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Book of the Chrysanthemum of the Chi ing Tsai T'ang Discussion Fundamentals of Chrysanthemum Painting (General background of chrysanthemum painting)1 THERE are many different kinds of chrysanthemums and great variety in their colors and forms. Without knowledge of the methods of kou Ie (outline) and hsiian jan (wash and tint), it is impossible to paint them (hsieh hsiao, write their likeness).2 According to the Hsiian Ho Hua P'u (Hsiian Ho Palace Catalogue of Paintings; Sung pe­ riod), Huang Ch'iian, Chao Ch'ang, Hsii Hsi, Teng Ch'ang-yu, Ch'iu Ch'ing-yii, and Huang Chii-pao were all wellknown for their paintingsof chrysanthemums; all painted pictures of winter chrysanthemums. Up to the Southern Sung, Yiian, and Ming periods, only the literati and retired scholars treated the subtle fragrance of the chrysanthemum as a special subject of painting. They expressed it in ink, not using any color. They excelled in expressing its purity. Others after them were renowned for ink painting of the chrysanthemum, among them Chao (Meng-chien) I-chai, Li Chao, K'o (Ch'iu-ssii) Tan-ch'iu, Wang (Yiian) Jo-shui, Sheng Hsiieh-p'eng, and Chu Shuhsien . In their works it may be perceived that the chrysanthemum is "defiant of frost and trium­ phant in autumn," a saying that expresses the essence (ch'i) of its character. In painting the 1. Heading as in original edition. influenced by the literati. The associations of the chrysan2 . As with orchid, bamboo, and plum, painting the themum as the flower of late autumn, announcing the comchrysanthemum as an independent subject was a fairly ing of winter and able to blossom in the cold, were de­ late development (about the χ century), inaugurated and veloped through the xra century. C H R Y S A N T H E M U M chrysanthemum, this idea must be clearly understood so that the transmittal of it originates in the heart and passes through the wrist to the brush. Color can not convey the idea. I (Wang Shih, tzu Mi-ts'ao) have been commissioned to arrange these four books of the Chieh Tzu Yiian concerning the "subtle fragrance of the River Hsiang" (i.e., the orchid) and the "knotted stems of the gardens of the River Ch'i" (the bamboo), (the two plants praised as sym­ bols of) virtue 3 in the poem (Li) Sao (Falling into Trouble), in the Ch'u Tz'u (Elegies of the State of Ch'u), and in the Wei Feng (Airs of the State of Wei, in the Book of Odes); the "branch that, in the south, flowers in the winter" (the plum); and the "flower whose fragrance lingers along the bamboo fence to the east" (the chrysanthemum). These, like the solitary mountain in its dignity and calm, share a bond with people of noble character. These plants are unique. They represent the ch'i of the Four Seasons.4 Is it not fitting that, to make this work on painting com­ plete, each of these plants should be discussed? General principles of composing the plant The chrysanthemum is a flower of proud disposition; its color is beautiful, its fragrance lingers. To paint it, one must hold in his heart a conception of the flower whole and complete. Only in this way can that mysterious essence be transmitted in a painting. Some of its flowers should bend and some face upward; they should never be too numerous. Some of its leaves should be covered and some face upward, never in disorder. In brief, each branch, each leaf, each flower, each bud, must be rendered in its own full character.5 Although the chrysanthemum is usually placed in the category of herbaceous plants, its proud blossoms brave the frost and it is classed with the pine (i.e., with trees and ligneous plants). Its stem is solitary and strong, yet as supple as the stems of spring flowers. Its leaves are rich and sleek, yet they have aspects as varied as those that quickly fade. Its blossoms and buds should be shown in different stages of development, each in relation to another. The essence (Ii) of the plant 3. Chiin tzu (the princely or noble man, "the superior man"), the Confucian ideal. 4. Orchid, spring; bamboo, summer; plum, winter; chrysanthemum, autumn. 5. An inadequate rendering of te (inner power), a term in Chinese thought implying moral strength and char­ acter, which is accord with the Too. Trueness (chert) and naturalness (tzu...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400866830
Related ISBN
9780691018195
MARC Record
OCLC
899987642
Pages
648
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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