Fu Shan's World: The Transformation of Chinese Calligraphy in the Seventeenth Century 9780674010925

For 1,300 years, Chinese calligraphy was based on the elegant art of Wang Xizhi (A.D. 303-361). But the seventeenth-cent

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Fu Shan's World: The Transformation of Chinese Calligraphy in the Seventeenth Century

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fu 5han's •

World Th-e T ranstormation of Chinese

Calligraph~ in the Seventeenth Centur~


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Fu Shan)s Qianshen 5al



T ranstormation of Chinese


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© 2003 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Printed in the United States of America

The Harvard University Asia Center publishes a monograph series and, in coordination with the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the Korea Institute, the Reischauer Institttte ofJapanese Studies, and other faculties and institutes, administers research projects designed to further scholarly understanding of China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and other Asian countries. The Center also sponsors projects addressing multidisciplinary and regional issues in Asia.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data ·. Bai, Qianshen. Fu Shan's world: the transformation of Chinese calligraphy in the seventeenth century / Qianshen Bai. p. em. -- (Harvard East Asian monographs ; 220) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN o-674-01092-2 (cloth : alk. paper) 1.

Fu, Shan, 1606-1684--Criticism and interpretation. 2. Calligraphy,

Chinese--Ming-Qing dynasties, 1368-1912. I. Title. II. Series. NK3634.F8 B35 2003 745·6'19951'092--dc21


Index by Mary Mortensen


Printed on acid-free paper

Last figure below indicates year of this printing 13 12

11 10

09 o8 07 o6 05 04 03

Frontispiece: Fu Shan, rufeng -j{111D.i., two characters from Weepingfor My Son,1684 (see Chapter 4)

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The origins of this work lie in a dissertation that I completed at Yale University in I996. It was read by Professors Jonathan Spence, Peter Sturman, and Jonathan Hay, and I thank them for their expert assistance. Their critical comments and constructive suggestions from that time have been incorporated into this work. Professor Richard Barnhart, my chief academic adviser, suggested that it would be profitable for me to devote special attention to the impacts oflate Ming culture on early Qing culture. A significant difference between this book and my dissertation is that the present work investigates how late Ming cultural trends were either continued or transformed in the early Qing. In this respect, the present work reflects the guidance of Professor Barnhart, and I am grateful to him. In pursuing this project, I received grants from the Ho Ch'uang-shih Calligraphy Foundation, Taipei; the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto; the Getty Foundation; the Humanities Foundation of Boston University; and Rock Publishing International, Taipei. I am deeply thankful to them. I was also awarded a publication grant from Professor Dennis Berkey, then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and now Provost of Boston University. I also express my gratitude to the libraries, museums, publishers, auction houses, and private collectors who have provided me with the research materials, photographs, and transparencies needed to reproduce the illustrations in this book. The preparation of this study has been assisted by many scholars and friends. Among them I especially acknowledge Wang Shiqing, Chang Ch'ungho, Wan-go Weng, Hua Rende, Lin Feng, Yao Guojin, Lucy L. Lo, Shen Jin,


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]. Soren Edgren, Maxwell K. Hearn, Stephen Addiss, Ho Kuo~ch'ing, Ch'en Ch'i~te, Shao~wai Lam, Shang Wei, Joseph Chang, Ho Ch'uan~hsin, Yang Xiaoneng, H. Christopher Luce, Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, John Finlay, Michael Lewis, Wu Hung, Judith Zeitlin, Randy and Judith Smith, John and Julia Curtis, Qi Xiaochun, Robert Harrist, Jr., Katharine Burnett, Liu Tao, Rujun Wang, Marilyn W. Gleysteen, Heping Liu, Victor Xiong, Cheng~hua Wang, Chen Ruiling, and GongJisui. I also thank my colleagues at Boston University for providing many years of warm support for my teaching andre~ search and the two anonymous reviewers for the Harvard University Asia Center for their many helpful comments and suggestions. Several individuals deserve special thanks. My friend Matthew Flannery in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is not only an enthusiastic collector of Chinese art, particularly calligraphy and seal stones, but also an independent scholar of the art of Chinese calligraphy. The breadth and depth of his knowledge of this art have made him a true intellectual companion. Since I was a graduate stu~ dent in comparative politics at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where we met in 1987, Matthew has always been a critical reader of my writings. He was the first reader of this book when it was still a rough draft and offered many constructive suggestions. Some of the ideas in this book were the result of in~ spirations that arose from our discussions of Chinese calligraphy. To him I owe great appreciation. Dr. Celia "Cecie" Carrington Riely, the outstanding world authority on Dong Qichang and a senior scholar of Chinese painting, whose vast knowledge oflate Ming and early Qing art and its social and political context I so much admire, proved critical to the completion of this project. From 2000 to 2001, Cede spent many months editing my manuscript. She read the manuscript me~ ticulously word by word, correcting errors, making its arguments more logical, its reasoning more sound, its writing more lucid, and its translations of Chinese texts more accurate and beautiful. Without her persistent efforts to improve the clarity and smoothness of my manuscript, it would not have passed so gen~ tly through the review process. To Cecie I am truly grateful. I only wish that I had been able to complete the translation of her writings into Chinese more quickly so as to have allowed Chinese scholars more opportunity to appreciate and benefit from her accurate, detailed, and elegant scholarship. I would also like to express my thanks to two persons at Harvard University. Professor Eugene Yuejin Wang first encouraged me to submit my manuscript to Harvard University. This submission has proved to be a critical moment in my professional life. Also, I am greatly in debt to John Ziemer of the Asia Cen~ ter Publications Office. His diligent, attentive, and wide~ranging editing were responsible for much of the presentation and intelligibility of this work. I also express my deep appreciation to Mary Mortensen for producing such an excellent index for this book.

vm • Acknowledgments

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I would like to express my deep thanks to my wife, Ying Wang, and son, Ray Bai, for their patience with this prolonged project. Without their untiring love and consistent support, the completion of this work would have proven impossible. I began the systematic study of Chinese calligraphy in the early 1970s dur~ ing the Cultural Revolution under the guidance of several masters in Shanghai: Xiao Tie, Wang Hongzhi, Deng Xianwei, Jin Yuanzhang, and Zhang Rushi. Regretfully, some have passed away in the past two decades. Although thirty years have gone by, when I pick up a calligraphy brush or write about calligra~ phy, their teachings are always in my mind and arm. In addition, my parents and many friends have given me immeasurable amounts of help and support over many years. Without them, my life's accomplishments would have been much less. Although I have not been in contact with some of them for years, I hold all their teachings, trust, support, and expectations deep in my heart. To them, I dedicate this book. Q.~S.B.

Acknowledgments •

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Calligraphy Terms and Chinese Names


Introduction Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan' s Early Life


A Period of Heterogeneity sl Qi and Aesthetics rol Dong Qichang and Individualist Calligraphers 2ol Ancient Canons in Question 341 Seal Carving and Calligraphy sol A Sense of Crisis 7rl Fu Shan's Life in the Ming 73 2

Fu Shan' s Life and Calligraphy in the Early Years of the Manchu Conquest

Years ofWandering 83l Shared Sorrow 87l Historiography and Dynastic Memory 97 I The Appeal of Yan Zhenqing rorl Fragmentation and Awkwardness n81 The Lingering Influence of Late Ming Cultural Life 129


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New Intellectual Tendencies and Fu Shan's Advocacy of Epigraphical Calligraphy


The Intellectual Community in Shanxi, 166os-167os 153/ New Trends in Intellectual Life 158/ Scholarship and Calligraphy 167I Steles 172/ Epigraphical Calligraphy 185/ Breaking the Tang Schema 192/ Response from the South 201 4

Calligraphy and the Changing Intellectual Landscape


Later Years 209/ The Boxue hongci Examination 212/ Fu Shan's Running-Cursive and Cursive-Script Calligraphy 220/ Fu Shan's Last Works in Cursive Script 245 Epilogue



Notes Works Cited


Character List




xu • Contents

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MAP 1.1

Map of Shanxi



Illustration in Best Selections from the Illustrated Catalogues of Strange Things from the Far West



Wu Bin, The Sixteen Luohans, 1591



Illustrations in Wanli quanbu wenlin renzi kan miaojin wanbao quanshu, late Ming ed.


Zhao Mengfu, Record of the Miaoyan Monastery in Huzhou, ca. 1309-10



Dong Qichang, Copy of an Imperial Patent, 1636



Dong Qichang, characters hi ~ and zhen Imperial Patent



fa in Copy of an 23


Dong Qichang, Calligraphy in Running and Cursive Scripts, 1603



Dong Qichang, Poems Written in Running-Cursive Script, 1631



Zhang Ruitu, Transcription of Meng Haoran's Poems in Cursive Script, 1625



Huang Daozhou, Reply to Sun Boguan's Poem, undated



Character luo ~in Huang Daozhou, Reply to Sun Boguan's Poem



Wang Duo, Memory ofTraveling on Mount Zhongtiao, 1639



Huang Tingjian, Biographies ofLian Po and Lin Xiangru, ca. 1095



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Wang Duo, Poems Dedicated to Guo Yizhang, r65o



Wang Duo, Cursive Calligraphy for Zhang Baoyi, r642



Dong Qichang, Copy ofYan Zhenqing's "Letter on the Controversy over Seating Protocol," r632



Yan Zhenqing, Letter on the Controversy over Seating Protocol, 764



Dong Qichang, Freehand Copy of Zhang Xu's "Record of the Langguan Stone Pillar," ca. r622



Zhang Xu, Record of the Langguan Stone Pillar, 74I



Wang Duo, copy of Wang Xizhi's and Wang Xianzhi's letters, r643



Wang Xianzhi, Baonu tie, undated



Wang Xizhi, W u wei hianhian tie, undated



Wang Xizhi, ]iayue tie, undated



Wang Duo, Copy of Mi Fu's "Colophon to Ouyang Xun's Calligraphy," r64r



Mi Fu, Colophon to Ouyang Xun's "Dushang tie" and "Yu Liang tie," ro90



Illustration in the late Ming vernacular novel Qilin zhui



Zhao Yiguang, Colophon in Cursive Seal Script to Zhang]izhi's Copy of the "Diamond Sutra," r62o



Official seal with knob in the shape of a tortoise, Six Dynasties



Impression and side inscription of a seal carved by He Zhen



He Tong, Yinshi, r623



Two seal impressions from Zhang Hao, ed., Xueshantang yinpu: "I store a sheng of tears lamenting the affairs of this world"; "One should view his country as his family, exterminating evils and wiping out humiliations; one should not set up cliques to recruit people of one's own kind," r633



Impression of a Warring States period seal



Du Congdu, ]izhuan guwen yunhai



YangJun, Zengguang zhongding zhuanyun



Hu Zhengyan, two seal impressions: jixu :ff_ Jt; . . lll{i SIZat ,-:::.;: :±.., ca. I646


Three seals of Chen Hongshou reading "Lianzi" it-T, Chen Hongshou's sobriquet



Guo Zhongshu, a page from Hanjian, I703



Zhao Yiguang, Preface to Shuowen changjian, r633



Bao Shiying, Preface to Zhouwen gui, ca. r628-44





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Ni Yuanlu, Impromptu Poem While Drinking Wine, undated



Unusual form of the character di Jt by Ni Yuanlu; unusual form of di J:t in the dictionary Y upian


Cai Yuqing, Casually Intoning [Poems] at a Mountain Dwelling, undated


Unusual form of the character ling 1ft by Cai Yuqing; unusual form ofling 1ft in Yupian



Wang Duo, unusual form of the character gu -i; in Boxiang tie



Wang Duo, attrib. Copy ofYan Zhenqing's "Baguanzhai huiji," 1646



Mei Yingzuo, Zihui, late Ming ed.



Xue Shanggong, Lidai zhongding kuanzhi fatie,late Ming ed.



Impression of a Han seal



A seal impression reading "Chen Sheng zhi yin" from He Tong's Yinshi, 1623



Wang Duo, Calligraphy for Shan Danian, 1647



Detail of Fig. r.so



Fu Shan, Record of the Garden of Shanglanwulong Shrine, 1641



Impression of"Fu Dingchen yin" (The seal ofFu Dingchen)



Fu Shan, Poems in Small Regular and Running Scripts, 1645



Fu Shan, first letter to Wei Yi'ao, ca. 1647, in Fu Shan, Danya mahan, ca. 1647-57



Xia Yunyi, Letter in Running Script, undated



Fu Shan, fourth letter to Wei Yi' ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1648



Fu Shan, sixth letter to Wei Yi'ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1648



F u Shan, seventh letter to Wei Yi' ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1648



Fu Shan, ninth letter to Wei Yi' ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1652



Fu Shan, tenth letter to Wei Yi' ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1652



Fu Shan, third letter to Wei Yi' ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1652



Fu Shan, last letter to Wei Yi'ao in Danya mahan, ca. 1657



Wang Xizhi, Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait, 356



Yan Zhenqing, Record of the Altar of the Immortal of Mount Magu, small regular~script version, 771


Fu Shan, Copy of Wang Xizhi's "Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait," ca. r6sos


Fu Shan, Copy ofYan Zhenqing's "Record of the Altar of the Immortal of Mount Magu," ca. r6sos



Fu Shan, Copy oj"Book of Rites," 1653/54



Fu Shan, "Zhuangzi" in Small Regular Script, 1653/54


!.42 143

2.!3 2.!4

Illustrations •

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Fu Shan, Selections from the "Zuozhuan," ca. 166os



Yan Zhenqing, Eulogy for My Nephew, 758



Manjusri Prajna Sutra Stele at Mount Water Buffalo, carved in the Northern Qi (550-77)



Yan Zhenqing, Memorial Stele of the Yan Family Temple, 780



Fu Shan, Copy of"A'nan yin," undated



Characters from Fu Shan's Copy of"A'nan yin," and characters from Manjusri Prajna Sutra Stele at

Mount Water Buffalo


Y an Zhenqing, Memorial Ode on the Resurgence of the Great Tang, ca. 771



Y an Zhenqing, Prabhutaratna Pagoda Stele Inscription, 752



Fu Shan, section of regular script in Selu miaohan, ca. 1652



Fu Shan, section of cursive script in Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, characters erbu dezui yuren ifQ /(: 1.'ff # 7]~ A.. in


Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, character zhuo !ll!IT





.fft Fu Shan, character yan g}!


Fu Shan, landscape painting, undated



Shitao, Plum Blossoms, ca. 1705-7



Kuncan, landscape painting, undated



Zhao Mengfu, attrib., The Thousand Character Classic in Six Different Scripts, 1316



Stone Classics in Three Scripts,



Colophons by late nineteenth-century-early twentieth-century calligraphers on Wang Hong's Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers, ca. n50



Song Ke, Transcription of Zhao Mengfu's "Thirteen Colophons to Preface of the Orchid Pavilion Gathering," 1370


2.38 2·39 2.40 2.41

Fu Shan, character tui




Li Rihua, Calligraphy in Running-Regular Script, 1626 Wang Duo, Poems for Yugu in Assorted Scripts, dated 1647 Fu Shan, Selu miaohan, dated ca. 1652 Fu Shan, section of Selu miaohan with many characters showing breakdown of script types

xv1 •



Fu Shan, character wei


Fu Shan, section of Selu miaohan with extensive use of unusual character forms


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135 135 136 138 139 140


Fu Shan, character yu i{'- in three different forms



Comparison ofFu Shan's unusual character forms and their sources: an excerpt from Selu miaohan; transcriptions of the excerpt in regular script; sources of Fu Shan's unusual character forms


Fu Shan, section of Selu miaohan with an invented character form for pin ijt



Fu Shan, section of clerical script in Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, characters zhu ~'dong J;i, and shou




Fu Shan, section of greater seal script in Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, pictographs in Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, "Lotus Sutra" in Seal Script, 1655



Wang Qiu, Xiaotangjigulu



Fu Shan, a note in Selu miaohan



Fu Shan, a note in Selu miaohan



A page in Y aotian yue, W anli ed.



A page in a household encyclopedia, late Ming ed.

I 50


Chen Pengnian et al., Guangyun, ron; reprinted by Gu Yanwu in 1667, with Fu Shan's notes after 1667



Memorial Stele of Kong Zhou, 164 Fu Shan, note on Li shi by Hong Kuo, detail Fu Shan, Roving Immortal Poetry, ca. 1670s, eleventh and


twelfth of a set of twelve hanging scrolls



Qaoist secret graphs



Li Cheng, attrib., Reading a Memorial Stele



Zhang Feng, Reading a Memorial Stele, 1659





Wufeng Stone Inscription, 56 B.c. Memorial Stele of Cao Quan, A.D. 185 Wang Duo, Calligraphy in Clerical Script, 1644 Wang Daokun's preface to Fang Yulu's Ink-Manual of the Fang Family in clerical script, 1583 Memorial Stele of Zhang Qian, A.D. 185 Fu Shan, Copy of the "Memorial Stele of Cao Quan," undated


Guo Xiangcha, Memorial Stele of Mount Hua,



Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang, Stele of the Classic of Filial Piety, 745


Zhong You, Memorial on an Announcement to Sun Quan (Xuanshi biao ), 221


3·2 3·3 3·4

3·9 3·10 3·II 3.12





187 187 188 188 189

Illustrations •

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Character comparisons: detail of Emperor Xuanzong's clerical calligraphy; detail ofYan Zhenqing' s regular calligraphy


Wen Zhengming, Essay on Streams and Rocks in clerical script, following a painting by Lu Zhi, undated


Stroke comparisons: vertical and hengzhe strokes in Wen Zhengming' s Essay on Streams and Rocks and in Yan Zhenqing's regular script



Fu Shan, clerical-script calligraphy, undated



Zheng Fu, Poem by Yang]uyuan, 1682



Detail ofhengzhe strokes in Han clerical script



Shitao, Lake Chao, 1695



Shitao, inscription on a landscape painting, dated 168o



Fu Shan, poem in running-cursive script, undated



Fu Shan, Poems Copied in Cursive Script for Chen Mi, 1647



Fu Shan, Frank Words as Farewell Gift for Wei Yi'ao, ca. 1657



Character comparisons: characters in Frank Words as Farewell Gift for Wei Yi'ao; Mi Fu's characters


Character comparisons: character jia ~ and meng ~ in Frank Words as Farewell Gift for Wei Yi'ao; character jia ~ in the album of poems in cursive script written by Fu Shan for Chen Mi in 1647



Xu Wei, Watching the Tide, undated



Fu Shan, Stele of Cursive Calligraphy on Mount Wufeng, undated


Wang Xizhi, Fuxiang qinghe tie, undated



Fu Shan, Copy of Wang Xizhi's "Fuxiang qinghe tie," 1661



Fu Shan, Copy ofWang Xizhi's "Fuxiang qinghe tie," undated



Fu Shan, Copy of Wang Xizhi's "Anxi tie," undated



Wang Xizhi, Anxi tie, undated



Character comparisons: chang f in Wang Xizhi's Anxi tie; chang fin Fu Shan's copy



Wang Xizhi, Ershu tie, undated



Fu Shan, Night Discussion in Cursive-Seal Script, undated



Wang Xizhi, Dongzhong tie, undated



Zhang Zhi, Bayue tie, undated



Fu Shan, draft cursive-script calligraphy, undated



Fu Shan, Poems of Congratulation on Xuweng's Birthday, undated



Fu Shan,Jingong qiangu yikuai, 1684



Fu Shan, Weepingfor My Son, 1684


3.18 3.19


xviii •


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l¥f from Weepingfor My Son


Fu Shan, characters shu ;t~ and ye


Fu Shan, characters from Weepingfor My Son



Han clerical script on three wood slips excavated in Juyan, Gansu, A.D. 27


Character comparison: Fu Shan's characters in Weeping 4- on a Han wood slip excavated in Juyan, Gansu



Hymn to Stone Gate, A.D. 148



Two characters rujeng -:!t111ffit from Weeping for My Son



Deng Shiru, calligraphy in seal script, 1792



Yi Bingshou, calligraphy in clerical script, undated




for My Son; character

Illustrations • xix

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Terms and

Chinese Names

This book assumes on the part of the reader a modicum of knowledge about Chinese calligraphy: a passing familiarity with its script types and with the names of some of the great figures in the history of the art. For those who wish a brief introduction to the different scripts, I recommend the short but lucid descriptions in The Embodied Image, by Robert Harrist and Wen Fong and their colleagues.* A longer and equally valuable treatment of the different scripts, with examples by some of the most famous of China's calligraphers, may be found in Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy by Sherr C. Y. Fu and others. For explanations and illustrations of the various brush strokes used by cal~ ligraphers, I recommend Chiang Yee' s Chinese Calligraphy. In the following pages, I describe only those strokes that are essential for the reader to recog~ nize in order to understand my discussion of the stylistic changes taking place in seventeenth~century calligraphy. Since my translation of the terms for some strokes may be different from those of other scholars, I provide, in addition to a translation, a pinyin transliteration of each term mentioned and an illustra~ tion of the stroke if necessary. One problem that arises in translating Chinese texts is that frequently the name used to refer to an individual is not the formal name (ming) he was given shortly after birth but one given later in life (or even after death) or a name he himself adopted. Thus a text may refer to a man by his zi (courtesy name), a hao (sobriquet), or a zhaishiming (studio name); by an office he held; or even by his native place. In translating a text, I have usually kept the name that appears * See Harrist eta!., The Embodied Image, pp. xvi-xvii. I translate the term kaishu as "regular script," bur it is translated as "standard script" in The Embodied Image.


