
In this issue, Xue Yongnian also summarizes
the exhibition and symposium held at the Shanghai
Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the PRC.
China Central Institute of Fine Arts
On the State of the Field
Scholarship in the History of Ancient Painting in the 1990s
by Xue Yongnian
New Discoveries of Calligraphy
and Painting from the Palace Museum's "List of Lost Works"
by Liu Jianlong
A Record-Breaking Purchase by the Palace Museum
Zhang Xian's Ten Odes
by Yang Lili
Zhang Xian's Ten Odes: Counterpoint
On the Inauthenticity of Ten
Odes by Zhang Xian of the Northern Song Dynasty
by Wu Gan
Select Bibliography on Chinese Painting
Palace Museum Exhibition
"Treasures of Painting
and Calligraphy Acquired by the Palace Museum over the Last 50 Years"
by Fu Dongguang
Palace Museum Exhibition
of Cultural Relics Collected over the Last 50 Years"
Palace Museum Symposium
Academic Symposium Accompanying
Exhibition of Cultural Relics Collected over the Last 50 Years" at the Palace
by Wang Qi
The Shanghai Museum
Holds A Symposium on Its Exhibition of Masterpieces
by Xue Yongnian
Liaoning Provincial Museum
An Assembly of Masterpieces,
Presented in Radiant Splendor: Record of the "Exhibition of Treasures from
the Ten Great Archaeological Discoveries in Liaoning"
by Ma Cheng
Results from the Liao Tomb Excavation at Jarud Qi
by Tala, Yang Jie, and Dong Linxin
Han Tombs with Wall Paintings at Otog
by Wang Dafang and Yang Zemeng
and Analysis of the Murals Unearthed from a Song Tomb at Wang Shang Village
in Dengfeng, Henan Province
by Zhang Songlin and Zhang Deshui
Breakthrough in the Interpretation of the 'Stone Carvings' at Junshan"
by Chen Xiangyuan
on the Excavation of Han Tomb No. 1 at Huxi Mountain, Yuanling"
by Guo Weimin
Designs and Chinese Script on the 'Five Stars of the East Favor the Central
by Li Ling
from China Archaeology and Art Digest 3:2/3 (January 2000): Painting
and Pictorial Arts
Ding Xiyuan on Quehua
Hao Junhong on Ma
Shan Guoqiang on "Haipai"
Yu Hui on Yuan court artists
Macao Art Museum
"The Efflorescence of a Prosperous Age: Fine Works of Qing Dynasty Painting
and Objects of the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong Reigns in the Collection
of the Palace Museum"
National Gallery, Washington, DC
Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from the People's Republic
by Andrew K. Y. Leung
Qingming shanghe Scroll and Qingming shanghe Studies
by Wang Qi
by Nie Chongzheng
Chai Zejun: Collected
Works on Ancient Architecture
Years of Archaeology in New China
Volume 1, Issue 1 (October 1999)