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Reviews 205 are therefore advised, when reading this book, to check the new tax system for more current information. David C. Yang University of Hawai'i $ Julia K. Murray. Ma Hezhi and theIllustration oftheBook of Odes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. xvi, 256 pp. Hardcover $95. As the earliest poetic anthology in the Chinese literary tradition, the 305 poems of the Book ofOdes are a major text in the Confucian canon. The massive project of illustrating fhe poems was realized in a sequence ofcollaborative handscrolls in which the paintings were paired with their respective texts. The 114 surviving compositions are traditionally attributed to the twelfth-century artist Ma Hezhi, who executed them at Aie behest of the Southern Song emperor Gaozong. The illustrations derive their art historical significance from their major role in the development of twelfth-century painting, as well as from the overwhelming importance of the Book ofOdes in the broader context ofthe Chinese historical and literary tradition. Julia Murray's study of these paintings examines their historical context and their character as poetic illustrations and argues convincingly that Aie surviving handscrolls of Southern Song date were products of an imperial workshop that copied Ma's original designs.1 The texts paired with die illustrations are attributed to "calligraphers [within the SouAiern Song palace] associated with the retired emperor Gaozong" (pp. 121-122). This in-depth consideration of the Book of Odes illustrations represents the completion of a research project that Murray first addressed in the form of a doctoral thesis in 1981. Many of the issues raised in that preliminary investigation are resolved here as thoroughly as possible, given the current state of knowledge in the field. Final codification of this information has also been facilitated by firsthand examination of the majority of the surviving versions of the Odes illustrations; of fhe twenty handscrolls and the single album and fan painting listed in the catalogue raisonné (Appendix II), only two of the© ¡994 by University handscrolls were unavailable for study and are evaluated on fhe basis ofbook reofHawai ?Pressproductions. Since much ofMurray's analysis is devoted to issues ofconnoisseurship and style, this fact alone is highly significant. 206 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 Murray's major argument, that "the Odes scrolls are too heterogeneous to have been produced by one calligrapher and one painter" (p. 3), is stated in the introduction, after which she explains that the name Ma Hezhi will be used to designate the artist whose designs were fhe source for the handscrolls that survive to the present. The remainder of fhe chapter introduces the Book ofOdes, its history , and its commentarial tradition, and summarizes the limited information available on pre-Song illustrations of this canonical work. Much of the material in chapter 2 on the subject of the political implications conveyed in paintings produced at the Southern Song emperor Gaozong's court, which were used to substantiate claims of dynastic revival after the fall of the north, has appeared in a series of four articles published by Murray over the last decade. It is repeated here to support the author's claim that Gaozong's patronage of the Odes project was part of a broader effort to enhance his political prestige by identifying himself with classical culture, thus co-opting the role of fhe scholarelite , and by harking back to those great rulers of the Tang and Song, including his father Huizong, who patronized the arts. The chapter ends with a stylistic analysis of Gaozong's calligraphy, which, in its emulation of the great fourth-century calligraphers Wang Xizhi and his son, Wang Xianzhi, also alludes to Tang Taizong's and Song Taizong's preference for fhe style of fhe two Wangs. Chapter 3 examines the evidence regarding Ma Hezhi's biography and concludes that his position was an ambiguous one determined by the fact that alAiough he was well educated and perhaps even a successful examination candidate (jin shi), his financial and worldly success were derived mainly from his painting abilities. His distinctive role as a painter who personally attended the emperor was glossed over in later biographical sources, where his status was eventually reduced to tiiat of professional...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 205-211
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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