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in the text; but, in line with general practice, I have in most cases supplied the man's formal name in brackets, to assist those unfamiliar with the alternative names of the individual in question. Other scholars, for convenience, however, have at times replaced alternative names with formal names in their transla, tions, and in such cases I have simply left the names as they stand. I have also silently changed all W ade,Giles romanizations in quotations to the pinyin equivalents.

xxu •

Calligraphy Terms and Chinese Names

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fu 5han)s World

The T ranstormation ot Chinese Calligraph .Sf in the Seventeenth Centur.Sf

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For thirteen hundred years the classical tradition of Chinese calligraphy (tiexue, or the model-book school), founded on the elegant, graceful art ofWang Xizhi (ca. 303-ca. 361) and codified in the Tang dynasty, flourished unchallenged.1 But in the seventeenth century, with the emergence of a new style modeled on the rough, plain, broken epigraphs of ancient bronze and stone artifacts wrought by anonymous artisans, there was a revolution in calligraphic taste. By the eighteenth century, the new taste had led to the formation of the stele (or epigraphical) school of calligraphy (beixue), which has profoundly influenced Chinese calligraphy for the past two hundred years and continues 2 to shape calligraphy today. In significance, the emergence of the stele school in the history of Chinese calligraphy is comparable to the rise oflmpressionist painting in theW est. Although most historians of Chinese calligraphy recognize the stele school's importance, there are few serious studies of it. In Western languages, Die Siegelschrift (chuan-shu) in der Ch'ing-Zeit: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der chinesi-

schen Schriftkunst (1970 ), by Lothar Ledderose, is the only study to treat the school at length. 3 Ledderose's work focuses on seal-script calligraphy (zhuanshu)-seal script being one of the principal interests of the stele schoolprimarily of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Chinese scholarship on the subject is limited to a few articles and chapters in books; these treat the stele school chiefly as a movement that took root as a result of the literary persecutions in the eighteenth century, which led many Chinese scholars to devote themselves to the study of ancient inscriptions to escape the dangers of contemporary studies.4 Both Ledderose and Chinese scholars contribute much of value to our understanding of the stele school, but the long and

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complicated processes in the seventeenth century that led to the development of the school have yet to be carefully studied. This book aims to provide a comprehensive historical analysis of the factors leading to the seventeenth-century transformation in calligraphic taste through a study of the eminent Shanxi calligrapher and art theorist Fu Shan (r6o7-84 or r685). A practicing physician, he was known in his own day (as he 5 is now) for his diverse philosophical views. Not only did Fu Shan's lifetime coincide with the school's evolution, but-what is more important-he was closely associated with critical issues in contemporary culture that profoundly affected the new trends in calligraphy. Because his works span the late Mingearly Qing divide and show characteristics of both periods, Fu Shan is an ideal prism through which to view the transformation of calligraphy in the seventeenth century. Rather than seek a single explanation for this transformation in calligraphic taste, I attempt here to demonstrate and to analyze the multiplicity and heterogeneity of the processes underlying it. My inquiry into these processes covers a broad range of phenomena and issues in seventeenth-century culture and politics: how, for example, differing attitudes toward the calligraphic canons developed as a result of the interaction between high and low culture in the late Ming, when for the first time publishing enterprises produced books on a scale that made reading a pastime in which ordinary people could indulge; how Chinese loyalists-mourning the fall of their dynasty to Manchu invaders who founded the Qing dynasty in r644-turned to calligraphy as a form of political response; how the political environment shaped artistic taste; and how changes in intellectual discourse affected the orientation of aesthetics in the early Qing. To address these issues, I have adopted, in addition to the stylistic approach that is the usual province of art historians, the theoretical perspectives of such fields as material culture, print culture, and social and intellectual history. Although this study is principally a work for students of art history, it is intended as well for those who study Chinese history and literature. I hope that scholars from these different disciplines find points where our interests converge in the pages that follow. Cultural historians, for instance, will find here an exploration of the impact oflate Ming popular entertainments and reading materials on the formation of the canons of calligraphic art. Because calligraphy, in the main, was practiced, appreciated, and collected by the literati, it 6 had been viewed up to this time as an art of the cultural elite. Now as the boundaries between high and low, elegant and vulgar, became blurred, even calligraphy, that most sophisticated of artistic endeavors, was affected to a significant degree. Intellectual historians will, I hope, find of interest the tracing of connections between the ideas germinating in academic circles in the early Qing and



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new stylistic trends in the art of calligraphy. Most studies of Qing intellectual history concentrate on the eighteenth century and the views and activities of southern scholars living in the lower Yangtze region. By focusing here in detail . on scholarly activities in the seventeenth century and the north-in particular on Fu Shan and other leading Shanxi intellectuals, who had close ties with scholars in Shaanxi, Hebei, and Henan-this study aims to produce a more balanced picture of intellectual life in the Qing. For historians oflate imperial China in general, I hope that this study will not only illuminate aspects of visual culture in late Ming-early Qing society but also provide new insight into the Ming~Qing sociopolitical transition and shed light on one of the turning points in the cultural and political history of the period, the Boxue hongci examination of 1679. For decades, studies of the Ming~Qing transition have devoted attention to the loyalists who remained faithful to the fallen Ming, but the interactions between loyalists and Han Chinese collaborators serving the new alien government have been neglected. The analysis here of the complex interactions between loyalist artists and these collaborators places each group in a new light. In particular, I attempt to demonstrate that many Han Chinese officials serving the government in the second half of the seventeenth century were eager to befriend Ming loyalists, and that the loyalists, in turn, were dependent for their livelihood, and at times even for their survival, on officials collaborating with the new regime. Han Chinese officials in the Qing government were in fact an important compo~ nent of the institutional framework supporting the artistic and scholarly ac~ tivities ofloyalists such as Fu Shan. My investigation begins with the last few decades of the Ming dynasty, the period in which Fu Shan was born and in which nearly half his life was passed. It was an era that witnessed a great expansion in the commercial economy, in~ tense and intensifying political strife, openness in intellectual and religious life, a tremendous growth "in urban culture, and the blurring of social boundaries. Changes such as these created a cultural environment that was vibrant, heterogeneous, and perplexing. Driven by the subjective individualism ofNeo~ Confucian thinkers advocating a search for the inner self and spurred by an exhibitionistic urban culture, calligraphers sought to imbue their works with qi (the marvelous and strange), producing calligraphy that was expressive and dramatic yet often playful, ingenious, puzzling, and entertaining. Calligraphers took to using bizarre forms of characters, a development closely associated with the rise in popularity of seal carving, which-with the introduction of soft stones easily manipulated by seal carvers-became a "new" literati art form. Playful parodies of ancient calligraphic canonical texts shook the authority of the model~ book tradition, and the diminishing aura of the ancient canons, coupled with the diversity oflate Ming artistic trends, opened

Introduction • 3

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the door for alternatives, although at this early stage it was by no means clear which, if any, might eventually develop to rival the model~ book school. The fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644 by no means brought to a sudden halt the artistic styles and practices of the late Ming, and for a time its cultural and artistic patterns persisted, despite a drastically changed political environment. Nevertheless these were soon to be dramatically transformed. The tragedy of the dynasty's collapse led many leading figures in the loyalist movement to ponder the causes of the Ming's fall. Increasingly they turned their attention to empirical research to gain a more accurate understanding of the ancient classics and histories. The new intellectual climate had a significant impact on the art of calligraphy. The late Ming interest in seal carving prepared the ground for change by engendering an appreciation of the ravaged appearance of the writing on ancient seals. Now, as scholars studied ancient inscriptions for their value as original sources, calligraphers seized on the rough and primi~ tive quality of their epigraphy as a quality to incorporate in their own writing. Visiting ancient steles and collecting rubbings of the inscriptions on these and other early artifacts became important parts of cultural and intellectual life. Fired by theoretical discussions of the merits of epigraphical calligraphy, callig~ raphers produced works in the two epigraphical scripts-clerical and seal-in unprecedented quantities. With the triumph of the stele school of calligraphy as the new calligraphic canon, the expressive wild cursive calligraphy, which had evolved in the late Ming in concert with the individualist thought and be~ havior that that period encouraged, disappeared in the changed cultural world of the mid~Qing. Fu Shan's calligraphy belongs both to the late Ming and to the early Qing. On the one hand, he was the last great master of wild cursive calligraphy, the most advanced of the individualist artists. On the other, he was an eloquent advocate of epigraphical calligraphy as a source of innovation and change. Be~ cause his life of nearly eighty years corresponds with crucial transitions in three different but nonetheless interrelated spheres-the political, intellectual, and artistic-I have chosen in this book to divide Fu Shan's life into four pe~ riods and to analyze aspects of his art in the context of the political and intel~ lectual issues dominating each period. Although this approach leads at times to an achronological treatment ofFu Shan's works, it elucidates best the issues critical to an understanding of seventeenth~century calligraphy.



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Late Ming



Culture and fu 5han's Earl~


In the mid~ seventeenth century, around the time of the transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasty, the literatus Xu Shipu (1608-58) wrote a letter to a friend. In a reminiscent mood, musing on the glories of the recent past, he listed the great men of the long Wanli reign (1573-1620 ), which, in retrospect, marked the beginning of the late Ming period. Xu grouped these men according to their various strengths and accomplishments. Even today his list serves as a quick summary of the period's cultural achievements: In the reign of Emperor Shenzong [r. 1573-1620], cultural activities in the nation flourished. The moral integrity of Zhao Nanxing [1550-1627 ], Gu Xiancheng [15501612], Zou Yuanbiao [1551-1624], and Hai Rui [1514-87]; the investigation of moral principles by Yuan Huang [1533-1606]; the erudition ofJiao Hong [1541-162o]; the calligraphy and painting ofDong Qichang [1555-1636); the astronomical calendars of Xu Guangqi [1562-1633] and Matteo Ricci [1552-1610]; the drama ofTang Xianzu [1550-1616]; the herbal medicine ofLi Shizhen [1518-93); the paleography of Zhao Yiguang [1559-1625]; as well as the pottery ofShi Dabin, the metallurgy of Master Gu, the ink-sticks of Fang Yulu [ca. 1541-1608] and Cheng Junfang [1541-after 1610 ], the jades ofLu Zigang, and the seal carvings of He Zhen [1535-1604]-all these were equal to those of the ancients. But for the nearly fifty years of the W anli reign, there was no excellent poetry. Beginning with Wang Shizhen [1526-go] and Li Panlong [1514-70 ], poetry became trite; with Yuan Hongdao [1568-1610] and Xu Wei [152193], it turned frivolous; and when Zhong Xing [1574-1624] and Tan Yuanchun 1 [1586-1637] took the lead, it became feeble. Brief and hardly complete, Xu's listing represents a typical retrospective view, such as might have been held by any of the literati who lived through the end


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of the Ming and into the early years of the Qing dynasty. 2 From morality to philosophy, from the visual arts to literature and drama, from astronomical calendars to traditional medicine, from paleographical scholarship to ink making and jade carving, Xu lists a wide range of accomplishments in which he believed that contemporary achievements equaled those of the ancients. But it is more than a long list: it is a skeletal outline of an unusual era of dramatic social, economic, political, philosophical, and artistic transformation, and each of the individuals mentioned (and there were many whom Xu omitted) was a key figure in an exciting and vibrant period characterized not only by great achievements and noble causes but also by widespread corruption and decadence, a period that ended with the Ming dynasty foundering beneath a wave of domestic upheaval and the tide of the Manchu invasion. The decline of morality played a critical role in the increasing political instability of the late Ming, and political instability was a key to the dynasty's collapse. Xu Shipu lists four figures regarded as models of moral integrity: Zhao Nanxing, Gu Xiancheng, Zou Yuanbiao, and Hai Rui. Including the upright and outspoken official Hai Rui in this list was chronologically awkward because, unlike the other three, whose political careers began (and in Gu's case, also ended) in the Wanli reign, Hai Rui served as an official mainly during the Jiajing (1522-66) and Longqing (1567-72) reigns, returning to office in the Wanli period only after a long period of forced retirement from 1570 to 1585 and for only two years (1585-87). Although not particularly popular among his fellow officials, Hai achieved national repute for his courageous stance against corruption. Thus, despite limited and interrupted service, Hai Rui was esteemed in the late Ming as a moral hero and symbol of social con. 3 science. The other three moral heroes were deeply involved in the politics of the 4 Wanli and Tianqi (1621-27) reigns. The Wanli reign began well, in relative peace. The capable Zhang Juzheng (1525-82) exercised strong control over the state apparatus as grand secretary for the first ten years of the W anli period, where the emperor was still young. After Zhang's death in 1582, the political situation at court rapidly deteriorated. From then until the dynasty's downfall, late Ming politics were disrupted by intensifying factional disputes that gradually destabilized the dynasty. The most striking disruption was the political battle between the Donglin movement and its opponents beginning in the last 5 decade of the sixteenth century. In the face of prevalent political corruption, Donglin partisans led by Gu Xiancheng launched a moral crusade in the 1590s. Zhao N anxing was a stalwart supporter of the movement, and Zou Yuanbiao was deeply sympathetic to it. At times, the Donglin faction triumphed, removing, for example, corrupt officials from posts in Beijing during the early 162os. But the movement was brutally repressed by the eunuch Wei Zhongxian (1568-r627) and his followers. In 1627 Wei Zhongxian was forced to commit


Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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suicide, but the corrosive conflict between Donglin adherents and their rivals was far from over, and factional strife prevented the government from running the country efficiently. At various points in their careers, both Zhao Nanxing · and Zou Yuanbiao, who had courageously placed themselves at the forefront of the anti-corruption cause, suffered demotion and exile. In treating these men as moral heroes of the Wanli reign, Xu Shipu not only revealed his own political sympathies but also pointed to the Donglin movement's profound impact on late Ming politics. Despite political unrest, the late Ming presents an astonishing picture of cultural fertility and artistic creativity, set in an increasingly urban context. Several of the achievements mentioned by Xu deserve special mention (one of these, Dong Qichang's calligraphy, is the subject of a subsequent section of this chapter). Yuan Huang, cited by Xu Shipu for his studies in ethics, became a jinshi in 6 1586. Although a friend of Zhao Nanxing, Yuan was less deeply involved in political controversy. The scion of a family with a long tradition of interest in medicine and such popular pursuits as geomancy, physiognomy, and Daoism, Yuan became a major figure in the late Ming revival of religious Daoism. Yuan's moral teaching, however, stretched beyond Daoism. In a book of instructions to his son, which circulated widely, Yuan narrated in detail his spiritual encounters with Daoism and Buddhism and the lessons he had received from both? This work and other writings by Yuan demonstrate that he, like many intellectuals of his time, treated Daoism and Buddhism as equal in truth and value to Confucianism, the official ideology. Under the motto "Three Teachings as One," the three doctrines became fused during a period notable for open-mindedness. But it was Jiao Hong, an expert in the Classics and histories, who was considered to represent intellectual achievement in the Wanli reign. Jiao Hong was a student ofLuo Rufang (rsrs-88), an influential thinker in the left-wing T aizhou school under the auspices of the N eo-Confucian scholar Wang Shouren (1472-1529), better known by his zi Yangming, whose philosophy 8 dominated the intellectual scene in the sixteenth century. Wang Y angming believed that discovering the knowledge innate to the individual mind was the fundamental route to truth and sagehood. Wang's emphasis on innate knowledge, individual effort, and the personal intuition of truth opened up almost unlimited possibilities for the development of pantheism, romanticism, and individualism, since those who considered inner knowledge as the highest form of truth were able to exclude knowledge that was external. The heterogeneous nature oflate Ming cultural life was, to a great extent, indebted to Wang Y angming' s subjective individualism. One could also contend that Wang's theory was a philosophical manifestation of the diversity of 9 late Ming culture. Following Wang's teaching, Luo Rufang advocated "the

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life •

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recovery of the heart of the infant, which requires neither learning nor exercise 10 of thought." Although in large measure it was Jiao Hong's erudition that led Xu Shipu to list him as a symbol of cultural achievement, his close association with the intellectually dominant T aizhou school must also have played a part. Xu's inclusion in his list of Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit and the only for, eigner, is noteworthy for what it omits. Although Ricci's expertise in astronomical calendars is cited, his proselytizing activities, which brought him to China, are not mentioned. His inclusion, nevertheless, is a significant indicator of the intellectual openness of the late Ming. In addition to the Three Teachings, Catholicism played an interesting role in religious and intellectual life. A significant number of senior officials from the W anli to Chongzhen (r628-44) reigns were either followers or friends of the Jesuits. Both Zou Yuanbiao and Jiao Hong were Ricci's friends. Indeed, Zou once wrote Ricci that he had investigated Christianity and found much in common 11 between it and the Chinese tradition. The arrival of the Jesuits introduced to China the Western calendar, mathematics, cartography, and phonetics and provoked a great enthusiasm among the literati for studying these fields. Foreign trade, meanwhile, was ex, panding, and greater contact with foreigners increased Chinese awareness of the world beyond the Central Kingdom. The extent to which Christianity and the material culture introduced to China by the Jesuits and by foreign trade shaped the intellectual and cultural landscape of the late Ming needs further 12 study. But unquestionably, as the present study demonstrates, the introduc, tion of Western culture contributed considerably to the formation of the aes, thetic of qi (the strange, the rare, the marvelous) in the late Ming. Xu Shipu's list of accomplishments is not organized in strict hierarchal or, der: Dong Qichang's calligraphy and painting, for instance, are mentioned be, fore the calendars of Xu Guangqi and Matteo Ricci. Many authors would have reversed this order, because the creation and revision of calendars were traditionally regarded as serious matters, executed by edict of the emperor act, ing as the Son of Heaven. By listing members of the literati elite before profes, sional artists and artisans, Xu ranked his figures along established social lines. Yet the fact that he listed and praised the achievements of those of relatively low social status such as Lu Zigang and Shi Dabin illustrates the contempo, rary blurring of the distinction between literati artists and professional crafts, men. Although many literati remained uneasy about close association between gentry and distinguished and prosperous craftsmen and manufacturers, increasing numbers of the elite were friendly with such men or, like Xu Shipu, 13 praised their achievements. The late Ming was a period in which interactions between social classes had become more dynamic. In this regard, Xu's list mir, rors the shifting boundary between high and low cultures in the late Ming. But the idea that significant socioeconomic changes, and not merely the inde,


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pendent actions of talented individuals, were the cause of this spifting boundary was beyond the comprehension of Xu Shipu, even though he lived in the presence of these changes. In recent decades, many scholars have pointed out that the late Ming wit14 nessed profound social and cultural change. By the Wanli period, China had enjoyed two centuries of peace and prosperity. As the government retreated from economic intervention, the market economy steadily expanded, not only into cities and towns but also into many rural areas. Along with economic growth came the expansion of education, which enabled more citizens to read and write. Closely associated with the educational expansion was a flourishing print culture. As the demand for books escalated, commercial and private publishing poured out printed matter of all kinds for a diverse reading public. A 15 transition from quality to quantity occurred in printing, and information flowed at an unprecedented speed, intensifying the interplay between the high and low and making the boundaries between social strata increasingly fluid. These changes were significant for the art of calligraphy. The increase in literacy meant that there were many more people who wrote and appreciated 16 calligraphy, a visual art traditionally the preserve of the cultural elite. With the growth in literacy and social interaction, the demand for calligraphy grew, and calligraphy itself was influenced by the new writing and reading habits of the public, for instance, in the selection of texts and formats that appealed to the eclectic tastes of a new audience. Commerce stimulated urbanization, and a distinct urban culture emerged, vibrant, interactive, and expansionary. Cultural, social, commercial, fiscal, and political activity in the late Ming expanded exponentially. Travel time shortened, literacy and communication improved, published materials multiplied, information spread, and personal mobility increased, including commercial traveling. According to Dorothy Ko, this new culture was "characterized by a ·blurring of traditional dualities and fluidity of boundaries-between gentry and merchant, male and female, morality and entertainment, public and pri17 vate, philosophy and action, as well as fiction and reality." The art associated with this urban culture tended to be sensual, entertaining, theatrical, and comical. With more leisure time in urban areas came a demand for popular entertainment: plays, vernacular fiction, verbal games, jokes. Late Ming literati continued to write poems, but, as Xu Shipu remarks, "for the nearly fifty years of the W anli reign, there was no excellent poetry." Although commercialization brought regions into closer contact, it did not diminish regional character. In some respects, it gave a new value to its preservation. Refining and improving distinctive regional products, for example, became a winning strategy for competing vigorously in the market, and there was increased interest in defining regional cultural identities. Conflicting interests and values, multilevel clashes among competing subcultures, and the confron-

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tation of native and foreign lent the late Ming a dazzling complexity and con~ fusing diversity. This sociocultural landscape has been aptly described by Nel~ son Wu: Late Ming China presents a picture of a society so heterogeneous as to make the term relatively meaningless outside the chronological frame. The diversity of political and intellectual movements and the wide range of individual attitudes toward life and the court, set in a landscape rich in regional differences, produce a complex composition 18 whose divergent elements all may be called typically late Ming.

It was against this kaleidoscopic backdrop that a distinct late Ming aesthetic emerged. QI AND AESTHETICS

An important name is missing from Xu Shipu's list of the cultural accom~ plishments of the Wanli reign: that ofLi Zhi (r527-r6o2), an iconoclastic phi~ losopher, another student ofLuo Rufang, and a friend ofJiao Hong. Xu's omission is understandable, because Li Zhi committed suicide in jail after be~ ing accused of various crimes and misdeeds, including deception, subversive interpretations of history and the Classics, bathing with prostitutes during the day, and seducing local gentlewomen during theological seminars. 19 Although after Li's death, the circulation of his books, or those attributed to him, in~ creased among the general populace, his name was anathema to many late Ming and early Qing Confucian scholars. Regardless of the posthumous praise and criticism he received, there is no question that Li Zhi had a revolutionary impact on late Ming society, an impact larger than that of anyone else in that period's intellectual circles. I twas Li Zhi, not his dose friend Jiao Hong, who developed the teachings ofWang Yangming and Luo Rufang in a radically individualist direction. Li Zhi held that man's innate nature is pure, with a childlike mind (tongxin) that perceives the way to moral behavior with natural clarity. But this childlike mind can be lost when moral doctrines derived by rote from instruction or books are im~ posed on it. A primary concern ofLi Zhi was sincerity: one should not deceive oneself-one should be true to the intuitive responses of the inner self and thus 20 attain selfrealization in the Way. Li Zhi's advocacy of truth to the inner self had a profound influence on late Ming art. It is more than a coincidence that the names on Xu's list representing accomplishment in drama and fine art, Tang Xianzu and Dong Qichang, were acquaintances ofLi Zhi and shared Li's intel~ 21 lectual orientation. But how does one attain true self~realizationr Is merely claiming its attain~ ment sufficient? How do others know if such a claim is authentic? Or need they know? How can an individual be sure that he is not deceiving himself in


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making such claims? Self~realization is no mere philosophical abstraction. Theoretical discussions of being true to one's inner self are one thing; putting the idea into practice, another. If true selfhood is realized automatically, why did Li Zhi hold seminars and write books about it? Li Zhi taught and wrote because selfhood can be obscured, as well as pur~ sued, clarified, and made manifest. Even if sudden enlightenment is achieved, the authentic "self' of an enlightened person still needs to be manifested in words, behavior, images, or other tangible expressions and presentations. The pursuit of self~ realization then becomes an issue of realizing expression and presentation. Since the childlike mind can be lost and moral doctrines may ob~ struct self~ realization, Li Zhi' s theory encouraged individuals, including artists, to follow spontaneously wherever their intuition led so as to realize and express their "true self." The theory of spontaneous expression was voiced by Li Zhi' s friends and followers in the cultural fields in which they were working. In a preface to a collection of essays compiled by Qiu Zhaolin (zi Maobo; 1572-1629), the dramatist Tang Xianzu commented: "I have said that excellence in writing does not lie in following [ancient models J closely and achieving formal similar~ ity to models. [In excellent writing,] natural inspiration appears to one in a trance; it arrives unexpectedly. It is odd and strange (guaiguai qiqi +!Hf:~~), 122 and its physical appearance cannot be described.' When Tang claimed that good writing should not follow ancient models, he had a target in mind: the literary revivalism initiated by Li Panlong and Wang Shizhen, who claimed that writers must take the prose of the Qin and Han dynasties and the poetry of the high Tang as models. Tang Xianzu rejected revivalism and advocated spontaneous expression directed by one's own intuition. He made three points in this short·passage. First, for the sake of one's "true self," a good work cannot be similar to others, even to ancient masterworks. Second, such works come forth spontaneously. Third, the result of spontaneous expression is unpredict~ able and "odd and strange.'' In another preface to Qiu Zhaolin's collection of essays, Tang went one step further, making a concrete connection between good writing and the writer: "The reason the best writings under heaven have vital dynamic force is entirely because their writers are marvelous scholars (qishi ~±).When a scholar is marvelous (qi ~),his mind becomes lively; when his mind is lively, it can fly. It moves up and down between heaven and earth, back and forth from antiquity · conu c·dent t h at as 1ong as a wnter . 1s . a marve1ous to t h e present."23 T ang 1s scholar, his writing will naturally be good. In this, he does not go beyond tradi~ tional Confucian wisdom, which holds that art is a manifestation of its creator. But can we reverse this argument by saying that if a piece of writing is good and thus has the qualities odd and strange, then the writer must be a marvelous scholar? Tang Xianzu would have been forced to accept this conclusion because

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life • n

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if good writing can be produced by someone who is not a marvelous scholar, his theory would be severely damaged, if not entirely undermined. The theory leaves no room for rhetorical practice that may be eloquent and plausible but not reveal the "truth." We may ask further: Is it possible for the spontaneous expressions of someone following his intuition faithfully to be indistinguishable from those of others? For Tang, this cannot happen. Yet even if it could, it would not seriously damage his theory, because he could argue simply that the person's work is unremarkable because he is not a marvelous scholar-because the childlike mind of this person had become obscured. We can also ask whether those who have obscured their childlike mind can express themselves spontaneously. If they cannot, then this violates the initial premise of making a spontaneous expression. What is more damaging to Tang's argument is that the reasoning is circular. With such an argument, there is the potential danger that, in the end, it is the result that proves who is a marvelous scholar. A distin~ guished literary or artistic work attests to the innate value of its creator. The original focus on the internal state of mind shifts to an external standard, and one can abandon the investigation of subjective internal phenomena such as the presence of spontaneity and the childlike mind as irrelevant: the external evi~ dence of superior writing becomes proof of the existence of internal excellence. One need probe no deeper. Note Tang Xianzu' s repeated use of the character qi in the two prefaces quoted above. In the first preface, he defines natural inspiration as "odd and strange," something whose "physical appearance cannot be described." In the second, he traces the root of excellent writing to qualities in the creator. In both cases, the adjective Tang uses to define excellence, either in writing or the writer, is qi. In China, prefaces were an important means of promoting a new work, especially in the late Ming, when there was fierce competition among writers and artists and in the marketplace for publication and sales. Tang's use of qi in praise of Qiu's work in such an economically powerful document as a preface demonstrates the prestige of this term in late Ming criticism. As Katharine Burnett points out, "Seventeenth~century critics used the term qi positively to indicate originality, and works that may be described as qi ... were acknowl~ edged by seventeenth~century critics to be the art that expressed the ideals of 24 the period, and consequently, the best art that period could produce." An important critical concept, qi has much to do with the realization of one's true sel£ As pointed out above, when realization of selfbecomes an issue of expression, it faces a challenging problem: even when one is spontaneously guided by intuition, there is no guarantee that one's works, and hence one's sel£ will be distinguishable from those of others. Once artistic self~ realization becomes a matter of tangible expression, judging the presence of qi in the maker is no longer subjective; its measure becomes objective and externaL The dilemma is that, in everyday practice, others judge whether an individual has


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found his authentic self not on that individual's assertions but on an objective expression of the sel£ such as a work of art or simply the individual's behavior, that is, on something that relates the individual to others. Theoretically, the judgment is subjective; artistically, it is usually based on an object that can be evaluated on a nonsubjective, interpersonal basis. If one's artistic productions are indistinguishable from those of others, how can one be identified as a per~ son who has attained true selfhood? One is nothing more than a follower. The irony is that, in the end, true selfhood is realized or manifested through a person's relation to others. It needs to be manifested in a tangible form; otherwise, how can others know that one's selfhood is unique? Of course, an individual can retreat to the impregnable fortress of complete s~bjectivity: he need not care how others react so long as he feels that he is freely expressing himsel£ But when the search for true selfhood becomes a dominant feature of literary and artistic discourse, it leads easily to a strong interest in the visible expression of sel£ Ideally, this expression should occur naturally. Both the actor and the audi~ ence should feel that the expression is spontaneous. An easy way to express one's self is to act, in some way, differently from others. But this difference must be sufficiently pronounced to be considered distinctive. Because qi must have a distinguishable appearance (otherwise it would not be called qi), pro~ ducing something distinctive becomes a prerequisite for demonstrating that qi is part of one's inner self. But this leads naturally to two possibilitiesauthentic and inauthentic expressions of qi-and to a problem: how to distin~ guish between the two. Thus both genuine adherents ofLi Zhi's theory and those only professing to be followers were required to manifest qi, even if the former were genuine in treating it as a way to realize their true self and the latter created unusual works or products only to give the appearance of pos~ sessing qi. We must leave this philosophical problem unresolved, however, since the central concern of this study is not to label expressions of qi genuine or mere posturing. Our concerns are instead the development of the discourse on qi in the late Ming and its impact on the art of calligraphy. Although widely and frequently used, the word qi was seldom, if ever, clearly defined by its users in the late Ming. While late Ming dictionaries did 5 give brief definitions of the word/ as "a complex term with a wide semantic 26 range," the connotations of qi vary with context. Sometimes, qi stands as a single word, either as a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it refers to strange or unusual things and phenomena. As an adjective, it can mean rare, shocking, dramatic, eccentric, strange, bizarre, and marvelous. It is often used in the construction of compounds, such as qishi ~±(marvelous scholar), qiren ~A. (eccentric person), qiqi ~~(strange thing), and qixing ~1-T (strange behav~ ior). It can also be used in compounds denoting intellectual activity: haoqi -.kf~ (literally "love the strange"), for instance, means "curiosity.'m

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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• 13

Tang Xianzu used qi in the context of aesthetics, only one of the many different contexts in which it appeared in the late Ming. Only when a variety oflate Ming uses have been discussed can we come to a better understanding of the word and how popular and powerful it was in literary and artistic production and in everyday life. In the following discussion, I sometimes leave qi untranslated, because a simple English translation diminishes its richness in the late Ming cultural context. Let us begin with the literati use of this term. In the preface to his Lofty and Strange Matters from the Past (Gaoqi wangshi ~ ~1.i:J), compiled and pub~ lished in the Wanli reign, He Tang (jinshi 1547; d. after 1580 ), a scholar whose life spanned the middle to the late Ming, explained his reasons for compiling this work: Living in my mountain residence with plenty ofleisure, sometimes I unfolded books to meet the ancients [in their pages]. When I saw interesting stories, I jotted them down on pieces of paper. After a while, they filled my bamboo box. Then I divided these notes into the categories "Garden of the Lofty" (Gaoyuan ~?!£)and "Forest of the Eccentric" (Qilin ~;;!:*-)·Within each category are five chapters.... The collection 28 is entitled Lofty and Strange Matters from the Past. The five chapters in "Garden of the Lofty" are "Lofty Behavior," "Lofty Moral~ ity/' "Lofty Opinions," "Lofty Interests," and "Lofty Friendship." The five chapters in "Forest of the Eccentric" are "Eccentric Behavior" ("Qixing" ~1t), "Eccentric Language" ("Qiyan" ~ ~),"Eccentric Insights" ("Qishi" ~~'\), "Eccentric Plans" ("Qiji" ~it), and "Eccentric Talents" ("Qicai" ~;;f-). Col~ leering stories about ancient eccentrics may simply have been something He Tang did for his own amusement, as he claimed. But in the larger view, it was part of the late Ming search for qi. The publication of these stories brought He Tang some fame as a lofty and marvelous scholar and attests to the con~ siderable audience for entertaining tales of the eccentric. The temporal distance between ancient times and late Ming readers en~ hanced the quality of qi in ancient stories and anecdotes. The people, customs, and objects of antiquity, because they were no longer part of everyday experi~ ence, could acquire an aura of the strange and eccentric (qi) more easily. The great distances separating China from foreign countries performed the same function. Alien races, cultures, and products aroused late Ming curiosity. Even the term "foreign" connoted the strange, unfamiliar, exotic, and novel: all these were qualities of qi. The late Ming, as noted above, saw an upsurge in Catholic missionary activity and foreign trade. The maps of the world introduced by Ricci and other missionaries attracted great interest among the literati, broad~ 29 ening the worldview of those encountering foreigners. Ricci's journal in~ eludes many vivid accounts of how people-from theWanli emperor to ordi~ nary villagers-were curious about the things brought by Western


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missionaries. The emperor was obsessed with Western clocks, and enthusiastic officials asked Ricci to make world maps and even sent them as gifts to 31 their friends. 3 Curiosity remained fresh throughout the late Ming. The Italian missionary Giulio Aleni's (Ai Ruliie, I582-I649) Notes on [World] Geography (Zhifang waiji; I623) was the first book in Chinese on world geography based on information from abroad. This six-chapter book devotes one chapter to each continent, its geography, people, and material culture. 32 The Chinese tide, Zhifang waiji, is significant. "Zhifang" was the name of the Zhou dynasty (ca. uth century-256 B.c.) Bureau of Operations, which was responsible for maintaining maps of the feudatory regions and receiving tribute payments from them. A literal translation of the Chinese tide Zhifang waiji is Notes on Countries Beyond the Feudatory Regions, or Notes on Countries Not Shown on the Maps Maintained in the Bureau of Operations. The tide thus acknowledges the existence of countries and peoples beyond the tribute-paying regions recorded on ancient Chinese maps, in geographical books, and in the Classic of


Mountains and Seas (Shanhai jing). The publication of Notes on [World] Geography stimulated tremendous interest in foreign artifacts among the elite. Wang Cheng (I 57 I-I644), a Chinese Catholic and senior official, wrote, in his preface to Best Selections from the Illus-

trated Catalogues of Strange Things from the Far West (Yuanxi qiqi tushuo luzui Jt i£J ~ ~ ~ Wi.~Jtd'i), that in winter of the year bingyin (late I626 or early I627), he met Niccolo Longobardi (Long Huamin, I566-I655), Johann Terrenz (Deng Yuhan, I576-I63o), and Johann Adam Schall von Bell (Tang Ruowang, I592-I666) in Beijing, where the three Jesuits were helping to revise the calendar by order of the emperor. Deeply impressed by the unheard-of "strange people and strange things" (qiren qishi ~A...~*) recorded in Aleni's book, Wang questioned the three Jesuits as to the truth of Aleni's book. The Jesuits told Wang that there were many machines in the West similar to those recorded by Aleni and showed Wang catalogues with illustrations of these machines. At Wang's request and with his assistance, Johann T errenz compiled Best Selections from the Illustrated Catalogues of Strange Things from the Far West (Fig. I.I). 33 Although science and engineering were its principal focus, this illustrated book probably attracted a wider readership than would otherwise have been the case, because it fed contemporary curiosity about the world beyond the China's borders. The tide ofTerrenz's catalogue includes the term "strange things" (qiqi ~ ~).Late Ming scholars and literati used a similar term, "various strange things" (zhuqi ~~),to describe Western artifacts imported into China. Undoubtedly, these uses of qi increased the word's popularity in the late Ming. Although not present in great quantities in China, the "various strange things from overseas" (haiwai zhuqi i}g: ~ ~) became part of late Ming material


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• IS

Fig. 1.1 Illusrrarion in Best Selections from the Illu strated Catalogues of Strange Thingsfrom the Far West. Reprinred in Shoushange congshu series. Afrer Deng Yuhan, Yuanxi qiqi ttHhuo luzui, pp. 302- 3.

culture, especially for the elite, who occasionally came into contact with them or learned of them from books. The role played by strange things from overseas in the formation of the late Ming aesthetic of qi cannot be ignored in discussing the art of the period. Describing the fascination with qi in the city ofJinling, Shih Shou-ch'ien argues that late Ming artists who lived and worked in coastal cities had more exposure to foreign cultures, and that the pursuit of qi in their art was inspired by this experience. For instance, the eccentric depictions of Buddhist arhats by Wu Bin (ca. 1543-ca. 1626) in a handscroll dated 1591 now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum are very likely the result of his exposure to Dutch and Portuguese merchants and other foreigners in his hometown of Quanzhou, a major seaport for foreign trade (Fig. 1.2). 34 Exotic elements lend Wu Bin's works a dramatic and intriguing visual complexity. Another artist who drew on the foreign and exotic was ChengJunfang, whose ink-sticks were regarded by Xu Shipu as one of the cultural achievements of the Wanli reign. To increase reader curiosity when preparing his catalogue, which he entitled Ink Garden of the Cheng Family (Chengshi moyuan ), he included Bible illustrations that he had obtained from Matteo Ricci. He also threw in missionaryinvented romanizations of Chinese characters in apparent disregard of his readers' ability to understand them. The literati's love of strange stories and things was mirrored by a similar fascination with the strange in popular culture. Works of vernacular fiction published in the late Ming often incorporated the character qi in their tidesfor example, Slapping the Table in Amazement (Pai'an jingqi ~6 #- ~ ~ ), Marvel-

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ous Views, Present and Past (Jingu qiguan ~-8" -ij- {it), and A Selection of Marvelous Essays of the Ming (Mingwen xuanqi a}J X.!! -ij-). Even instructional books such as the household encyclopedia entitled The Newly Published Complete Collection of qi in Ten Thousand Chapters, Compiled by Mr. Chen Jiru (Xinke Meigong Chen xiansheng bianji zhushu beicai wanjuan souqi quanshu ffJT ~~J Ai -A f$. 7t 1.. ~~it t" 1:ffi .fR /i, ,t.;Jt -ij-~ t" ), relied on the word qi in their tides to attract buyers. As for the contents of such books, Ling Mengchu (1580-1644) wrote in his preface to Slapping the Table in Amazement that all kinds of things odd and strange (guaiguai qiqi ·tf: ·tf: -ij- -ij-) are presented in his book. The term he used is exactly the same as the phrase used by Tang Xianzu in his preface, quoted earlier, to Qiu Zhaolin's collected essays. Besides strange stories, many late Ming household encyclopedias contained illustrations of bizarre images in two chapters commonly entitled "Foreign People" ("Zhuyi men"), and "Strange Things from Mountains and Seas" ("Shanhai yiwu lei"), with short captions attached. The material in such chapters came from a variety of sources (Fig. 1.3). Generally, the "Foreign People" chapter presented geographical information on real countries, but it was brief and often misleading. Japan, for instance, was described as a country that lived on piracy, whereas Korea, a state that had closer relations with the Ming court, was depicted as more civilized. It also contains legendary countries recorded in The Classic of Mountains and Seas, such as the Country Where People Never Die (Busi guo) the Country ofThree-Headed People (Sanshou guo). Many of the illustrations ofbizarre things were derived from The Classic of Mountains and Seas. 35 As Richard Smith points out, "A distinctive feature of such popular and influential Ming-Qing encyclopedias and almanacs is the way they tend to in6 termingle images of the 'factual' and the 'fanciful."-3 This intermingling reinforced both features: the factual made the fanciful look real, whereas the fanciful made the factual more entertaining and appealing. To what degree these books shaped late Ming perceptions of foreign countries and people is unclear. But no matter how bizarre and inaccurate their information, these widely circulated

Fig. 1.2 Wu Bin (ca. 1543-ca. 1626), The Sixteen Luohans. Dared 1591. Portion. Handscroll. ink and color on paper, 32 x 414.3 em. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Edward Elliott Family Collection, Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1986 (1986.266-4).

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Fig. 1.3 lllusrrarions in Wanli quanbu wenlin renzi kan miaojin wanbao quanshu, !are Ming ed., 4.1gb-2oa. Harvard-Yenching Library.

books piqued and satisfied people's curiosity, helping to create a cultural milieu in which pursuing the unusual was not regarded as odd. In sum, qi was a term that reflected diverse interests, had multiple layers of meaning, and served various functions. It could refer to an ideal quality in a person, to an unusual life-style, or to the eccentric behavior of a member of the elite used as a strategy to redefine his social standing during a period in which social relationships were fluid; it could refer to the exotic for the intellectually curious and in popular entertainment; it was an element of a literary and artistic discourse that bespoke a new aesthetics; and it was used as an advertising ploy by commercial publishers. Urban culture provided fertile soil for nurturing the aesthetic of qi. It welcomed and encouraged the search for qi, to the point where the pursuit of qi was itself an integral component of urban culture in the late Ming. In cities and market towns where commercial activities were concentrated, everintensifying competition impelled merchants and artisans to produce new products, novel fashions, and goods of a unique regional character-in short, things that intrigued and attracted customers. Swamped with any number of commodities, city residents tended to develop a taste for the dramatic, the sensual, and the sensational. As strange things became familiar to the public, novelties had to be developed to sustain their interest, and the constant search for


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what was new steadily amplified the degree of the strange and exotic present in commercial products. Works of vernacular fiction with stories of the strange found their way into everyday life. In Jinling, the most prosperous city of the late Ming, those who could make strange and startling images gained error; . popu1anty. . 37 mous Once the pursuit of qi began, it could hardly stop or be stopped. As pointed out above, whether qi flows from one's inner self or arises from copying others, once qi becomes a form of expression or presentation, it also becomes some; thing social and definable by relations with others. The paradox of qi was that qi could be imitated by others. Once duplication made the rare common, and the unfamiliar familiar, qi was no longer qi. Qi as a standard was relative, sub; ject to constant change. This meant that whenever a thing was no longer viewed as possessing qi, new things or ways would be found that could create qi. Thus fashion-the possession of qi-was unpredictable. The intense search for qi, powered by social ambition, intellectual curiosity, commercial greed, the desire for literary reputation, the search for artistic originality, and a quest for novel diversion by literati and commoners alike inevitably caused enormous competition in a variety of occupational and social arenas that led to rapidly evolving changes in the meaning of qi. Ernst Gombrich, in a discussion of the "logic of Vanity Fair" in art and fashion, has commented on the nature of the "rarity game," driven by "compe; tition and inflation": "What characterizes ... Vanity Fair is ... the fluidity of the game of'watch me' that [is) characteristic of Open Societies, ... [where] games of'one;upmanship' are played within a small section of people who 38 have nothing better to do than outdo each other." Gombrich could easily find supporting evidence in late Ming China for this proposition-a society of great openness, although we might be reluctant to call it an "Open Society." Gu Qiyuan (rs6s-·r628), a distinguished writer in Jinling who witnessed the rampant competition in the quest for qi beginning in the Wanli reign, wrote: "In the last ten years or so, government laws have loosened, and since then, people have been free to present their qi (xianqi it~). Everyone tries some; thing new, and the styles in writing are dramatically changing. Novelty! Nov; 39 elty! It never ends; there is always more and more qi!" The ever;changing nature of qi thwarts a stable definition of the term. Holding that the strange "is a cultural construct created and constantly re; newed through writing and reading'' and "a psychological effect produced though literary or artistic means," Judith Zeitlin, in her excellent discussion of the concept of yi (strange), a synonym of qi, poses the thoughtful question: "Is 40 the strange definable?" In the current study, the question might rather be phrased: Was it necessary for those living in the late Ming to define qi? In fact, late Ming users of this critical term seem unconcerned to define it and used it rather loosely. It was precisely its vagueness that opened the term up to innu;

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life • 19

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merable possibilities. Any innovation-commercial, intellectual, artisticcould be labeled, advertised, and justified as qi. It was in this period, with its taste for qi, that Dong Qichang launched an individualist movement in the field oflate Ming calligraphy. DONG QICHANG AND INDIVIDUALIST CALLIGRAPHERS

No one occupied a more central position in late Ming calligraphy than Dong 41 Qichang. Born in 1555 in Songjiang, Dong Qichang obtained his jinshi degree in 1589, the seventeenth year of the Wanli reign. Later, he became a senior offi~ cial at court. A cautious politician, Dong Qichang established friendly relation~ ships both with members of the Donglin movement and with their rivals. While serving as a Hanlin bachelor and compiler in Beijing during the period 1589-99, Dong became a member of the creative cultural circle that included Jiao Hong, Tang Xianzu, Yuan Hongdao (a leading literary radical) and his two brothers, Yuan Zongdao (1560-16oo) and Yuan Zhongdao (1570-1623), 42 and more important, the notorious Li Zhi. Although deeply influenced by this group, Dong was not as radical as the Yuan brothers and Tang Xianzu in terms of the treatment of ancient canons. From his youth, Dong Qichang cop~ ied numerous masterpieces by ancient calligraphers. His primary models for regular~ script calligraphy were such Tang masters as Ouyang Xun (557-641) and Yan Zhenqing (709-85). In running and cursive calligraphy, Dong fol~ lowed the "Two W angs" tradition ofWang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi (344-88), but often he was heavily influenced by the interpretation of their style offered by the Song calligrapher Mi Fu (ro52-no8), a master of running and cursive calligr_aphy. For large~ scale cursive calligraphy, Dong followed the monk Huaisu (725-85), a famous calligrapher of the Tang dynasty. The richness and broad variety ofDong Qichang's calligraphy prevents a comprehensive discussion of the scope of his training and achievement here. A few points, however, are relevant to this discussion oflate Ming calligraphy. An artist intensely conscious of the theoretical aspects of calligraphy, Dong was able to formulate his artistic theories in a lucid and powerful manner. A key concept in Dong's aesthetics of calligraphy was the quality of" rawness" (sheng). 43 "Both painting and calligraphy have their own criteria: calligraphy can be raw, but painting must be skillful. Calligraphy first must be skillful, 44 then must become raw, but painting has to be skillful and yet more skillful." To Dong Qichang, painting, as a representational art, could embrace the breadth and beauty of nature. A painter could seek out spectacular scenery and, with his representational skill, incorporate it into his paintings. The late Ming painter Wu Bin, for example, incorporated in his landscape paintings 45 marvelous scenes from the mountainous areas ofFujian. Unlike painting,

20 •

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pair of works by the Tang calligrapher Ouyang Xun, the Dushang tie and Yu Liang tie (Fig. 1.25). These two works and Mi's colophon had been reproduced in several model-books, including Dong Qichang's Model-Book from the Hall of the Playing Goose (Xihongtangjashu); Wang, as a friend ofDong Qichang, was thus familiar with them. Mi Fu' s colophon of 126 characters recounts first how the two works by Ouyang Xun came into his possession, lists their collectors' seals, adds a few comments on the works, and ends with the date on which he composed the colophon. Following the colophon, Mi appends a 32-character encomium (zan) of four characters per line praising the calligraphy of Ouyang Xun and then concludes with his signature. The hanging scroll in the Shiao Hua Collection, however, has only 81 characters, including Mi's colophon and encomium and Wang's dedication, date, and signature. The scroll's first two columns consists of 31 large characters that give Ouyang Xun's full official tide and the tide of the work, Dushang tie. They are textually close to the first two lines ofMi Fu's colophon, except for the omission of the two characters at the beginning, "you Tang" (meaning "On the right is [the work of] the Tang dynasty [official, viz., Ouyang Xun]"), and the characters "Xun" and "shu" ("writes") from the signature "Ouyang Xun shu." Next, however, Wang skips over the bulk of



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it Fig. 1.25 Mi Fu

Colophon to Ouyang Xun's "Dushang tie" and "Yu Liang tie." Dared (1051-II07),

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bing mounred as an album, ink on paper, 29.5 x 15.2 em. In Dong Qichang. ed.,

Xihongtangjatie. Private collection.

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• 43

Mi' s colophon and proceeds to write out its last two lines, "Yuan du dong xiaoxian waishe zanyue." But he mistakenly changes "Yuanyou" 7t:f;f; ("the Yuanyou reign of the Northern Song"; ro86-93) to "Yuan du" 7t/i., which has no referent. Columns three and four of Wang Duo's copy include Mi' s encomium, but with no indication that it is part of Mi' s colophon. Aside from the awkward sequence of its contents, the new text is misleading, since the omission of Mi's name and the inclusion of Ouyang X un' s may cause viewers unfamiliar with the original to think that the text is by Ouyang Xun, not by Mi Fu. It is no exaggeration to say that in copying ancient works in this man~ ner, Wang Duo created what are virtually visual riddles. Generally speaking, Wang Duo's more faithful copies of ancient master~ works are in handscroll format, and his inventive collages, like the two dis~ cussed above, take the form of hanging scrolls. Handscrolls were for personal viewing or for showings in an intimate setting to a few friends. But hanging 84 scrolls were meant for public consumption. Huge in size, dramatic in style, Wang Duo's collage scrolls, designed to hang on conspicuous walls, over~ whelm viewers with imposing images. One wonders how these works were received by contemporary audiences. No reaction to them has survived, but Wang Duo's fondness for taking liberties with canonical texts suggests that there was considerable public appreciation of this new calligraphic game. One of the attractions of these hanging scrolls was their strong participatory func~ tion. Friends and guests visiting the ·owner of such a scroll may not only have viewed Wang Duo's extraordinary calligraphy as art but also have amused themselves by trying to decipher Wang's texts. Viewing such a scroll was more than an aesthetic experience; it was also an intriguing and entertaining one. Furthermore, the anomalies of calligraphic collage, misleading attribution, and the labeling of such a work as a "copy" (lin) together created the strangeness (qi) that appealed to late Ming taste. 85 Other such scrolls can be found among the extant works of Wang Duo, the most radical of which is a hanging scroll of 6I characters in the Kaifeng 86 Museum that mingles excerpts from at least five different ancient works. These scrolls demonstrate that in the late Ming, the concept oflin was inter~ 87 preted far more liberally than either before or after this time. During this period, it is more loosely the "inventive copying of ancient canonical works." This notion of lin allowed artists to change the script of an ancient calligraphy, to make a collage of fragments from several masterpieces, and to distort the text and style of the models being "copied." Although practices vary, they have one thing in common: the works "copied" are always those of the ancient mas~ ters. Such scrolls reflect a new cultural use of ancient canonical works. If we address inventive copying in the domain of calligraphy only in isola~ tion, however, the broad ramifications of this issue and its cultural implica~ tions will not become fully apparent. We must go beyond calligraphy and


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Fig. 1.26 Illustration in the late Ming vernacular novel Qilin zhui. After Fu Xihua, Zhongguo gudian wenxue banhua xuanji, vol. I, pl. 272.

examine this phenomenon in a broader cultural context by relating it to the period's general attitude toward and treatment of ancient canons. A work of fiction entitled Qilin zhui published in the W anli period contains a landscape illustration with the inscription (Fig. 1.26): "Imitating the brush method ofMi Fu," who was famous not only for his calligraphy but also for his landscape painting. Although no genuine paintings by Mi Fu survive, the Mi style was known to later artists and connoisseurs through descriptions of his work in early catalogues and other texts, as well as through the extant paintings of his son Mi Youren (1074-1151) and, most important, perhaps, a long tradition of iconographic representations that-regardless of the true nature of the lost originals-were universally taken as being in the Mi style. The style is characterized by the use of numerous horizontal, ovally elongated dots mingled with wash to create ranges of triangular mountains in a dreamlike landscape. Bur the mountain in the illustration in the Qilin zhui is rendered with clearly defined contours, entirely without dots and misty effects. The only possible reason for associating this picture with Mi Fu might be its drifting clouds, be-

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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• 45

cause we know from Mi Youren's extant paintings that members of the Mi family frequently featured clouds in their paintings. But Mi's clouds, unlike the illustration in the Qilin zhui, are misty and blurred. Overall, the pictorial style of this illustration has nothing to do with Mi Fu: the attribution is quite simply outrageous. As this example demonstrates, the interpretation of an~ cient canonical styles in late Ming visual art was not only liberal but at times even entirely arbitrary. This illustration also directs attention to the role played by printed texts in creating a cultural climate in which such free attribution was encouraged. Al~ though calligraphy differs significantly from printed textual materials, both are graphic media based on the written word and involve the process of reading. For this reason, it is worth investigating whether calligraphy was influenced by the replicative nature of printed materials. Free~copying in late Ming-early Qing calligraphy echoes a general mode of production and reproduction typical of the print culture of that period. As publishing enterprises boomed in the seventeenth century and a new reading public emerged, reproduction-or more precisely, the reuse of old materialstook a variety of forms and often involved taking liberties with ancient texts. Through cutting and pasting, canonical works were dismantled, recycled, mixed with popular writings, and formed into new texts for a burgeoning market. Anonymous works were attributed to famous cultural figures, ancient 88 or contemporary, to increase their salability or popularity. At times, writers even made use of the tide of an ancient classic for texts of their own composi~ tion. An episode in Antagonists in Love (Huanxi yuanjia), a vernacular fiction published in the late Ming, reflects this practice. In this section, a young man named Erguan tries to entice his sister~in~law into having an affair with him. Erguan does his best to turn literature into an erotic lure: Erguan said: "So, my sister~in~law, it seems that you know something about the Thousand Character Classic (Qianziwen ). My hands are full right now, but when I am free tonight, I will alter the text, mix its order completely, and show you an amusing result." ... The next morning, Erguan called: "Sister-in-law, last night I finished the Thousand Character Classic. Please, have a look! Enjoy yourself1"

Although still tided the Thousand Character Classic, Erguan's work is, of course, dramatically different from the original. The ancient text consists of 250 lines of four characters each, whereas Erguan' s has only 134lines, with seven charac~ ters per line. His new text integrates lines from the Thousand Character Classic, but it changes entirely their context and connotations. For instance, the original text starts with the sentence "Tiandi xuanhuang" .:kJ:-11!. j;if (Heaven and earth are black and yellow), a phrase that describes a universe detached from human affairs. But Erguan puts the three characters "tongdaolao" ~ .ftj ~be~ fore the original four characters and creates a phrase that reads, in context,


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"You and I will live together forever like the everlasting universe"; moreover, he moves the line to the end of his work, which is now entirely erotic in flavor.89 What is of interest here is not simply that Erguan attempts to seduce his sister-in-law by a clever parody of an ancient text but that he continues to call it the Thousand Character Classic. Although the Thousand Character Classic was not a classic in the same sense as such cardinal Confucian classics as the Book of Rites, it had a profound influ90 ence on society in late imperial China. By the late Ming, it was one of the three most important primers in the elementary curriculum and was consid91 ered a vehicle of Confucian doctrine. Erguan's replacement of the moral teachings in the original text with content that was erotic (immoral, or at least thoroughly non-Confucian), though seemingly trivial, exemplifies a late Ming cultural phenomenon: the use of parody to convert canonical works into popular entertainments. Underlying this phenomenon was a significant change in attitude toward the authority of ancient canons. Similar examples can easily be found in late Ming reading material. For instance, in General Words to Warn the World (]ingshi tongyan), a collection of short stories popular in the late Ming, Zhuangzi (ca. 369-286 B.c.), the great Warring States period (475-221 B.c.) philosopher who held himself aloof from 92 human affairs, is depicted as a vulgar snob seeking wealth, fame, and flesh. In the most extreme case, quotations from Confucian classics like the Analects were made into phrases used in drinking games or turned into jokes about sexual intercourse, transforming these didactic texts into vulgar entertainments.93 That this assault was so reckless as, for instance, to incorporate without hesitation parodies of the classics into popular plays indicates that the authority of ancient canons was not only in question in the late Ming but even seriously cliallenged. In his preface to Slapping the Table in Amazement, a late Ming popular collection of short stories, the author Ling Mengchu comments on the abuse of ancient canons: "The country has enjoyed peace in recent decades, people are indulgent, and morality is decaying. While a few irresponsible and frivolous young men are just beginning to learn how to write, still, their first thought is how to slander society, ... offend Confucian teachings, [and 94 shock the world] •... Nothing is more popular than this." Ling may have adopted a high moral stance, but he knew whereof he spoke, for many stories in his collection treat conventions and traditional values with something less than respect. Nevertheless, Ling's comment on the shock value of slandering ancient canons as a means (we may assume) of gaining fame vividly highlights issues that are central to the phenomenon of inventive copying in calligraphy. The proliferation of Confucian and other works with a moral bent (such as the Thousand Character Classic) has led many scholars to believe that the expanding print culture was instrumental in further instilling Confucian beliefs into the populace at large; such scholars tend to stress the hegemony of Con-

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• 47


fucian ideology in this period. But in doing so, they neglect another aspect of this proliferation: that although printing technology made available numerous copies of the ancient classics, in the cultural context of the late Ming, the sa~ cred aura surrounding ancient canonical texts may well have been diminished by this very proliferation. Parodies and .distortions of ancient canonical texts subverted public belief in those works and respect for them: at the very least, the large number of these parodies and distortions confirms that poking fun at canonical texts was an important part of the late Ming cultural milieu. As Ling Mengchu commented, "Nothing is more popular than this." It was against this cultural backdrop that inventive copying arose in the field of calligraphy. Nevertheless, all the examples cited here of denigrations of the canonical texts spring from the literature of popular culture, whereas calligraphy is 96 generally regarded as an "art of the elite." Is it possible that trends in popular culture could substantially alter attitudes toward ancient authority in the field of calligraphy? Wai~kam Ho and Dawn Ho Delbanco point out that Dong Qichang, for example, had a keen interest in popular culture: Dong was also deeply interested in Yuan qu .it tlb, a colloquial and liberal poetic offshoot of Song ci ~il] developed with Yuan drama under the Mongols, which Dong used frequently to express his darkly veiled private feelings .... In relation to this polarization of taste, sometimes arbitrarily labeled as ya $(refined, scholarly taste) and su 1~ (vulgar, popular taste), it should be noted that Dong Qichang was a recognized collector of Yuan dramas and san qu 1)t tlb as well as Ming colloquial short stories and novels. He has been credited in some modern studies as possibly one of the earliest discoverers of the great novelJin Ping Mei (Golden Vase Plum). Among his friends were some of the leading masters of popular literature, including Tang Xianzu )~ ~ ~ll (r550-r6r6) and Liang Chenyu *~.\V, (ca. 1520-ca. 1580 ).... That he was the undisputed arbiter of scholarly taste in the fine arts and at the same time the silent champion of popular taste in literature displays a unique sophistication and insight 97 into the convergence of these two traditions in the seventeenth century.


Interactions between high and low in late Ming society were lively and made it likely that developments in popular culture affected contemporary elite culture, including calligraphy. In addition to this change in attitude toward the ancient canons, what Harold Bloom has called the "anxiety of influence" was responsible in part for 98 the rise of"inventive copying.'' Andrew Plaks, in his discussion oflate Ming novels, points out that "self-conscious artists of the period [laboredJ under a strong pressure to restate their own position vis~a~vis a cultural heritage that 99 had already become too massive for any individual to wholly master." Late Ming calligraphers confronted the same problem. The tradition was both a rich heritage and a source of anxiety. In the contradictions and tensions in Dong Qichang' s writings, we sense an anxiety created by feelings ofloyalty to tradition and a need for creative innovation. Dong diligently studied ancient

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masterworks; he also argued that a good calligrapher should "depart from" these masterworks. Wang Shimin (1592-168o), a young friend ofDong's and an important painter, vividly characterized Dong's struggles with the ancient masters: "[Dong] fought a bloody battle with all the famous masters of the Tang, Song, and Yuan; he carved their flesh, plucked out their marrow, and 100 combined their best qualities in a great synthesis.'' Although Wang was commenting on Dong's painting, he might equally well have been speaking of Dong's calligraphy. Ironically, the more an aspiring artist admired his precursors, the more anx~ ious he might become, particularly in an era that favored searching for one's true self over carrying on the tradition. Wang Duo-who was as ambitious as Dong-was equally anxious about living in the shadow of the ancient masters. Wang Duo also wrote in a colophon on a handscroll in cursive~ script calligra~ phy he executed in 1646: "I have studied calligraphy for forty years and pretty much understand its method and sources. There must be people who deeply love my calligraphy. Those who do not understand it think my calligraphy derives from the wild calligraphy of Gaoxian [gth century], Zhang Xu, and Huaisu. I refuse [to accept this judgment]! I refuse! I refuse!"(Wu buju! Buju! Buju!) .101 In Wang Duo's powerful repetitions of "I refuse," we hear the voice 102 of protest and rebellion. What he resolutely repudiated was not simply what he considered an unfair judgment of his calligraphy but the idea that later artists must follow the styles of earlier masters. By refusing to be viewed as a follower of the three Tang masters of cursive~ script calligraphy, Wang Duo implied that he had surpassed the Tang masters and had reached the great heights ofEasternJin calligraphy. Although Wang Duo never dared openly challenge the authority of Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi and con~ tinued to claim that he admired them and his calligraphy derived from 03 theirs/ his manipulative copying surreptitiously transformed, if not reversed, his relationship with them, confirming that he, not they, was central to his creativity. This examination of Dong Qichang and Wang Duo demonstrates that al~ though late Ming calligraphers continued to admire the accomplishments of the ancient masters, they no longer regarded them as icons to be worshiped with awe and veneration. The copying of ancient masterworks continued to be fundamental for the learning of calligraphy, but late Ming calligraphers also took delight in parodying the ancient masters. The absolute authority of an~ cient canons was declining. The consequence of this decline was twofold. First, it gave calligraphers more creative space: they now dared to deviate from, even rebel against, long~ accepted canons. They were no longer passive recipients of a great tradition but its creative interpreters. Second, the decline of the classical canons meant that greater attention was paid by some to a calligraphic creation quite differ~

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ent from the "elite" tradition established by the Two Wangs, although generally speaking. calligraphy remained in the hands of the elite. In the early Qing, as we shall see, calligraphy engraved by anonymous artisans on ancient steles became a major source of artistic inspiration. SEAL CARVING AND CALLIGRAPHY

Seal Carving as a Literati Art

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Fig. 1.27 Zhao Yiguang (1559-1625), Colophon in

Cursive Seal Script to Zhang ]izhi's Copy of the "Diamond S11tra." Dared 1620. Album of 128leaves and 54 leaves of colophons, ink on paper, each 29.1 x 13.4 em. Art Museum, Princeton University. Bequest of John B. Elliott, Class of 1951. Photograph by Bruce M . White. 1998-52.

Two literati artists besides Dong Qichang are on Xu Shipu's list: Zhao Yiguang and He Zhen. Both names were closely associated with the art of seal carving, which in the Wanli era became an important form of literati art. Xu Shipu places He's seal carving at the end of his list, probably in part because of He Zhen's non-elite background. Nevertheless, Xu's list marks the first time in Chinese art history that seal carving was ranked with other important cultural and artistic achievements. It was in the late Ming, centuries after calligraphy and painting had already become an indispensable part ofliterati life, that seal carving became a flourishing form of artistic expression for Chinese literati. This "new" art had an important impact on calligraphy. Zhao Yiguang was a native of Suzhou. Living in retirement on Cold Mountain in Suzhou, he became a legend in his own lifetime. His garden, 104 dress, deportment, talk: all were admired by his contemporaries. A prominent paleographer and idiosyncratic calligrapher, Zhao Yiguang's creative "cursive seal calligraphy,'' which applied cursive methods of writing to seal script, epitomized the two major avenues of change in late Ming calligraphy (Fig. 1.27 ). On the one hand, the seal script elements of this unusual script reflected an increasing interest in ancient forms of writing as a source of novelty and surprise, an interest that was transformed in the early Qing into scholarly investigation of the antique. On the other hand, the unprecedented application of cursive techniques to this ancient script reflected the Ming period's iconoclastic search for stylistic originality. Unconventional, even eccentric, cursive seal script exemplified the stylistic freedom oflate Ming artists as well as imaginative use of the past for unusual forms and ideas in fashionable pur105 suit of innovation. Zhao was also a seal carver and influential critic of seals. He had a profound impact on ZhuJian (zi Xiuneng; d. 1624), the most ac106 complished seal carver after He Zhen. Zhao Yiguang's hometown ofSuzhou was the cradle ofliterati seal carving in the late Ming. Wen Peng (1498-1573), son of the famous painter Wen Zhengming. is credited as being the founding father of the Ming literati sealcarving movement. Wen Peng' s major contribution to the rise of this movement was his reintroduction of soft stones as the medium of choice. The use of such stones in seal carving can be traced to much earlier times; some schol-

so • Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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ars place the beginning ofliterati seal carving as early as the Northern Song, 107 arguing that Mi Fu may have engaged in it. The Yuan dynasty painter Wang Mian (d. 1359) was one of earliest of the literati to carve seals in soft 108 stone, according to some textual evidence. Recent archaeological excavations have confirmed that, even before Wen Peng, soft stone was already in use for 109 seal carving. It seems to be the case, however, that the use of soft stone for seal carving was not common until Wen Peng found a large quantity of the material in Nanjing and began to carve it into seals. The establishment of soft stone as the primary medium for seal carving was revolutionary in the history of Chinese seal carving. As James Watt has pointed out, "The necessary condition for the birth of this new art form, or rather the transformation of an ancient artistic craft into a medium ofliterati expression, was the use of soft 110 stones (or soapstone) for seal carving.'' Thereafter, the metal, jade, and ivory previously used by seal carvers were rapidly replaced by soft stone. The W anli reign witnessed the widespread popularity of soft stone as a material for seal carving. According to contemporary records, the rapid formation of a market for seals caused the price of the most desirable stones to ex111 ceed that ofjade. A number oflate Ming and early Qing scholars and artists lavishly praised the beauty of seal stones from Qingtian in Zhejiang and 112 Shoushan in Fujian. It is probably no accident that this fascination with stone took place at a time when rocks in and of themselves had became cult 113 objects and cultural icons, the end result of a thousand-year literati tradition of collecting and appreciating rocks. Enhancing the beauty of the stone itsel£ literati seal carving was really a miniature art that integrated calligraphy, sculpture, painting, and literature in one artistic whole. These lovely stones were engraved with poetic phrases, moral admonitions, and literary names. Sometimes a miniature sculpture topped the stone, and figures, landscapes, flowers, and birds, or inscriptions (in the form of a poem, short essay, or phrase) might be carved on the sides. Several distinctive features of seals increased their popularity with the literati. First, there was their size and durability. Their small size made them easily carried personal articles, a constant presence on a scholar's person. Their durability not only allowed them to travel without damage but also allowed repeated touching. They could be held, stroked like a worry stone, or played 114 . h 10r I: . . . . Wlt amusement (b awan ), perm1ttmg a constant an d more mtlmate physical contact between person and object than was possible with large or fragile objects like musical instruments or calligraphy. Second, compared with calligraphy and painting, the physicality of its stone-the effort needed to carve it and the sensuous contact of stone and skin in the fingering and using of seals-meant that seal carving promoted more literati involvement in their making. To carve a seal, one must take firm hold of a three-dimensional stone in one hand and a chisel in the other; the gouging, scraping, gritty sound of the

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• 51

iron chisel against the stone aurally reinforces the physicality of" making." Li Liufang (1575-1629), a friend of Dong Qichang's and Zhao Yiguang's, once recalled how as a youth his interest in the art had been provoked by the sound of carving when he and a group of friends were making seals and drinking wme rogerher. 115 Late Ming literati seem to have become increasingly interested in object making. Shen Ye even compared seal carving to Xi Kang's (224-63) penchant 116 for forging metal and to Ruan Fu's (fl. 317-29) delight in waxing shoes. Li Liufang was also a bamboo carver. The Hangzhou literatus Zhang Dai's (1597 - 168o?) writings show great familiarity with the refined crafts of Suzhou 117 artisans. No wonder Xu Shipu listed the seals of He Zhen alongside the pottery ofShi Dabin, the metallurgy of Master Gu, the ink-sticks of Fang Yulu and ChengJunfang, and the jades ofLu Zigang. All these objects have a pronounced three-dimensionality, whose making involves a very physical process, and all of them can be handled and played with. Seal carving, an art of small but precious objects closely associated with literature, calligraphy, and sculpture, became a new obsession with literati in the late Ming, who found a 118 mental refuge in this absorbing activity. This flourishing of interest in seal carving among literati was accompanied by a growing interest in collecting ancient seals. Made in various shapes, from such assorted materials as gold, bronze, jade, and agate, ancient seals were treated as precious objects by late Ming literati (Fig. 1.28). Wang Hongzhuan (1622- 1702), for instance, a collector living in Huayin, Shaanxi, recalled the joyful experience of seeing his teacher Guo Zongchang (d. 1652), a famous scholar of ancient metal and stone objects, display his ancient seals. He wrote: 0

Fig. 1.28 Official seal with knob in the shape of a tortoise. Six Dynasties (220 589) . Gilt bronze, height s.z em. Ex-collection of Dr. Paul Singer. After Kuo, Word as

Im age, p. 65.

Mr. Guo, a scholar, loved to collect ancient seals. After collecting chem for more chan fifty years, he owned chirceen hundred of chem. There were dozens boch of jade and silver in his collection. The characters on chese seals were archaic and vigorous, plain and elegant .. . . Each cime he showed chem co me, (che richness of cheir colors,] green and red, looked like brocade, and cheir animal knobs looked like a herd of curcles. lc was a marve1ous s1g hc. 119 0

Guo's passion for collecting antique seals was probably a reflection of his desire to demonstrate his cultural sophistication in a period in which "the 'enjoyment of antiquities' shifted its role from being a personal predilection, one of a number of potential types of privileged cultural activity, to being an essential form of consumption, which was central to the maintenance of elite status. In the late Ming and the Qing periods it was no longer acceptable not to be a

. . .,,J2o 'I over o f antiqUity. Wen Peng, the founding father of literati seal carving, died at the very beginning of the Wanli reign. His friend and disciple He Zhen, however, propelled seal carving to a new level of sophistication. Exploiting to the full the

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Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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intrinsic nature of soft stone, He applied his chisel in a more spontaneous manner, leaving gashes and cuts that allowed viewers to trace the process of carving and thus appreciate his great skill as a carver. The natural breaks and cracks created by this more spontaneous execution added to his seals a flavor of antiquity. He developed, moreover, a new method of carving inscriptions on the sides of seals (Fig. 1.29). Treating the flat sides of the stone almost as if they were paper or satin and his chisel like an iron brush, he used the chisel edge to imitate a pointed brush tip and created a style of script that looked like brushwork. Ever since, side inscriptions have become an integral component of seal carving. The literary content, calligraphic flavor, and dedicatory function of side inscriptions (like the inscriptions and colophons on calligraphies 121 and paintings) made seal carving even more attractive to late Ming literati. The W anli era also saw another important development in seal carving: the compilation and publication of books of seals of individual carvers. Seal books 122 dated from as early as the Tang dynasty, but those published before th late Ming were mainly catalogues of ancient seals. In the late Ming seal carvers started to use seal books to preserve and publicize their art, a pivotal development in the history ofliterati seal carving. Previously, a seal carver's worksthat is to say, his seals-were scattered in different hands. Impressions of his seals were found only on pieces of calligraphy and paintings by other artists and so were circulated and viewed only in conjunction with these artworks. Ironically, seal impressions on a calligraphy or painting did nothing to promote recognition of the carver of the seal because there was no indication of his identity. In this context, the carver was an anonymous artist: no matter how excellent the carving, the carver derived little if any credit from impressions of his seals. The situation changed with the publication of seal books. Impressions of seals preserved in seal books had a different function from impressions of the same seals on calligraphies and paintings. They were no longer "certifications" of a work; instead, they were the works themselves, by a particular artist whose name is known. Seal books bear the names of their authorsZhu ]ian's seal book is entitled the Seal Book of Xiuneng [Zhu ]ian] (Xiuneng yinpu )-and individual carvers' seal books helped the public to identify the personal styles of carvers. In addition, the booming popularity of such books launched the new field of seal criticism. Without seal books, critics would have been unable to gather together a seal carver's works for thorough study and criticism. Seal carvers could even invite critics and renowned literati to write prefaces to their seal books, which further promoted their distribution and sale. Many famous literati and leading scholars, including Dong Qichang, Chen Jiru (rssB-1639), Zhao Yiguang, and Qian Qianyi (r582-r664), enthusiastically promoted seal carving by writing prefaces or colophons to seal 123 books.

Fig. 1.2.9 Impression and side inscription of a seal carved by He Zhen (1535-1604). After Fang Quji,

Ming-Qing zhuanke liupai yinpu, p. 5·

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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• 53

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(fl. early 17th c. ), Yinshi, 1.1. 1623. S eal book. H arvardY enching Library.

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The Wanli, Tianqi, and Chongzhen reigns saw a rapid increase in the number and variety of seal books published. A seal book entitled A History Carved on Seals (Yin shi), published in 1623 by He Tong, contains impressions of seals with the names of celebrated historical figures from a chronological succession of dynasties, including statesmen, scholars, and artists; since a short biographical note was printed under each seal impression, this seal book became in effect a short textbook of Chinese history (Fig. 1.30 ). Many seals of this period were engraved with political and literary expressions, which seal books have preserved for posterity. Zhang Hao, the son of a senior official, published his seal book entitled Seal Book from the Xueshantang Studio (Xueshan124 tang yinpu) in 1633, when the Ming dynasty was in crisis. In his preface, he openly stated that his seals expressed his criticism of and frustration with contemporary politics. Two seal impressions from his book read: (a) I store one sheng of tears lamenting the affairs of this world.


(b) One should view one's country as one's family, exterminating evils and wiping our humiliations; one should not set up cliques or recruit people of one's own kind. (Fig. I.JI)

These texts are almost political slogans; indeed, the second is a direct expression of disappointment in the partisanship oflate Ming politics. Although the significance of the introduction of soft stone for the development of literati seal carving is fully recognized, other social and cultural factors affecting this new art should not be overlooked. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries witnessed economic prosperity and a flourishing cultural

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Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan 's Early Life

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Fig. 1.31 Two seal impressions from Zhang Hao (fl. first half 17th c.) ed., Xueshantang yinpu: (left) "I store a sheng of tears lamenting the affairs of this world," 2.7; (right) "One should view his country as his family, exterminating evils and wiping out humiliations; one should not set up cliques to recruit people of one's own kind," 5.70. Dated 1633. Harvard-Yenching Library.

life, especially for those living in the Jiangnan region. The spread of education among_ better-off families increased the literacy of the population. Many of those who were not fortunate enough to obtain government jobs through the civil service examinations became calligraphers and painters, and increasing demand fueled the formation of an active seal market. A critical feature of this expanding market was the recognition of its artists. Dorothy Ko points out that "visibility was the essence of the urban print cul126 ture and of the monetary economy that sustained it." Seal books increased the visibility of seal carvers in a period when artists and artisans were becom127 ing keenly aware of the importance of name recognition in art making. Indeed, the new prestige and popularity of seal carving as an art-reflected in the recognition accorded to seal carvers, in the writing of prefaces for and publication of seal books, in the growth of critical commentary on the quality of seal carving, and in the addition of side inscriptions recording the artist's identity with dates and signatures-were directly tied to the fact that literati as well as artisans now engaged in carving seals. During the long period in which

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seals were carved largely by artisans, no need was felt to promote the artists or the art. Fame was not accepted as a normal component of an artisan's social status, and impressions of artisans' seals testify mutely to the unacknowledged artistry of the anonymous. Only with the advent ofliterati seal carving was there a sudden interest in publicity, publication, and reputation. The spread of seal carving owed much to the country's expanding economy. In the mid-Ming, networks for exchanging goods grew in scale, and there was a marked increase in economic activity. Both commercial activity and letter writing promoted the use of seals. Seals had long been used to authenticate 128 documents and legitimize contractual agreements. Pawnshops and their customers, for instance, probably used seals when executing a written agreement. Seals were frequently used in late Ming commercial publishing. Books, especially popular ones, often bore publishers' seals that read "Original printing block owned by the publisher" or gave the publisher's studio name. These seals were usually imprinted on the tide page to assure buyers and readers that the books they were buying or reading were authentic versions printed by respected publishers. The aesthetic quality of seals of this kind varied, but some were artfully carved, an indication that publishers employed accomplished seal carvers. Some seals imprinted by publishers had pictorial images that served as publisher trademarks. It is no coincidence that the majority of the best seal carvers in the late Ming came from Suzhou and its surrounding area, from Nanjing and from Anhui, especially the area ofShexian, for it is in these regions that publishing, both commercial and private, was most active. Many distinguished late Ming and early Qing seal carvers, for instance, were from Shexian, including such leading figures as He Zhen, Zhu ]ian, and Cheng Sui (1607-92). At the same time, Shexian was also the most important area for ink-stick production and woodblock printing, two arts that often required refined engraving skills. Commercial activity increased travel, and travelled to more letter writing, either among far-flung agents who needed to maintain contact with their bases of operation, or among family members and friends who were separated. This 129 in turn led to an increase in the use of seals to authenticate communications. 130 Many late Ming letters, including private ones, bear seal impressions. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the practice spread of affixing seals on private letters. The Harvard-Yenching Library houses more than 700 letters, dating for the most part from the 1550s to 1590s, written to Fang Yuansu (1542-r6o8), a member of the gentry and a merchant; many bear the seals of their writers, testifying to the use of seals on an everyday basis in ordinary cor131 respon dence. By the late sixteenth century, seal carving was emerging as a full-blown art. When Matteo Ricci arrived in China during the W anli reign, he was impressed by the wide use of seals in everyday and artistic life:

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The use of seals for stamping objects is well known and very common here. Not only letters are safeguarded with a seal but they are affixed to private writings, poems, pictures, and many other things .... As a rule, they are made of some more or less precious material, such as rare wood, marble, ivory, brass, crystal or red coral, or perhaps of some semiprecious stone. Many skilled workmen are engaged in making these seals and they are regarded as artists rather than as artisans, because the characters engraved upon the seals are very old forms, not in common use, and high esteem is al132 ways accorded to those who display any knowledge of antiquity.

The spread of seal carving, however, may have caused anxiety among the elite, who felt that culture was their own domain. In his preface to th~ seal book of Jin Guangxian (1543-after 1618), Zou Diguang (jinshi 1574) wrote: Today, those who have failed the examinations and do not know how to farm or trade cannot make a living: they cannot teach music or poetry, cannot paint, and do not even have skill in divination and fortune-telling. Of these, nine out of ten choose seal carving as a career. Today, of those unable to read ancient calligraphy or inscriptions on Zhou and Qin bronzes or on objects like the tianlu and bixie [mythical animals], nine out of ten, when thinking to gain a reputation for elegance or erudition, pretend to be lovers of seals.... It has come to the point where those who cannot read even a single character pick up ivory, jade, or metal and cut it at will, making the material useless, deserving only to be thrown away. Moreover, the equally illiterate collect these useless works and put them in boxes covered with brocade and wrapped in colored silk, treating them as heavenly treasures. Oh! How . . . . . ,133 1rntatmg 1t 1s.

Zou Diguang' s complaints may exaggerate the popularity of seal carving, but his comments make it clear that carving seals was a popular activity across a wide social spectrum, not least among those who were anxious to convey an impression of elite status by owning seals. Carving and using seals had ceased to be a prerogative of artists and the upper echelon of the traditional elite.

The Impact of Seal Carving on Calligraphy Generally speaking, seal carving, like calligraphy, is an art based on writing, since the overwhelming majority of seals bear texts; only a tiny percentage are pictorial. Literati seal carving was thus inextricably linked to the art of calligraphy. The rise ofliterati seal carving in the late Ming was to have a profound impact on the calligraphy of that period and the succeeding Qing dynasty, leading to greatly increased interest in ancient scripts, in unusual character forms, and in the pursuit of archaic flavor. Seal script had long since become archaic and had been used only rarely in everyday writing since the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220 ). Since the late Spring and Autumn (770-476 B.c.) and early Warring States periods, however, seal carving had always intimately related to seal script, since the legends

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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• 57

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Fig. 1.32 Impression of a Warring States period (403 -221 s.c.) seal. M easurements unavailable. After Feng Zuomin et al.,Jinshi

zhuanke quanji, p. 7J.

of most seals were cast or carved in seal script (Fig. 1.32). Late Ming literati seal carving was no exception. The preference for seal script resembles the attitude of some prestigious Western universities that continue to print their diplomas in Latin. Originally no more than ordinary writing, seal script, once dropped from common use, acquired by its very obscurity an aura of antiquity that lent authority to seals, which were often symbols of political, economic, and cultural power. To carve and read seals, Ming literati had to study seal script. This could be time-consuming because there were many varieties of seal script. China had nominally been unified during the last half of the Zhou dynasty, but its largely independent states developed individual cultural characteristics, such as a large number of seal script variants, which made seal script the most stylistically diverse of the five major types of Chinese script that eventually developed. For a literatus to learn even one style of seal script took almost as much effort as learning a new form of writing. In the late Ming, carving and reading seals became an important means of access to ancient scripts, even though it was a limited access; as Zhou Lianggong, the most important collector and critic of seal carving in the seventeenth century, put it, "Study of the six ancient scripts is almost dead; only one has been preserved in seal carving.'' 134 Seal carving, and a growing interest in ancient rubbings, drew attention to ancient scripts, and more calligraphers began to practice seal-script and clericalscript calligraphy. Guo Zongchang, a native ofShaanxi, was famous both as a collector of seals and as a collector of ancient rubbings. According to an account by Wang Hongzhuan, Guo devoted himself to studying the clerical-script cal135 ligraphy ofHan steles. In the r63os, Wang Duo took the beautiful and elegant style of the Memorial Stele of Cao Quan (Cao Quan hei) of the Han, excavated in the early W anli period, as a model for his own calligraphy in clerical script. 136 As interest in ancient scripts spread, a new game emerged: leading calligraphers in the late Ming like Wang Duo, Ni Yuanlu, Huang Daozhou, and


Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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Chen Hongshou (1598-1652) took delight in using variant archaic character forms in their calligraphy. These variants had graphic forms different from those in common use. Such variant forms emerged because over the course of Chinese history, there evolved a number of different script forms, later known as bronze script, Stone Drum script, clerical script, and regular script. As time passed, one script replaced another as the everyday form of writing. At times, especially during periods when national disunity led to the formation of competing states with divergent cultures, different character forms were used in different regions. For this reason, what eventually came to be the standard form of a character might have several variants, perhaps even more than a dozen. Variant characters in old scripts were often preserved in dictionaries long after they ceased to be used. In A Dictionary of Seal Script and Guwen Script Compiled in Rhyming Order Uizhuan guwen yunhai) by Du Conggu (fl. m9) of the Northern Song, guo ~ (meaning "state," "country," "capital city") has eight different written forms (Fig. 1.33). Some archaic forms in dictionaries are easy to read because they are similar to the standard (or common) form. Others differ markedly and are extremely difficult to decipher. For example, one finds in the Expanded Edition of the Dictionary of Seal Script Arranged by Rhymes (Zengguang zhongding zhuanyun), compiled in the Yuan dynasty, that most of the many forms of the character feng lit (wind) are similar to the common one, but one variant is quite different (Fig. 1.34).

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The literati used unusual ancient character forms playfully or to show off their erudition, a practice long predating the late Ming and early Qing. In the Six Dynasties (266-589), many variant character forms were invented and used in everyday writing either to simplify characters (thereby making them easier to write) or to satisfy aesthetic reasons. This was also an era of political division in China, and many of the character forms invented at this time were the result of cultural isolation. 137 Yan Zhitui (531-after 590 ), a scholar of the Northern Qi (550-77), complained of the confusion in communications 138 caused by this variation. Even after the country had been reunified, the use of unusual character forms never entirely ceased. One aspect of the literati use of these forms, at least in the Ming, is nicely captured in an anecdote about a Ming literatus: "Jiang Hui Uinshi 1517] was a native ofRenhe. He obtained his jinshi degree in the Zhengde reign [1506-21]. When he wrote, ... he inserted ancient and unusual characters at random in his writing, puzzling readers so that they were scarcely able to finish a sentence; whereupon, blushing and 139 speechless with shame, they gave up." Playing with unusual character forms was a literati tradition already many centuries old, but the intense and wide~ spread fascination with unusual characters among calligraphers, seal carvers, and even publishers in the late Ming suggests that it was in this period that the game reached its peak. Although this playing resulted in part from the late Ming obsession with the unusual, in a cultural climate in which novelty was encouraged, it resulted in the main from the popularity of seal carving among the literati. Seals in the late Ming tend to be stranger and more bizarre than in other periods because artists not infrequently chose to use unfamiliar character forms. In the Seal Book from the Ten Bamboo Studio (Shizhuzhai yinpu) by Hu Zhengyan (1584-1674), a famous publisher and seal carver of the late Ming and early Qing, for instance, some seals are almost impossible to decipher. In the seal impressions jixu ~it (gathering void) and sizai .~{;£..(think of being), for example, the characters differ so greatly from the common forms as to be scarcely recognizable (Fig. 1.35). The same is true of many late Ming seals, as, for example, in the Lianzi seals of the famous painter Chen Hongshou (Fig. 1.36), in which several different character forms were used for the same text, Lianzi it q-, or "lotus seed," Chen's sobriquet. The most obscure form is the one shown on the right, reading simply lian; the form is taken from the Han~ jian (Fig. 1.37), a dictionary of ancient script compiled by Guo Zhongshu (ca. 910-77). Seal impressions in seal books published in the late Ming are often accom~ panied by clerical script or regular script transcriptions, as for instance, in the seal books of Zhang Hao and Hu Zhengyan. Such books served two purposes. First, they instructed the reader in ancient scripts. Second, they served as cribs. When seal carvers selected difficult variants for their seals, they knew it

6o • Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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(to left ) Fig. 1.35 Hu Zhengyan (1584- 1674), two seal impressions:

(left) jixu 1f, JN; (right) sizai .~{i. . Dated ca. 1646. After Hu Zhengyan,

Shizhuzhai yinpu.

(above) Fig. 1.36 Three seals of Chen Hongshou (1598-1652) reading "Lianzi" j{ -=j-, Chen Hongshou's sobriquet. (to right) Fig. 1.37 Guo Zhongshu (ca. 910-977 ), page from Hanjian (1703), I.Ja. Harvard-Yenching Library.




_1_ (~



j;~~ Jt. .s:~ ;JI.ll_~


.R it

~ *"' · ~ "'"' ~~ tt. ~ 7~ ~ftf~>t ~ ~ f5!bltj Jill ' ;tt,~l! ~~




'I'"' ®® )))* m © ~


(above) Fig. 1.43 (left) Unusual form of rhe character ling :I by Cai Yuqing (1616-98). (right) Unusual form of ling :if in Yupian.


enced by Qi culture during the Warring States period. Originally, it appears to have been a form of seal script whose characters were in many cases related to those appearing in the Hanjian, but a great number of guwen characters were changed to regular script form and found their way into regular script dictionaries. In any case, such guwen characters recorded in non-sealscript dictionaries were one of the major sources of unusual character forms [e]



in the game under discussion. Although Ni Yuanlu and Huang Daozhou were interested in this game, they were fairly restrained in their use of strange characters. It was Wang Duo who pushed the game of playing with strange characters to the extreme. Not only did Wang Duo use such forms more often, but he also delighted in choosing forms that were particularly strange. Long itt (dragon), for instance, he wrote as [e), chun *(spring) as [f], andgu -5 (ancient) as [g), aguwen version of this character recorded in Xu Shen's The Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing (Fig. 1.44). In what I judge to be a close copy of a work

Fig. 1.44 Wang Duo (1593-1652), Unusual form of the character gu -5 in Boxiang tie. Collection unknown. After Wang Duo shufa xuan. o. 121.


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Fig. 1-45 Wang Duo (1593-1652), arrrib. Copy oJYan Zhenqing's "Baguam;hai huiji." Dared 1646. After Wang]uesi shu "Baguanzhai huiji" (jenkai hece).

by Wang Duo in clerical and regular scripts whose text is an essay by Y an Zhenqing. there is intensive use of bizarre variants, so much so that the work 143 is extremely difficult to read (Fig. 1.45). A few characters in the regular script section can serve as examples. The characters tianzi k -=f- (Son of Heaven) are written as [h], which bear little resemblance to the standard forms, and the character guo ~ (state) is written in several different forms [i]. Some characters diverge so dramatically from their standard forms that they are undecipherable except to those who are practiced in the game of reading and writing such variants. Snobbery, of course, was at the heart of this game, which served, in effect, as an entrance examination to the social milieu of the knowledgeable elite. It excluded the ignorant yet at the same time excited their envy and admiration. Thus, perversely, some of the pleasure of this game for its players came from the reactions of those considered unworthy of playing it. Much of the pleasure of membership in an exclusive elite is the reaction, or supposed reaction, of the excluded. This feeling of exclusivity is part of what 144 Gombrich means by the "watch me" aspect of the "logic of Vanity Fair.'' Another aspect of the "logic of Vanity Fair" is the acceleration that often takes place in the competitive search for novelty, as evidenced in the more radical use of unusual character forms by Wang Duo, compared with his contemporaries like Huang Daozhou. Wang Duo, like other late Ming literati, stressed the quality of qi in art, but his approach was more active, visible, and dramatic:




*~ ~

til ~ [i]



Strangeness (qi) is simply the true essence completely brought forth. (Bringing it forth] is like excavating an artifact from an ancient tomb that has never been seen or heard ofbefore: [the object) is strange, odd, and shocking-truly bizarre. But what one does not realize is that this ancient artifact has always been in the tomb. Other

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people have dug two to three feet, or six to seven feet, and then have stopped. Today I have dug deeper and drawn it out to show to people. I did not [need to] dig elsewhere 145 to find the strange. Wang Duo's advocacy of the search for qi explains his indulgence in strange character variants and the radical nature of his cursive calligraphy. Obviously, his idea of bringing the true essence forth completely derived from Li Zhi's theory of the childlike mind, which holds that human nature (essence) is originally pure. But Li Zhi believed that this childlike nature was naturally expressed as one cleared away the incrustations of habits of thinking and of rigid, unnatural beliefs and attitudes. Given a neutral environment, qi will naturally flower and express itself. Wang Duo, like Tang Xianzu, believed that qi was the manifestation of one's intrinsic value. But Wang stressed the constant, painstaking effort needed to reveal qi: qi, even if inherent in one's nature, has to be dug out. In pursuit of strangeness, Wang Duo dug deeper than others. By arguing that one's true essence, when completely revealed, is "strange, odd, and shocking-truly bizarre," Wang Duo legitimized his use of particularly deviant character forms as well as the strangeness of his cursive writings and calligraphic collages. Wang Duo expressly stated that he had expended great effort in his search for qi, an effort exemplifying the active, at times fanatical pursuit of the unusual that led in the end to an industry of the bizarre. This high level of effort was visible, potentially ostentatious: it was almost as if unusual things discovered without effort were without value. Li Zhi' s pursuit of qi was an internal tapping of personal depth, invisible and quiet. Wang Duo converted this search into an industrious, activity-ridden plundering of the past for specific artifacts whose discovery became evidence that he possessed qi (or, at least, evidence of successful research). Such an approach, by its visibility, made games like the employing of unusual character forms ever more popular and susceptible to fashionable imitation. Fashionable imitation was made easier by handy aids. As the game of unusual character forms spread, there was an increasing demand for dictionaries cataloguing rare characters. A famous dictionary of this type was the Dictionary of Characters (Zihui), compiled around r6r5 by Mei Yingzuo (fl. 1570-r6rs). In the first chapter of his dictionary, Mei juxtaposed ancient and current character forms. As he explained, "Those who are knowledgeable and elegant enjoy antiquity, and those who are interested in accomplishment and fame like to follow the fashion. The ancient and current forms of characters are interchangeable; people may select from them at will" (Fig. I-46). Mei's comment may not explain the increased use of unusual character forms in calligraphy, but it does demonstrate that publishing enterprises, especially those that compiled and published dictionaries, actively promoted this new game, and that


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(left) Fig. 1.46 Mei Yingzuo (fl. 1570-161S), Zihui, 1.13a. Lace Ming edition. Formerly collection of Wang Fangyu. (right) Fig. 1.47 Xue Shanggong (fl. ca. 1131-62), Lidai zhongding kuanzhi fa tie. Lace Ming edition published by Zhu Mouyin (ca. 1633), reprinted in 1935 by the Yu Family in Haicheng.

the game had a degree of popularity. Judging from its contents, the Dictionary of Characters was intended for a broad audience, including commoners who commanded only ordinary reading and writing skills. Readers could quickly pick out variants of characters they had already used in writing simply by 146 looking them up and replacing them with selections from the dictionary. Such an exercise was far from equaling the etymological research and knowledge of serious literati players, nor, of course, did such dictionaries meet the needs of sophisticated players obsessed with the game. To enable the sophisticated literatus to study ancient scripts and equip him with advanced knowledge for strange-character gamesmanship, a sizable number of books on ancient scripts were published or reprinted, a number of them works of some considerable antiquity. Zhu Mouwei's (d. 1624) Guwen Script and Strange Characters (Guwen qizi), published in the late Wanli reign, was intended for an audience different from that served by the Dictionary of Characters. This twelvechapter work not only listed strange characters, some of them distinctly oddlooking, but also gave their paleographical and etymological roots. Among other late Ming dictionaries and publications, two were particularly influential. One was Inscriptions on Bronze Ritual Vessels from Successive Dynasties (Lidai zhongding yiqi kuanzhi fa tie), a catalogue of inscriptions on ancient objects compiled by the Southern Song scholar Xue Shanggong (fl. II31-62) that was reprinted in the Chongzhen reign by Zhu Mouwei's cousin Zhu Mouyin (ca. 1581-1628) (Fig. 1.47). The other was Zhao Yiguang's paleographical work A Long Annotation to "The Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing,"

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Fig. 1.48 Impression of a Han seal. After Luo Fuyi, ed., Qin Han -Nanbeichao guanyin zhengcun,

p. 64.


mentioned above; as we have seen, Zhao's paleographical studies were hailed 147 by Xu Shipu as one of the cultural achievements of the Wanli reign. With these advanced dictionaries, well-educated literati could now play the game in an even more elegant and cultivated manner. This playing with unusual character forms precisely suited the aesthetic trend in the late Ming. In an essay entitled "Elegant Activities of the Literati" ("Yunchuang yashi"), Shi Qing (fl. r6sos-6os) lists "carrying wine to visit friends to discuss strange characters"(zaijiu wenqizi) as one of the favorite cul148 tural activities of the elite. Thus, in the game of deciphering unusual characters, late Ming intellectual curiosity was intertwined with late Ming cultural life. Relaxing and drinking wine, the literati could view examples of calligraphy and discuss the paleographical and etymological origins of strange characters. Shi' s essay makes it clear that this activity was not merely scholastic; it was also entertaining. Historians of calligraphy have overlooked the recreational aspect oflate Ming calligraphy, with its stresses on the tricky, the puzzling, the dramatic, and the amusing. This aspect was probably encouraged by the spread of urban culture and its emphasis on values other than the strictly intellectual. Difficult-to-read characters corresponded to the word games, riddles among them, that were included in such popular publications as household encyclopedias and collections of dramas, much as crossword puzzles and other word games are included in modern magazines and newspapers. The obsession with strange characters may also have arisen in response to increasing literacy, which allowed those of relatively low social status to imitate the elite; by making reading more difficult, well-educated literati were able to distinguish themselves from their emulators. Cultivating obscure character forms 149 helped the literati preserve their distinctive social status. Seal carving made one other significant contribution to calligraphy. Calligraphers in the late Ming, attracted by antique seals with their signs of wear and damage, attempt to impart an antique flavor to calligraphy by giving it a ravaged appearance. Ever since the Yuan dynasty, seals from the Qin and Han periods-dating well over a thousand years earlier-had been viewed as important models of seal carving. For a number of seal carvers and critics in the Wanli reign, Qin-Han seals were canonized as the primary models to be followed. Many of these seals had suffered the depredations of time (Fig. 1.48) . By the late Ming, such signs of decay had become a desirable aesthetic quality that seal carvers attempted to reproduce in their works. The seal critic Shen Y e relates some amusing anecdotes: "When Wen Guobo [Wen Peng] made a seal, upon completing the carving, he put the seal in a box and asked a young attendant to shake it all day. When Chen T aixue carved a seal, he threw the stone seal on the ground several times until parts of it were broken, giving it an fl avor. ulSO . annque

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Fig. 1.49 A seal impression reading "Chen Sheng zhi yin" from He Tong's Yinshi, 1.5. Dared 1623. Harvard- Yenching Library.

He Zhen, as discussed above, rook advantage of the natural break and cracks in the stone as he was working to fracture the strokes of his characters. He's influence was profound. Take, for example, a seal impression reading "Chen Sheng" from He Tong's A History Carved on Seals (Fig. 1.49). In this seal, the carver has deliberately severed strokes and marred the areas between strokes. This damage contributes an antique feel to the work. James Watt has argued that, to a large extent, the sensibility that encouraged artificial damage in seal carving resulted from the intensive connoisseurship of calligraphy rubbings during the late Ming. "A large proportion oflate Ming literature on connoisseurship was devoted to rubbings, and the meticulous attention and intense connoisseurship lavished on stone inscriptions sharpened the eye of the scholar I collector to an extraordinary degree.'' 151 The influence undoubtedly moved in both directions: firsthand experience with seal carving was as likely to awaken sensitivity to the qualities shared by seals and rubbings. Otherwise, how can we explain the fact that although the literati began collecting rubbings in the Song dynasty, the traces of wear on engraved rocks, stones, or wood did not attract great interest until the heyday of literati seal carving in the late Ming? The Northern Song calligrapher Huang Tingjian, for instance, copied the Inscription for Burying a Crane (Yihe ming), which had been engraved on a cliff probably early in the sixth century. This inscription is regarded as having had a major influence on Huang's work; yet from Huang's extant calligraphies, it is evident that he was attracted chiefly by the character structures of this ancient work and that he showed little interest

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Fig. 1.51 Derail of Fig. 1.50.

Fig. 1.50 Wang Duo

Calligraphy for Shan Danian. Dared 1647. (1593-1652),

Hanging scroll, ink on sarin, 237 x 56 em. Ho Ch'uang-shih Calligraphy Foundation, Taipei.


in the effects caused by the extensive damage it had received. 152 We know also that the Wu School master Wen Zhengming had ancient rubbings in his collection, including a rubbing of the Memorial Stele of Zhang Qian (Zhang Qian bei), a work very much damaged/ 53 but Wen's clear, neat, defined brushwork shows no sign that the calligrapher made any attempt to embrace the flavor of antique destruction. Calligraphic techniques for imitating wear were introduced only in the Tianqi reign by calligraphers like Zhang Ruitu and particularly Wang Duo. In their calligraphies, some characters were written with ink so wet that it spread across absorbent satin or paper to the point that where at times a character's internal strokes merged, leaving only the character's outline recognizable. In a running script hanging scroll written in 1647, now in Taipei in the collection of the Ho Ch'uang-shih Calligraphy Foundation (Fig. r.so ), the brush is so saturated with ink that strokes in a number of characters bleed, leaving their edges irregular, not unlike the unexpected and irregular cracks on stone seals that result from speedy carving. The character wu ~(without), the eighth character in the fourth column from the right (Fig. r.sr), is so wet that the individual strokes in the middle part of the character have disappeared. This blurry execution generates in the viewer a slight feeling of ambiguity. None of this bothered the artist, who kept his brush moving till the end, creating a truly extraordinary effect. We do not know how Wang Duo evaluated such effects in his own work. But from his dedications, we can assume that this practice was acceptable to both the calligrapher and his audience. Rough as it may appear, however, Wang Duo's use of wet ink to produce a ravaged look in many of his calligraphies is in several respects a rather sophisticated experiment: it intensifies contrasts among characters, increases the impression of spontaneity, and makes viewing a more theatrical experience. A few ofWang Duo's personal seals with broken strokes further confirm the hypothesis that the calligrapher sought to attain a somewhat similar effect in his calligraphies. The visual experience of viewing damaged seals may have inspired Wang's bleeding strokes in calligraphy, as a display of naturalness and genuineness as well as of qi.

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The significant impact of seal carving on late Ming calligraphy deserves to be more fully explored. Such an investigation would help to explain why, in the Qing, almost all the important calligraphers of the stele school were associated, to a greater or lesser degree, with the art of seal carving. A SENSE OF CRISIS

Although the urban culture of the late Ming appeared to enjoy both artistic and economic prosperity and vitality, its lively surface hid serious ongoing crises, including the political strife between the literati bureaucrats and eunuchs discussed above. There were problems in the economic sphere as well. In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, a massive amount of silver flowed steadily into China from Japan and South America through 154 Japanese and Portuguese merchants who traded for Chinese luxury goods. In the wake of this influx of silver, a tax reform in the middle decades of the sixteenth century, the so-called Single Whip Method (yitiaobian fa), commuted most land taxes, labor service obligations, and other levies in return for payments of silver. Despite apparent affluence, the country became increasingly dependent on silver as the circulation of silver increased, resulting in inflation and speculation, and considerably changing traditional economic patterns. China became vulnerable to shortages in silver supply that eventually arose as the result of expensive wars against domestic rebels, defensive measures to protect the country from threats beyond its frontiers, and reductions of imported silver when China's maritime trade was blockaded by the Dutch. The Ming government was forced to raise taxes seven times during the last two decades of the dynasty. A series of devastating natural disasters further damaged the already wobbly economy. Signs of instability were evident !n both urban and rural areas: rebel armies led by Li Zicheng (160645) and Zhang Xianzhong (1606-46) presented serious challenges to the government. Threats from beyond the northern frontier became more severe even as the domestic crisis deepened. The Manchus, who lived northeast of China, became increasingly bellicose, in part because Ming military forces had shrunk due to ingrained problems in the military system. The military effectiveness of hereditary soldiers based in military colonies and garrisons decreased drastically, as a result of fiscal mismanagement and the increasing dominance of civil officials over military affairs. By comparison, paid soldiers became the more efficient fighting force. This change, however, caused another dilemma. Well-paid recruits were a tremendous burden on the government. Underpaid or unpaid troops could turn their weapons on the citizens.155 In general, the deterioration of the Ming military establishment encouraged would-be rivals of the dynasty to become more aggressive. The

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Manchus frequently raided frontier regions. At times incursions even reached areas near the capitaL The Manchus also devised a strategy that was as important a threat to China as their military capacity. As they began the process of slow expansion in Manchuria, they built a political apparatus modeled on that of the Chinese but incorporating elements of their own. Their political preparations meant that they had a system particularly well designed to ensure a smooth transition if and when they replaced the Ming government. Confronted with these crises, many of those who felt strongly responsible for the destiny of the dynasty, such as the members of the Donglin movement, turned their attention to the counsels of ancient sages and exemplary figures in the Classics as a means of coping with contemporary affairs. There was a signal renewal of interest in the Confucian classics and the histories on the part of scholars even as others were seriously challenging their authority. In the r62os, the Fu she, another literary society with a strong political orientation, openly declared that its platform was "to revive ancient teachings." In the Fu she's manifesto, Zhang Pu (r6o2-4r), the founder of the society, wrote: From the time education [began to] decline, scholars have not understood the wisdom embodied in the Classics. Instead they plagiarize what they have heard and seen and call it their own. Some have been lucky enough to become officials. [But] those at court are incapable of advising the emperor [and] those who are local officials do not know how to help the people. There are fewer and fewer talented men and the government gets worse every day. This is all because [of the decline in education]. I do not want [to attempt] to measure [my own] virtue nor calculate [my own] ability. I [only] hope to join with many scholars from all over the empire to revive the ancient teachings so that future generations will be able to provide useful service [to the country]. For tQis reason, [our group's] name is the Fu she [The Society for Reviving (An. T each'mgs )] .156 c1ent Many members of the Fu she, with this injunction in mind, devoted themselves to the Classics and historiography. Zhang Pu compiled a number of books on Confucian classics and history. Chen Zilong (r6o8-47), another leading figure of the Fu she, compiled a multivolume anthology of writings on Ming politics and economics. The revival of ancient learning led to evidential examination and textual analysis, methods of study that competed with the traditional approach to the Classics and were regarded by some scholars as a more profitable way to study them. Fang Yizhi (r6u-7r), for example, promoted ancient learning but applied a textual approach to the study of the Classics in an attempt to comprehend them more accurately from a linguistic standpoint. Practical learning and textual analysis never completely disappeared, even when late Ming scholarship was at its most introspective and speculative. The revival of ancient learning as a prescription for the ills of the late Ming crisis marked a significant de-

72 • Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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parture from the intellectual trends of the time. By the early Qing, as we shall see in Chapter 3, practical learning and textual analysis gradually became ele~ ments of mainstream scholarship. 1


On the nineteenth day of the intercalary sixth month of the dingwei year (r6o7), the thirty~fifth year of the W anli reign, Fu Shan was born in Yangqu, a county close to the city ofTaiyuan in Shanxi province (see Map r.r). He was the second son ofFu Zhimo. He had two brothers: the older w.as Fu Geng (d. 1642), and the younger Fu Zhi. The Fu family had long lived in Datong, a city north ofTaiyuan, but six generations before Fu Shan, an ancestor, working as a tutor in the Shanxi residence of one of the Ming princes, moved to Xinzhou, a prefecture neighboring T aiyuan. Fu Shan's great~grandfather subsequently moved to nearby Yangqu when forced, because of his handsome appearance, to marry the daughter of a prince living in Yangqu. Even though his family had moved from Xinzhou decades earlier, Fu Shan nonetheless considered Xinzhou his native place. This was more than a psychological attachment: the Fu family still owned land in Xinzhou from which it received income. The Fu family had a long tradition of commitment to education, but the pinnacle of academic success-passing the national civil service examinationwas achieved only when Fu Shan' s grandfather Fu Lin obtained his jinshi degree in 1562. Fu Lin's official career reached its peak when he became head of the military district ofLiaohai in Shandong province, where he performed well on the battleground. Military service, however, did not prevent Fu Lin from having an interest in history and literature. He composed essays in the manner of the ancients and had a particular liking for Ban Gu's (A.D. 32-92) History of the West~ ern Han (Han shu). He also published his own anthology, Collected Writings of Musuitang (Musuitangji), and sponsored the publication of an edition of the Huainanzi, a work by Han scholars of which Fu Shan later became very fond. Fu Lin had several brothers, two of whom were also successful in the civil service examinations. Fu Zhen became a juren in 1561 and was later appointed prefect ofYaozhou in Shaanxi province. Fu Pei, another brother of Fu Lin, earned his jinshi degree in 1577 and was promoted to investigating censor after meritorious service as magistrate ofHuating. The successes of these three brothers in the civil service examinations and in their official careers, together with the marriage of Fu Shan's great~ grandfather to the daughter of the Prince ofTaiyuan, meant that the family enjoyed a degree of prominence in Shanxi in the latter half of the sixteenth century. 157 There was an imbalance between economy and culture in late Ming Shanxi. Shanxi merchants-skillful in finance and in trading salt, coal, alum, furs, and

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oatong 0







wenshui 0









other highly profitable goods-were as rich as Huizhou merchants in the late Ming, bur in contrast to their Huizhou counterparts, Shanxi merchants invested little in cultural enterprises, and culturally speaking, Ming Shanxi was comparatively backward. Only 5.6 percent of the jinshi degrees awarded during 58 the dynasty went to men from Shanxi/ far behind provinces like Nan Zhili and Zhejiang. The Fu family's three degrees must have brought them disproportionate power and prestige. This social background also enabled Fu Shan to marry a daughter of Zhang P an (jinshi 1586), a government official, even 159 though Fu Shan's father was not a degree holder. The generation ofFu Shan's father, Fu Zhimo, was nor as successful as the generation of his grandfather in pursuing official careers. Although two ofFu Shan's uncles became juren in the Wanli and Tianqi reigns, Fu Shan's father did nor participate in the civil service examination: he stayed at home to fulfill his duty as a filial son and worked as a private tutor.


Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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Fu Shan studied at home from the age of seven to fifteen sui under the guidance of a private tutor, Mr. Zhu. At the age of fifteen, he passed an ex~ amination and became a shengyuan (government student). Later, in 1626, he passed a higher~ level examination that brought him a stipend from the gov~ ernment. During this time, Fu Shan became increasingly aware of the crises confronting his country and realized that, from the standpoint of good gov~ ernment, the knowledge required to pass the civil service examinations was not of practical use. He thus began studying the thirteen Confucian classics, his~ tory, and books by the thinkers of various schools of ancient times. Calligraphy was an important part of a traditional Chinese education, and Fu Shan practiced it from a young age. He wrote: I started to copy Zhong You [A.D. 151-230) when I was eight or nine years old but could not achieve a likeness. When I was older, there was little I did not try to copy. [I copied) the Yellow Court Classic (Huangting [jing]), the Memorial Stele of Cao E (Cao E [bei] ), the Eulogy ofYue Yi (Yue Yi lun ), the Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait (Dongfang [Shuo hua]zan [by Wang Xizhi]), the surviving thirteen lines of the Rhapsody of the Nymph of the Luo River (Luoshen [fu] [by Wang Xianzhi]), and the Preface to "Poxie lun" [by Yu Shinan, 558-638 ], yet I still could not achieve likenesses. Following that, I practiced copying Yan Zhenqing's Memorial Stele of the Yan Family Temple ( [Yanshi] jiamiiw [bei]) and finally grasped some ofYan's unusual stylistic features. 160 Later, I proceeded to copy his Letter on the Controversy over Seating Protocol and succeeded in achieving a resemblance. As a further step, I copied the Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Gathering (Lanting [xu]). Even though I could not achieve its spiritual expression, I gradually came to understand the major principles of the art [of calligraphyJ•161 According to Fu Shan's autobiographical statement, his calligraphy studies by and large followed the model~ book tradition. Nothing is known about the appearance of his early calligraphy because almost none ofhis works dated before the 1640s have survived. One ofFu Shan's earliest extant calligraphies was written in 1641 (Fig. 1.52). A short essay describing a garden he donated to a Buddhist temple, it survives only as a rubbing: neither the original calligraphy nor the stone stele on which it was engraved are extant. Despite the damage to the stele shown in the rubbing, the stylistic features of this work are still visible. It is written in lesser cursive script, in a style that still exhibits-as modern scholar Lin Peng has pointed out-some characteristics of the model~ book school style ofMing calligraphy.162 The beginnings, turnings, and endings of strokes are carefully executed, with refinement and elegance. Nothing is graphically dramatic except the over~ sized character "ye" -It in the last line. Some turned~up rightward diagonal (na) strokes suggest the influence of draft cursive~ script calligraphy, in which cleri~ cal~ script characteristics are mingled with cursive. A short poem in two columns of clerical~ script calligraphy is appended to the essay and appears on the left side of the stele. The style is casual, as evi~


Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life •

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Fig. 1.52 Fu Shan, Record of the Garden of Shanglanwulong Shrine. Dared 1641. Rubbing of a stele, ink on paper, measuremenrs unavailable. Phorograph courtesy Lin Peng.

denced by variations in the size of the spaces between the characters. Furthermore, normal characteristics of typical clerical-script writing, such as the turned-up ends of certain horizontal strokes and of the flaring rightward diagonals (na), are exaggerated, lending the calligraphy an unconventional air. Like the essay, refined and elegant, the poem contrasts markedly with Fu Shan's later, bold, dramatic pieces. Here, Zhao Mengfu's influence on Fu Shan is visible: Fu Shan once wrote that Zhao Mengfu greatly influenced his 163

Fig. 1.53 Impression of "Fu Dingchen yin" (The seal ofFu Dingchen).


early calligraphy. As we have seen, seal carving entered its heyday in the late Ming. Fu Shan began carving seals in his late teens, and under his influence, his son and grandson also studied this newly thriving art. Fu wrote: "All three generations of my family are devoted to seal carving. Since I was eighteen or nineteen, I have been able to carve seals. I am able to distinguish immediately between the style of seals made in the Han dynasty and those carved later. Just like T atha164 gata, who knows the truth, I dare to be confident." A seal reading "Seal ofFu Dingchen" ("Fu Dingchen yin") in relief is probably an early seal carved by Fu Shan: "Fu Dingchen" was an early name that Fu later replaced with "Fu Shan" (Fig. 1.53). The execution of the carving .tnd composition of this seal show that Fu Shan had mastered the techniques of seal carving while still a young man. Many seals used by Fu Shan were

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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presumably carved either by him or by his son Fu Mei (r628-84), who was 165 especially skilled at carving seals with texts in intaglio. In fact, most of the seals by Fu Shan and Fu Mei that survive are carved in intaglio. Fu Shan's proficiency in seal carving spurred his interest in contemporary publications dealing with seal script. Although no seal-script calligraphies by Fu Shan predating the r64os have survived, it is evident from his mastery of greater seal-script characters in the early r65os that he was already highly accomplished in seal script and that he must have practiced it before the fall of the Min g. This early training led him to become a leading advocate in the early Qing of ancient seal and clerical scripts as models fundamental to the mastery of calligraphy. Bleeding strokes, which, I suggested above, were one result of the influence ofliterati seal carving on calligraphy, are also frequently found in the calligraphy both ofFu Shan and Fu Mei. Fu Shan, already a talented artist, had gained a reputation as a connoisseur by his twenties, and as such he was sought out by Shanxi collectors before the fall of the Ming. In the early Ming, Shanxi collections were relatively rich in famous ancient calligraphies and paintings, in part because the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang (r. 1368-98), had given many ancient works of calligraphy and painting in the imperial collection to his sons enfeoffed in the provinces. Zhu Gang (r358-g8), Prince ofJingong, Shanxi, received large numbers 166 of calligraphies and paintings as imperial favors. As a collateral descendant of the prince, Fu Shan had access to this and other collections. Many works that had been in the collections of early Ming princes, however, were in private hands by the late Ming. Fu Shan knew a number of these collectors. In a colophon to an album of Song and Yuan paintings, he wrote: Many paintings in this album were once in the collection of Huang Xiaolian of Shuangfeng. Some ofXiaolian's ancestors were officials in Shanxi, and they acquired many calligraphies and paintings that were formally in princely hands. Xiaolian, moreover, was both a knowledgeable and a good connoisseur. He had also studied literature under Mr. Longchi. Hence, in quality and quantity, his collection was refined and rich. [The Huang family collection] was the best in Taiyuan in the Jiajing and Longqing reigns. In the gengwu [1630] and xinwei [1631] years, he invited me to 167 stay at his studio Bing'an to help him sift through his collection.

Han Lin (ca. r6oo-ca. r649), a friend ofFu Shan and a figure largely overlooked by later art historians, was the owner of the richest collection in Shanxi and an important cultural figure toward the end of the Ming. Born into a wealthy merchant family in Jiangxian, Shanxi, Han Lin became a juren in r62I. Later he traveled to Beijing several times in an attempt to pass the metropolitan examination for the jinshi degree. Although he never succeeded, he made many friends there in the capital. Han made several trips south to the Jiangnan region, to socialize with literati and to buy books, calligraphies, and paint-

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life • 77

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ings. There he became a young friend ofHuang Daozhou and Ni Yuanlu and a student of Dong Qichang. He was himself a good calligrapher in the styles of Su Shi and Mi Fu. Seal carving was merely a fashionable trend for many late Ming literati, but Han Lin studied the art for decades and associated with many leading seal 168 carvers, among them Hu Zhengyan and Zhu Jian. Zhu was regarded as the best seal carver of his time, and in r625, Han Lin sponsored the publication of Zhu's seals. Through Han Lin, Fu Shan kept up with developments in seal carving. Shen C. Y. Fu has pointed out the impact of Zhao Yiguang's cursive 169 seal calligraphy on Fu Shan. This influence was probably exercised through Han as an intermediary, since in all likelihood Zhao and Han were friends. Both Han Lin and his brother Han Yun were devout Catholics and stu~ dents of Xu Guangqi. In the late Ming, Catholic missionaries were active in Shanxi, and the Han brothers invited several missionaries to Jiangxian, mak~ ingJiangzhou the area of most active Catholic influence in the late Ming. In r627, the first Catholic church funded by Chinese members was built in Jiang~ zhou. Only four years later, the number of Christian churches in Jiangzhou 170 had increased to 30. The Hans also published numerous religious pam~ phlets and books introducing Western scientific knowledge to China. 171 As~ sisted by Han Yun, Nicolas Trigault Qin Nige, I577-r628), a French Jesuit, compiled in the r62os a book entitled Phonetics by Western Scholars (Xiru ermu zi) that transliterated Chinese characters into Western letters. This book was extremely influential in the late Ming and early Qing: Fu Shan's interest in phonology in the r66os and r670s may have been inspired in part by this work. Han Lin was also politically active. He was one of only two Shanxi members of the Fu she. This background made Han Lin a prominent cultural figure in Shanxi. Fu Shan frequently mentions Han in his writings, especially in reference to Han's collection of calligraphy and painting. Han was killed by local bandits in the second half of the r64os after he had been captured by and served in Li Zi~ cheng's army. His collection was scattered, and later Fu Shan and his friends tried to retrieve some of his pieces. In about r646, for instance, Fu Shan helped his friend Dai Tingshi (ca. r623-92) obtain the landscape handscroll by the famous Northern Song painter Yan W engui (late tenth-early eleventh cen~ tury) that survives today in the Osaka Municipal Art Museum. In a colophon on this scroll, Fu Shan wrote that Han Lin excelled in connoisseurship and was a close friend of Dong Qichang, with whom he had often discussed callig~ 172 raphy and painting. Although Fu Shan may have had ambivalent feelings about Han Lin's belief in Christianity, 173 his association with Han was impor~ tant because late Ming intellectual and artistic life flourished more in the south than in the north, and through Han, Fu Shan was kept informed about what was happening in southern cultural circles. 174

78 • Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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The philosophical and religious diversity of Fu Shan's friends was considerable. Jiangzhou was not only one of the most important bases for Chinese Catholicism in the late Ming but was also the home ofXin Quan (rs88-r636), the most influential Confucian scholar in late Ming Shanxi. Fu Shan was friendly with Xin Quan and several of his important followers. 175 Shanxi was also home to many Moslems: Fu Shan had two close friends, Wen Xuanxi (1596-after 1679) and Liang Tan (ca. rsSs-after 1654), both believers in Islam, whom he mentions with respect several times in his writings. 176 Well-trained in Confucian thought, Fu Shan, from his thirties onward, also became increasingly interested in religious texts, chiefly Buddhist and Daoist, and later, he became a Daoist priest. Fu Shan' s study of different philosophies and his association with people of different religious backgrounds, including Moslems and Catholics, made him notably open-minded and undogmatic on such issues. Fu Shan's tolerance of doctrinal variety, however, was no guarantee that his writing and behavior were without internal contradictions. On the one hand, Fu Shan, like other members of the Fu she, was sensitive to the political crises of his time and paid a great deal of attention to what was called practical learning (shixue). On the other hand, he was greatly influenced by the late Ming intellectual climate of introspective philosophy, especially that espoused by N eo-Confucian scholars such as Wang Yangming and Li Zhi. The latter had lived in Shanxi at the turn of the sixteenth century and was influential in that province throughout the late Ming and early Qing. 177 This contradiction is manifested in two early works. One is People in the

"History of the Western Han" and "History of the Eastern Han" Arranged by the Rhymes of Their Last Names (Liang Han shu xingming yun). This book, compiled by Fu Shan in the early r64os, is a reference work listing the figures mentioned in the two canonical histories of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220 ), with a brief note following the name of each person. Historiography was regarded as a necessary training for Confucian scholars. This work, whose compilation must have required a great amount of time, demonstrates Fu Shan's solid scholarship, and it is used even today as a reference work for the study of Han history. The other book by Fu Shan predating 1644 was A History of Human Nature (Xing shi); such discussions of mind, heart, and human nature were common among late Ming scholars. The book was lost during the dynastic transition, but by Fu Shan's own account, it was full of unconventional ideas. 178 Unusual and distinctive arguments were part of the fashionable quest for novelty among late Ming literati, and Fu Shan was no exception: his diverse intellectual interests and the heterogeneous nature of his thought remained lifelong characteristics. In an essay entitled 'The Biography of Mr. Who" ("Ruhe xiansheng zhuan"), he wrote:

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life • 79

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Mr. Who is a person whom people do not understand. Since they do not understand him, they question him. When he is asked, "Are you a Confucian scholar:"' he answers, "I do not preach to students.""Are you a Daoistt "I cannot achieve longevity with indifference."" Are you a Zen believer:"' "I do not play tricks."" Are you in the School of Nominalists?" "Am I not substantial?" "Do you believe in the Mohist School?" "I cannot accept the idea of universal fraternity without distinction." "Are you a believer of Yang Zhu [an early Warring States period philosopher] t "I am really not for mysel£'' "Do you know military strategy?" "I do not like to kill people." "Can you compose poems:"' "I regard being a poet as disgraceful." "Can you write essays:"' "I do not know the so-called great writers of today." "Do you make comments on people:"' "I have been a follower ofRuan Ji [2ro-63] for a long time." "Are you lofty?" "I am contemptible." "Do you have the great truth?" "I am the great falsehood."" Are you really wrong:"' "I have something of the so-called great right." "Who are yout "I am all of the various." "Don't you forget yourself?" "How difficult it is to forget. How come? How come? Because I forget myself a lot." "Sir, Sir, who are you, really:"' "I am the one you are neither able to 179 understand nor know how to understand: just leave me as I am." Fu's essay modeled on Tao Yuanming's (372:'-427) autobiographical "Biography of Mr. Five Willows" ("Wuliu xiansheng zhuan"). Mr. Who, 180 obviously, is Fu Shan himself. In the essay, he asserts his independence from others but admits his debt to different schools of philosophy and thought. The seemingly contradictory and heterogeneous state ofFu Shan's mind revealed in this passage is characteristic oflate Ming culture. The philosophical pluralism, the equal treatment of different schools of philosophy and religion, and the advocacy of a self-expressive individualism are clearly inherited from late Ming thinkers. Yuan Jixian (d. r646), an official who was later to have an important influence on Fu Shan, arrived in Shanxi in the seventh month of the year jiaxu (r634) as commissioner of education. In the ninth month of the same year, Wu Shen ( r589-after r644) was appointed governor of Shanxi. Both Yuan and Wu were opponents ofWen Tiren (jinshi I598; d. r638), a senior official associated with the clique of the notorious eunuch Wei Zhongxian, who had died in r627. During their service in Shanxi, Fu Shan established good relationships with both. Supported by Wu Shen, in r636 YuanJixian re-established the Sanli Academy, the most important educational institute in Shanxi. Some 250 government students (shengyuan) from Shanxi were enrolled in the academy and awarded stipends. Renowned local scholars were invited to lecture on a regular basis, Fu Shan' s talent soon won him a reputation among his fellows, and he was ranked by Yuan as the academy's best student. The Sanli Academy soon proved influential in the political and cultural life of Shanxi and had profound influence on Fu Shan himsel£ who was brought into contact with some of the most promising young men in the province.


Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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An analysis of the family background of Fu Shan' s friends at the academy may be helpful in understanding their political positions in the early Qing. Students at the academy came mainly from the local elite, including govern~ ment officials and the landed classes. For instance, Yang Fangsheng (b. r6m), also a native ofYangqu, was the son of a Ming official. So were Dai Tingshi from Qixian and Sun Yinghan (fl. 1630-50) from Yuxian. Other friends came from the landed class, such as Bai Yuncai (fl. I63o-6o) from Pingding and Cao Liangzhi (d. 1643) and Wang Rujin (d. 1649) from Fenyang. Most of these men became members ofFu Shan's small circle ofloyalist friends in the early Qing. In the fourth month of 1636, Zhang Sunzhen was appointed regional inspector (xuan'an yushi) of Shanxi by Wen Tiren, then at the peak ofhis power at the imperial court. In the seventh month of the same year, W u Shen submitted a memorial to the emperor recommending that Yuan Jixian be ap~ pointed a position in Beijing. As a partisan of Wen Tiren and in an attempt to attack Wu Shen, Zhang impeached Yuan Jixian for taking bribes. In the tenth month, Yuan Jixian was arrested and sent to Beijing for interrogation. Having heard that Yuan Jixian was in trouble, Fu Shan and his close friend Xue Zongzhou (d. 1649) decided to attempt his rescue. They urged other stu~ dents at the Sanli Academy to petition the court. Meanwhile, they followed Yuan Jixian by walking to Beijing, where Yuan was thrown into the prison of the Ministry ofJustice. To finance his activity, Fu Shan sold much of his property. Fu Shan and a friend drafted a petition in Beijing that was signed by some hundred students from Shanxi. They attempted to present it to the court through an official channel, the Office ofT ransmission, but the head of that office was a friend of Zhang Sunzhen. Zhang's friend rejected the peti~ tion with the excuse that it was not in the proper format and sent a copy to Zhang in Shanxi. Zhang was furious with Fu Shan and threatened to perse~ cute his younger brother, Fu Zhi. Fu Shan ignored him. After several rejec~ tions by the Office ofTransmission, Fu Shan and his friends realized that it would be impossible to reach the emperor by this means. Fu Shan then drafted a leaflet and made copies for various government offices in Beijing. Fu and his friends carried the leaflets with them and, when they met officials and eunuchs, handed out the leaflets in the hope that it would eventually reach the emperor. In the leaflet Fu Shan wrote: The false accusation against Mr. Yuan of my home province is truly a national trag~ edy. Mr. Yuan has been in charge of education in my home province for almost three years. As soon as he arrived, he began using Confucian moral teachings and the rights and wrongs of society as the basis for education, then tested students on this basis in the annual examination. He spared no effort in the performance of his duties. He traveled back and forth through places where there were bandits, robbers, and fight~ ing. He took great pains to teach students, and those students always passed the ex~

Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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• 8I

aminations .... In establishing the Sanli Academy, he began by using his own savings to renovate the Sanli Shrine to honor virtuous people of the past and then enrolled students in the academy, encouraging and inspecting their studies from morning to night, and eating plain food with them, neither receiving money from the government 181 nor bothering local people for funds. Could a corrupt official behave like this! At the end of the leaflet Fu Shan appealed to the government to uphold jus~ tice and reject the false accusations against Yuan. Zhang Sunzhen was arrested and brought to Beijing for interrogation in the first month of the following year. In the fourth month, Yuan Jixian was judged not guilty. The brave and successful initiative ofFu Shan and Xue Zongzhou in rescuing Yuan Jixian earned them an enormous reputation among scholars and officials in Beijing. At the request of Yuan Jixian, the sen~ ior official Ma Shiqi (r584-1644) wrote an essay entitled "Record ofTwo Righteous Scholars from the Right Side of Mount [Taihang]" ("Shanyou er yishi ji") in their praise. Fu Shan thus became the leader among the literati 182 from Shanxi. A few years later, in 1642, Fu Shan failed the civil service examination at the provincial level. His failure, however, was not important to him. That his in~ terest in practical knowledge and religious texts predated the civil service ex~ amination is an indication that he paid less than full attention to the studies necessary for passing the examination. In fact, a number of intellectuals of the late Ming understood that the greatest defect of the examination system dur~ ing their time was that the knowledge required to pass the examination-the memorizing of model essays and "likely" passages from the Classics (that is, passages likely to be tested on the examinations)-was not useful knowledge. Fu Shan' s indifference to the civil service examinations did not mean that he was indifferent to contemporary affairs. His leadership in petitioning for the release of Yuan Jixian demonstrates his political consciousness and capacity. His concern for the fate of the country is manifested in a work entitled "Rhap~ sody of the Capital City" ("Yudu fu"), which he wrote during his stay in Beijing in the spring of 1637 when the Manchus were becoming an increasing threat to the capital. In the summer of 1635, a Manchu army had raided Baoding, a city not far from Beijing, and Beijing was on the alert. Rumors that the emperor was going to move the capital circulated in Beijing. Expressing his views on the sub~ ject, Fu Shan wrote that he believed that the emperor would not move the capi~ tal, since that would harm the country. He extolled the emperor and encour~ aged him to lead the country to repulse the Manchu aggression. Fu Shan cherished the hope that the emperor would rally the country against the Manchu crisis. The situation, however, worsened further in the early 164os, and dynastic collapse seemed inevitable.

82 • Late Ming Culture and Fu Shan's Early Life

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fu 5han's Lite and Chapter 2

Calligraph!) in the E_arl!j Years otthe


Military threats in the early 1640s from both Manchus to the north and Li Zicheng's rebel army in Shaanxi to the west deepened the Ming dynastic crisis. In Shaanxi and the neighboring province of Shanxi, an air of crisis prevailed among the local elite. In the first month of 1642, Cai Mao de (d. 1644) was ap~ pointed governor of Shanxi, and the following year, he reopened the Sanli Academy and invited scholars to lecture on a range of practical subjects. Fu Shan and Han Lin (who had studied ballistics under the Jesuits) were among the scholars teaching battle tactics and strategy, defense, artillery, water con~ servation, and what we might now call "economics." Li Zicheng' s army conquered Xi' an in late 1643. On New Year's Day of the jiashen year (February 8, 1644), Li Zicheng established his own dynasty in Xi' an and prepared to launch an expedition toward Beijing. Shanxi lay on the shortest route from Shaanxi to Beijing, and people there were alarmed at the likelihood of his advance. Fu Shan became involved in anti-Li Zicheng activities. After Li occupied Xi' an, his supporters in Shanxi spread the word that his army did not sack the places they passed through or occupied, nor did they levy taxes. In response, Fu Shan and Cai Maode put up posters in cities and villages, claiming under false names that they were from Shaanxi and had witnessed the brutality of Li's army. The two also composed children's rhymes, which said that the year jiashen would be a bad one for Li Zicheng. Because children's rhymes were of~ ten viewed as omens, Fu and Cai hoped that they could undercut Li's support

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in Shanxi by making people believe that Li did not possess the mandate of Heaven. The court was shocked by Li Zicheng's establishment of a rival dynasty and his plan to march on Beijing. Vice Minister of Personnel Li Jiantai (jinshi r625), a native of Quwo, Shanxi, submitted a memorial to the throne asking permis~ sion to use his family fortune to establish an army in his hometown to fight Li Zicheng. When the emperor agreed, LiJiantai asked Fu Shan and Han Lin to be his advisers. In the middle of the first month of 1644, Fu Shan went to Pingding, in eastern Shanxi, to wait for Li Jiantai in the hope that he could lead an army to protect T aiyuan. But Quwo fell to Li Zicheng even before Li Jiantai had raised an army. On the sixth day of the second month, T aiyuan was surrounded by Li Zicheng's army, and two days later it fell. Cai Maode hanged himself at the Sanli Academy. On the nineteenth day of the third month, Li Zicheng entered Beijing. The Chongzhen emperor hanged himself the same day. But Li did not hold the capital long. A month and a halflater, the Manchus conquered Beijing; they justified their action by claiming that they were punishing Li and his fellow rebels. In the tenth month, T aiyuan fell to the Manchus, and soon most of China was under the governance of a Manchu dynasty, the Qing. 1 The struggle against the new alien regime was fierce in the early years following the conquest. In southern China, resistance came chiefly from what later came to be called the Southern Ming, a series of three regimes founded by Ming princes in the south, each claiming to be the legitimate ruler of the Ming dynasty. Fighting between Manchu armies and forces of the Southern 2 Ming continued for some time. Military resistance by local Chinese in the conquered territory also continued sporadically. Yuan Jixian, Fu Shan's teacher in the Sanli Academy, served as vice minis~ ter of war of the Hongguang regime of the Southern Ming until he was cap~ tured by the Manchus in the sixth month of 1645. Emphatically refusing to serve the Manchus, Yuan Jixian was escorted to Beijing two months later. From there, he sent a poem and a letter to Fu Shan through a former student of the Sanli Academy who was serving the new government. The poem reads in part: It was you alone who shared my suffering; Now our parting is forever. But the ancient Way remains with the universe; From life and death grows heart-to-heart friendship.

In the letter, Yuan wrote: I sought death inJiangzhou [where I was captured]. I failed. At present, calm, I can only wait. I hear that you have entered the mountains to care for your mother. That is good. At this moment, you should not move a step from the mountains. I have

84 •

The Early Years of the Manchu Conquest

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given Xiting of Quwo an album of my poems, and asked him to forward it to you. 3 Please keep it in the mountains. Have you received it?

The following year Yuan was executed. Before the execution he sent an~ other letter toFu Shan: "Among the scholars of Shanxi province you are the one who knows me best. I will be killed soon. I dare not betray your trust, dare 14 not make you ashamed to call me, Yuan Jixian, your friend.' lt was said that Fu Shan cried when he received this letter and said, "How could I dare bet;ray ,,s you, M r. Yuan. Many poems written by Fu Shan in the early years of the Manchu conquest show his concern for the political and military affairs of his time and his deep sorrow at the fall of the dynasty. But how deeply Fu Shan was involved in anti~ Manchu military activities is an open question. As a filial son, Fu Shan felt strongly that it was his duty to tend to his aging mother, since his elder brother, Fu Geng, had died. In many poems, Fu Shan used phrases such as 7 6 "Oh! My mother is old!" or "I take refuge here to make a home for mother." Fu Shan' s repeated poetic sighs over his mother should be seen not only as a sign of his deep affection for her but also as an expression of the conflict in his mind between loyalty (zhang) and filial piety (xiao ). One of the cardinal tenets of Confucianism was that an official should sacrifice his life for the dynasty he served. Theoretically, loyalty to the emperor took precedence over filial piety. But even supposing that an official had the courage to face death, he con~ fronted the problem of who would care for his parents if he died. In the early Qing, many scholar~officials claimed that they endured the humiliation of sur~ 8 vival for just this reason. But no matter what their justification, most Confu~ dan scholars were ashamed that they had not defended the Ming better. For this reason, Fu Shan, in one of his poems, styled himself"a servant of the em~ 9 peror" (chen), sighing that "The mother of your servant is old!" The guilt~ ridden poet was begging forgiveness from his deceased monarch. Fu Shan's long years of wandering began with the fall ofT aiyuan early in 1644. In the third and fourth months of that year, he traveled to the moun~ tains ofPingding and Shouyang, where later he was joined by his mother, his son, Fu Mei, and his nephew Fu Ren (1638-74). In the eighth month, he be~ came a Daoist priest. 10 Like many Ming loyalists who became Buddhist monks after the fall of the Ming, Fu Shan's motivation was clear. By becoming a Daoist priest, he could disguise his anti~ Manchu activities and avoid having to shave his forehead and wear a queue in the Manchu fashion, as the Qing government had ordered. Fu Shan did not live in Taiyuan during the first few years of the Manchu conquest, perhaps because the Manchus made it a major military base. Instead, he traveled and lived in different places in Shanxi, including Yuxian, Wuxiang, Quwo, Shouyang, Pingding, and Fenyang. His occasional visits to Yangqu

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and T aiyuan were brie£ Of all the places he stayed, he sojourned longest in Fenyang, the home of his close friends Wang Rujin and Xue Zongzhou. Our~ ing these travels, Fu Shan stayed with friends or occasionally in temples. In Yuxian, for instance, he stayed with Sun Yinghan, and in Pingding with Bai Yuncai, both of them friends from the Sanli Academy. Jonathan Spence writes: "In Ming and Qing China, there was almost no aristocracy as such. The descendants of the ruling families of even the greatest dynasties did not retain their tides and prestige once their dynasties had fallen .•.. Similarly, after r644, the former Ming aristocracy was not pre~ served.''ll The dynastic transition had disastrous consequences for the once welko~do Fu family. A poem by Fu Shan suggests that he sold some houses 12 he owned before setting out on his travels, but apparently his money soon ran out, and he was forced to find other ways to support his family. A letter to a friend reveals that around r650 Fu and his friends tried to open a liquor shop, which they supposed would be highly profitableP Apparently it was unsuccessful, in part because the Qing government strictly prohibited the pro~ duction of alcohol in areas of northern China suffering from severe grain shortages because of the fighting and natural disasters. 14 In a study of the Ming~Qing transition, Lynn Struve notes that "the rich lowerYangzi and Hangzhou Bay regions had much that was vulnerable to destruction, but they also had the greatest resources for recovery. Other parts of the country, once 15 devastated, remained longer in that condition.'' Shanxi was one of the prov~ inces that suffered worst and longest. In the early r65os, the Qing government frequently waived taxes in many areas of the province because of the severity of 16 the destruction it had suffered. An important source ofFu Shan's income was his medical practice, in which his son acted as his assistant. He was known especially for his skill in 17 women's medicine. Records confirm that he owned a small pharmacy in the city ofTaiyuan, probably after the late r65os. It was run by Fu Mei; Fu Shan 18 himselflived in the suburbs. A number ofFu Shan's extant calligraphy al~ bums include prescriptions he wrote for his patients. Other major sources of income were painting and especially calligraphy.19 But Fu Shan expressed dismay that he was forced to sell his calligraphy: "My family has been good at calligraphy for five or six generations. But my ances~ tors never wrote calligraphy for a living. It is I who now suffer the burden of 20 writing calligraphy for an income.'' Despite his chagrin, Fu Shan was fortu~ nately able to make his living this way. Unlike political power and wealth, which might be drastically reduced or lost during a time of dynastic transition, cultural "assets" were not so easily stripped away, and Fu Shan's cultural repu~ ration not only remained intact but continued to grow in the early Qing. The Ming~Qing dynastic transition had no revolutionary impact on Chinese social structure and culture. Cultural tastes and patterns remained the same among


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the Chinese social and political elite, who preserved their political interests by cooperating with the Manchus or by becoming government officials after pass~ ing the new regime's civil service examinations. At the local level in Shanxi, the gentry and moneyed classes continued to be the major purchasers of calligra~ phy. Although reluctant to make his living as a calligrapher, Fu Shan could find customers for his work without difficulty. Sometimes he was commis~ sioned to write or paint; more often, he exchanged his art for favors. During this difficult period, Fu Shan received considerable economic sup~ port from friends from a similar sociopolitical background. One of his chief supporters was Dai Tingshi. Some sixteen years younger than Fu Shan, Dai Tingshi had been Fu Shan's friend from their days at the Sanli Academy. 21 Born into the family of a Ming official, Dai had an estate in Qixian that appar~ ently remained intact through the war. Dai, in addition, had a head for com~ merce. His secure financial situation enabled him to sponsor Fu Shan, as well as other Ming loyalists in Shanxi from outside the province. From Fu Shan's 2 surviving letters to Dai/ we know that Dai not only directly supported Fu Shan in a variety of ways, from buying food to providing a donkey for Fu's journeys to other provinces, but also acted as an agent for Fu Shan' s artworks. Fu Shan repaid him with gifts of calligraphy and painting. Dai was also a prominent collector, and Fu Shan served as his consultant. Fu Shan's unsettled life apparently continued until 1653, when Wei Yi'ao (ca. r6r5-94 ), a Chinese official in the Qing government, bought a house for Fu Shan in the village ofTutang, northwest ofTaiyuan. Fu Shan moved to Tutang from Fenzhou in the ninth month of that year. SHARED SORROW

The friendship between Fu Shan and Wei Yi'ao reveals how complicated rela~ tionships between Ming loyalists and Chinese officials in the Qing government were and how crucial these officials were to the survival ofMing loyalists, a sub~ ject long ignored by historians. Wei Yi' ao was born into a rich farmer's family in Xincheng, Baoding prefecture, Zhili province (modern Hebei). He became a juren in 1642 but failed the examination for the jinshi degree the following year. Wei Yi'ao' s dream of serving the Ming was soon shattered by the Manchu inva~ sion of 1644. When Sun Qifeng (rs8s-r675), a native ofBaoding and are~ nowned philosopher in the Neo~Confucian tradition, sought refuge from cha~ 23 otic times in Wei Yi'ao's hometown in 1645, Wei became his student. There was a critical shortage of officials to govern the huge area the Man~ chus had conquered in north China. The desperate Manchus recruited Chi~ nese scholars into the state apparatus. In r645, an urgent imperial edict to the governor of Zhili province ordered all those with a juren degree either to take the official selection test held by the Ministry of Personnel in Beijing or to sit

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for the examination for the civil jinshi degree the following year. Those who refused would be arrested, and the governor and other senior provincial offi~ cials would be impeached. In the sixth month of r645, Wei Yi'ao was taken to Beijing for the examination. After passing it, he was appointed to Pingding in eastern Shanxi. Before Wei Yi'ao left for Shanxi, Sun Qifeng, a Ming loyalist, wrote for him an eight~character motto: "Be honest in performing official du~ ties, love the people, respect the scholars."24 Sun Qifeng's attitude toward the Manchus was complex. When Manchu armies attacked the city ofRongcheng in r635, Sun led the inhabitants in a bloody battle to protect the city. Even after neighboring cities had fallen to the Manchus, Rongcheng remained in Chinese hands. This won Sun the reputa~ tion of a hero. When Li Zicheng ascended the throne in Beijing, Sun refused to recognize his government as legitimate and led a force against Li. But once the Manchus had occupied Beijing, he tacitly acquiesced to Manchu rule. 25 The protracted wars in the north, first with the Manchus, then with Li Zicheng, and then with both, made many in the north hungry for peace. They craved a political regime, even an alien one, that would restore social order. To many northern gentry, Li Zicheng was more threatening than the Manchus. Pragmatically, they accepted the alien regime for want of a better alternative. Although Sun Qifeng himself declined several requests to serve the Manchu government, like many other Ming loyalists (a loosely defined group), he con~ doned his students in the next generation working for the new government, and even encouraged them to do so. Wei Yi'ao arrived in Pingding in the ninth month of r645. According to one local gazetteer, he did much to benefit the people over the following year, consoling those who had survived the wars, commemorating those who had died in fighting Li Zicheng, reducing the local burden oflabor service, and 26 reopening schools. But for an unknown reason-probably political-he was demoted from his official post in r646 and, late that year, was appointed to a low~ranking position in the Registry of the Shanxi Provincial Administrative Commission in T aiyuan. His administrative ability and literary talent, how~ ever, were soon recognized by Sun Maolan (fl. r645-55), a Chinese bannerman from Manchuria and the provincial administrative commissioner of Shanxi. Some three years later, he was promoted to the head of the Registry. The relationship between Fu Shan and Wei Yi'ao began about r647, after Wei arrived in T aiyuan. They had previously known of each other through Fu Shan's closest friend in Pingding, Bai Yuncai. Soon after arriving in T aiyuan, Wei became a generous sponsor ofF u Shan. A handscroll of eighteen letters dating from the r64os and r65os from Fu Shan to Wei Yi'ao provides ample evidence that Fu Shan frequently asked Wei for assistance, ranging from fi~ 27 nancial support to political protection. In his first letter to Wei Yi'ao, Fu Shan wrote:


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I was born a useless person who relies on others, and that alone is ridiculous; not even one person and one mouth can depend on me. Having wandered for three years, I have burdened others with feeding me.... Although I wear a Daoist hat, I have abided by Buddhist disciplines since my youth.... My aged mother also prays constantly to the Buddha. Every day she needs salt and rice so she can cook. ... Contrib28 uting money, you make a monk [Fu Shan] thankful. Thus Fu Shan frankly acknowledged Wei Yi' ao' s financial generosity the first time he wrote to him. We know from the other letters that Wei Yi' ao helped Fu Shan in various ways. When Fu Shan lived in Fenzhou, Wei sent him wine for his table (letter 6); and when Fu Shan's son married a daughter of a former Ming official in Pingding, Wei used his influence to provide the Fu family with conveniences (letters 4, 5, 8). In 1653 he bought Fu Shan a house, and in 1652 Fu even asked Wei for a tax exemption on his land: My family is originally from Xinzhou; at present I and my brother and cousin still own a few mu of poor land there.... This land has not been taxed for eighty years [because we were] a registered household. But now treacherous officials have put it into the tax category "Real Grain." I am bombarded with complaints from my clansmen there, and my brother and cousin are burdened with taking care of this matter. Their bitterness cannot be expressed by words. I am going to submit a report to the government and ask to have the case transferred to the prefecture in which I am living and to have the property made tax exempt as before. Is this possible? If so, I do not know how to process it. I hope you can advise my brother Fu Zhi about this. I myself am ready to live in abject poverty, but this concerns the livelihood of my family, so I cannot leave the matter unsettled. I have just heard that the Tax Circuit is investigat29 ing famine. Would this be an opportunity for pursuing it? (letter 17 ) Apparently Fu Shan felt somewhat ashamed to ask the government to exempt his land from taxation, even though he felt compelled to do so because of the need to feed his family. At the end of the letter he added: "After reading, please burn this immediately; do not keep it. Be sure of that." But Wei Yi' ao so treasured Fu Shan's calligraphy that he failed to honor Fu Shan's request and thus preserved an important historical document because of its calligraphic value. Fu Shan repaid Wei Yi'ao for his help by writing calligraphy, painting, and providing medical services for his family and friends. In his letters, Fu Shan noted that he had produced a painting of bamboo (letter 3) and executed a set of hanging scrolls for Wei (letter 8 ). Wei Yi' ao' s aid went beyond the financial. When necessary, he provided Fu Shan and his friends with political protection. Fu Shan's handscroll of eighteen letters records his narrow escape from imprisonment or even death. Around 1652, Fu Shan was lodging at the home of his friend Yang Fangsheng, a descendant of a Ming official in Y angqu county. According to Fu Shan, one day, during a gathering of friends, a young man who was the son-in-law of

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Zhang Zhong, Fu Shan's brother-in-law, suddenly collapsed and died after getting off a swing in the garden. Hearing this, a powerful local figure who had had a quarrel with the Yang family seized the opportunity to advance the interests of his clique and charged Yang Fangsheng, Fu Shan, and several others with the death (letter 10 ). Fu Shan wrote to Wei Yi' ao asking for help. The letter reads in part: If the case is sent to you, please have your office make favorable comments about us .... At all levels of government-county, prefecture and province-please do your best to handle it. We have no one to rely on in the county government; I do not know whether you know someone there. If you do, is the relationship closer We rely on you to take care of this matter, and then your poor friends (Fu Shan andY ang Fangsheng] will not muddle things up. (letter ro) Letters nine to seventeen all deal with this case. Fu Shan repeatedly asked Wei Yi'ao to use his power and influence to help get the cas·e dismissed. Since there is no other record of the case, there is no way to verifjr Fu' s account of the situation. But with Wei Yi'ao' s help, the case against Fu Shan and his friends was dropped. Conflict between former members of the elite and their local rivals was sometimes intense in the early Qing. With the advent of the new dynasty, newly powerful local strongmen in the north displaced former members of the elite who had lost their political privileges during the dynastic transition and the subsequent redistribution of political and economic power. In Fu Shan's writings, we often find descriptions of how he and his Shanxi friends were bullied by their "ferocious neighbors," probably new powerholders who rose as the social structure changed under Manchu rule. Fu Shan wrote in letter fourteen that his rivals, "relying on their close relations with the Manchus, were plotting desperately to further their ends. It is really hateful" (letter 14). Describing the difficult situation in Shanxi, Fu Shan sighed, "At present it is really hard for us to live in our villages" (letter 17 ). The accusations against Fu Shan andYang Fangsheng were probably a result of the conflict among local elites, new and old. In these shifting circumstances, Wei Yi' ao now became the 30 political backer ofFu Shan and his friends. In a study of the behavior of the local elite in T ongcheng, Anhui, during the Ming-Qing transition, Hilary Beattie points out that "most of the elite, even those in office, undoubtedly put local, family interests and the maintenance of their position and prestige a long way above the abstract notion of loyalty to a fallen dynasty or a few outward symbols of Chinese cultural identity." As she notes, "Overall, ... collaboration seems to have been more com31 mon in T ongcheng than retirement." The same situation prevailed in Shanxi. In his biography ofDai Yunchang (1579-1667), a former Ming official, which he composed at the request ofDai's son Tingshi, Fu Shan wrote:

. 9q

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When writing the biography of Mr. [Dai Yunchang], I deliberately chose to dwell on the twenty-three or -four years since he retired to Lutai mountain in the year jiashen 32 [1644 ], where his behavior matched that of Guan You' an in the Han dynasty. His friend, Mr. Yang Huifang ofPuban, who obtained his jinshi degree in the same year as Mr. Dai, also lived in retirement and died a few years earlier. Alas! In the year dingchou [1637 ], nineteen people from Shanxi received the jinshi degree. Since jiashen [1644], when Mr. Zhang Yuanfu ofXaoyi fought loyally and died on the city wall, there have been only these two in Shanxi who, when deciding between collaboration or retire. mora1'mtegnty. . 33 ment, kept therr The implication ofFu Shan's remarks is clear: of the nineteen men from Shanxi who received the jinshi degree in 1637, one died in the war, two chose retirement-Dai Yunchang andYang H uifang-and the rest served the Manchus. Those who remained loyal to the fallen dynasty tended to be few and far between. It was therefore not uncommon in the early Qing forMing loyalists to seek political backing from sympathetic Chinese officials in the Qing government. Ironically, economic and political support from these officials was important for the survival of many Ming loyalists. Forced to struggle for a living, Fu Shan noted sadly that he was unable to find a place of peaceful retreat in the traditional style of the ancient hermits (letter 16). Many Ming loyalists-Fu Shan among them-were careful to maintain relationships with Chinese officials in the Qing government. One such official whom Fu Shan cultivated was Yang Sisheng (1621-63), a native ofZhili province and jinshi of 1646, who was appointed surveillance commissioner of Shanxi in 1655. During his service in Shanxi, Yang and Fu became friends. In 1656, Yang was promoted to the post of provincial administrative commissioner of Henan province. But both Fu Shan and Dai Tingshi kept in touch with him. Yang Sisheng wrote to Fu from Henan, asking him to carve seals for him, and Fu and Dai made plans to visit Yang in Henan and bring him 34 artworks and antiques. In 1663, when Yang Sisheng became critically ill in Qinghua, Henan, Dai Tingshi sent him a valuable landscape handscroll entitled Temple on a Mountainside (liangshan louguan tu) by the famous Northern Song painter Yan W engui, with a colophon by Fu Shan; both painting and colophon survive today in the collection of the Osaka Municipal Museum in Japan. 35 Fu traveled hundreds of miles to try to cure Yang, but Yang died be36 fore Fu's arrival. Fu Shan had close relations with another high-ranking official, Sun Maolan, a Chinese bannerman from Liaodong. Sun served as the provincial administrative commissioner of Shanxi from 1646 to 1652. Int~oduced by Wei Yi'ao, Fu Shan became a friend of Sun Maolan and his son Sun Chuan (fl. 1646-1704). Both father and son received medical care from Fu when they were ill. Sun Maolan was promoted to the post of governor ofNingxia province in 1652.

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Through Wei Yi'ao, Fu Shan kept in touch with the Sun family (letter 3) and 37 remained a lifelong friend of Sun Chuan. Qing historians have noted that in the early years of the conquest, the Man, chus relied most heavily on Han Chinese from two regions: on Chinese ban, nermen and the scholar,gentry from areas in Liao,Shen in northeast China; 38 and on the scholar~gentry from Zhili, Shandong, and Shanxi in north China. Sun Maolan belonged to the first group, Wei Yi'ao andYang Sisheng to the second. Most governors and many senior officials at the provincial level were Chinese bannermen, spoke both Manchu and Chinese, and maintained tradi, tional Chinese mores. Their ethnic background made them more acceptable to 39 the Chinese, and they played a crucial role in ruling China. Association with Chinese officials in the Qing government again proved cru~ cial for Fu Shan in what became known as the "Case of the Red, Robed Daoist." In the fifth month of 1654, Song Qian, a native ofHuangzhou prefecture, was arrested by the Qing government for organizing anti, Manchu activities in Shanxi and Henan. In his confession, Song Qian named Fu Shan as a sympathizer and insider, with the result that the following month Fu Shan was jailed in Taiyuan. Fu Shan was called "The Red, Robed Daoist" (Zhuyi daoren) because of his unusual dress: hence the name ~ven to the case by later histori~ ans. Details of the case are well documented in three reports submitted to the Shunzhi emperor by three judicial departments in the central government in 40 the fourth and tenth months of 1654 and in the seventh month of 1655. Fu Shan was tortured in jail, and his son, Fu Mei, and younger brother, Fu Zhi, were also taken into custody. During the interrogations, Fu Shan flatly denied any association with Song Qian. At this critical juncture, Fu Shan told his interrogators that he was a friend of Sun Maolan, then serving as governor 41 of Ningxia province, and gave the name of Wei Yi'ao as a witness. What is notable in Fu Shan's statement is that he mentions his relationship with two Qing officials. Although Sun Maolan had left Shanxi more than two years earlier, no doubt he still had influence there. When the case was investigated, Wei Yi' ao, then living in Pingding, was on three, year leave because of his fa, ther' s death. He was called in, and heedless of the consequences, he confirmed Fu Shan' s statement. His testimony proved to be the turning point in the 42 case. As a result, several Qing officials helped to resolve the case favorably for 43 Fu Shan: Sun Chuan exerted himself to get Fu Shan released, and in the central government two senior officials, Gong Dingzi (1616-73) and Cao Rong 44 (1613-85), did their best to influence the case. Fu Shan was finally released in the seventh month of 1655. Wei Yi'ao was appointed prefect ofXinzhou, the ancestral home ofFu Shan' s family, in the tenth month of 1656. He resigned the post two months later on the excuse of illness and returned to his hometown of Baoding in Zhili, northeast of Shanxi. On behalf ofWei' s friends in Shanxi and himsel£


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Fu Shan executed twelve hanging scrolls for Wei as a farewell gift.


The text

of these scrolls was an essay by Fu Shan, describing how much Wei Yi' ao loved wine. It reads: As Brother Lianlao sets off for the North, frank words are presented in farewell: 46 Around the year jichou [r649) or gengyin [r65o), a wine lover from Shanggu came to Shanxi as an official without specific duties. He was interested not in his post but in wine and even brought the "sprit of wine" with him into his office. He called himself the "Wine Daoist" (Jiu Daoren). This wine lover had once been the prefect ofPingding. I have heard from friends in Pingding that the Wine Daoist described himself as "coming from a family that had for generations not only plowed the land bur studied the Confucian classics and followed the rites and models of scholars." In the year renwu [r642], he became a juren. 7 Mr. Jiaoshan [YangJisheng, r5r6-55t was a native ofShanggu and advocated follow49 8 ing the teachings of Xu Heng [r209-8rt but not ofJingxiu [Liu Yin, 1249-93). I do not follow either, althoughJiaoshan's reason for rejectingJingxiu differs from mine. Because the Wine Daoist is a true friend of wine, he would rather offend the teachings ofJingxiu [than give up wine). 50 As I was about to write these scrolls, Mr. Zong Huang [fl. 1644-56) said to me: "The Wine Daoist is, after all, an official; why don't you say something about what he achieved?" I said: "Since he himself did not take his official duties seriously, ifi mention them, then not o~ly would I offend the Wine Daoist but also wine." I only ask of the Wine Daoist that when he is drinkinf wine, he must, in the spirit of drunkenness, 5 ask the Worthies of the Bamboo Grove of the Wei [220-65) andJin [265-420) why they shunned the world by drinking wine. He will then have a good excuse to desert Jingxiu. But since the trend today is to choose one's steps and words carefully, he first took 2 his fellow townsman Liu Jingxiu as a model. 5 It was only later that he admired the behavior of the Drunken Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and began to drink. He became a heavy drinker-not a day or an hour went by when he did not drink. I truly do not know why he abandoned Jingxiu and emulated the behavior of the distant Xi 53 [Kang) and Ruan Qi]. Mr. Yan [Yanzhi, 384-456) once wrote ofShuye [Xi Kang) in a poem, "The wings of the luan [a sort of phoenix) sometimes snap; but who can tame the temper of 54 a dragon?" He wrote of Sizong [Ruan Ji), "His long whistle shows what he thought of people; his violation of ritual naturally startles the crowd." These are descriptions of Mr. Yan himsel£ which seems quite fitting. As for [Mr. Yan's) description of Bo5 lun [Liu Ling] 5 -"Immersing himself in drink to conceal his intent, who will know that he does not indulge in licentious banqueting"?-it is a foul defense for those who love alcohol. But I know Bolun would not accept such a defense. Bolun would say of himself that since he is also a dragon-and-!uan-like man who disregards ritual and startles the crowd, why should he not indulge in licentious banqueting? A man who dares become a wine lover should not care about trying to excuse himself as a "licentious banqueter." The Wine Daoist is one who dares eat at the licentious banquet.

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I once worried that Jingxiu's Confucian ethics might restrain the Wine Daoist, but the Wine Daoist paid no heed. Jingxiu had no intention of improving society; he only lectured and hummed poetry. Although the Wine Daoist apparently intended to help the world, the world is difficult to help, and so he helped himself to wine. 56 But in doing so, he also comes close to hiding his intent. 57 He may use "hiding intent" to excuse himself to Jingxiu, but such an excuse violates the spirit of wine. Wine is the liquid of genuineness and purity. Genuineness allows no falsity; purity admits no mixing. Even though Jingxiu disliked addiction to alcohol, how could he seek sincerity and purity and yet reject wine~ I have taken Jingxiu to make my point, elaborating on the ideas of the ancients. Jingxiu was a man of the Jin [ms- 1234], not of the Song. In the past, some scholars have criticized him for his "Prose-Poem on Crossing theY angtze"("Dujiang fu"); 58 but even Jingxiu would have laughed. Jingxiu's poems often evoke the Wine Daoist's interest in wine. Since the Wine Daoist also studies poet~{" he should recite Jingxiu's poems. Written by the Man of 5 Qiaohuang, Zhenshan.

This set of scrolls is important both for its text and its calligraphy (discussed in detail in Chapter 4; see pp. 229-36). From the beginning, Fu Shan downplayed the political aspects ofWei Yi'ao's office in Shanxi by claiming that Wei had no specific administrative responsibilities. 60 He mentioned that Wei Yi'ao had been the prefect ofPingding but said nothing about his accomplishments there. Fu Shan also noted that when Wei's friends asked him to compose an essay as a farewell gift, they suggested that he praise Wei's achievements as an official. Fu Shan claimed that, were he to do so, he would offend not only Wei Yi'ao but also wine, since Wei was interested in one but not the other. "Wine" in Fu Shan's essay represents not only sincerity, innocence, and sometimes irrationality but also political protest in a passive form. Wine is the metaphorical opposite of"officialdom," the political establishment, and the strict, hierarchical social order maintained by power. Wei Yi'ao, as a ConfUcian scholar, presumably was interested in helping the world. But the Manchu conquest of 1644made that difficult. Although forced by circumstances to accept im official post, he passively resisted the political apparatus of which he was a part by turning to alcohol, as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove had done centuries ago. By explicitly stressing Wei Yi'ao' s love of wine, Fu Shan excused his friend's serving an alien regime. By avoiding discussion of Wei's official service in Shanxi, Fu Shan implicitly made the moral judgment that serving the Manchus was understandable, though regrettable. In his essay, Fu Shan frequently mentioned Liu Yin, a Neo-Confucian scholar from Wei Yi'ao's hometown. Since Fu Shan knew that Wei would follow his master Sun Qifeng and study N eo-Confucianism after retiring from office, he took this opportunity to express his own opinion, having always

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been critical ofN eo~ Confucianism, especially that of the Song~ Yuan transitional period: he thought not only that it was something of a sham but also that it missed an important principle. Thus Fu Shan's mention, at the endofhis essay, ofLiu Yin's "Prose~ Poem on Crossing the Yangtze River" is significant. Liu's work recounts a debate be~ tween a northern scholar representing the Jin and a southern swordsman argu~ ing for the Song. They debate whether the Jin will conquer the Song before the Jin cross theY angtze to attack. After the northerner's eloquent argument in favor of the Song's collapse, the work ends with the northerner saying, "Now the dawn is coming, the Song is in peril, my China will be unified..•. Following heaven and human wills, there will be an expedition but no battle.••. Who says the Song cannot be conquered?" The southern swordsman then loses heart and, crawling against a wall, cannot speak; his heart is broken and he knows not what 61 to rep1y. The work ofLiu Yin, a Chinese living under the Jin, evoked much contro~ versy. Some complained that Liu Yin "gloated over the misfortune of the Song'' in giving the Jin, an alien regime, victory in the debate. Others argued that Liu Yin's intention was to warn the Song and stimulate action that might 62 lead to survival. Wei Yi'ao' s teacher Sun Qifeng held the latter view. Fu Shan, pointing out that Liu Yin lived under the Jin rather than the Song, seems to defend Liu Yin. But, in the context here, where serving the Manchus is deemed an unfortunate necessity, an intent to defend Liu Yin seems unlikely. Although Liu Yin lived in the Jin, he was nevertheless Chinese. In his essay, Fu Shan placed Liu Yin in the awkward position of a Chinese speaking for the enemy. From Fu Shan's point of view, Liu Yin was a philosopher who did not adhere to a key Confucian principle: that a distinction was to be drawn be~ tween Chinese and foreigner (hua~yi). Fu wrote: In the hundred or so years from the Song to the Yuan, there was no single outstanding person. So-called people of virtue were ignorant and did nothing more than follow superficially the teaching of Cheng Hao [1032-86], Cheng Yi [ro33-no7 ], and Zhu Xi [II30-r2oo ]. They touted themselves as orthodox Confucianists to promote their own status. They ignored the distinction between Chinese and alien, sovereign and subordinate, yet they talked glibly about the Sage's interpretation of the Spring 63 and Autumn [Annals]. They truly arouse one's scorn.

Thus for Fu Shan, the crucial mistake ofNeo-Confucianism was its neglect of the distinction between Chinese and aliens or non-Han Chinese, and be~ tween sovereign and subordinate. Hence, on the occasion ofWei Yi'ao's de~ parture, he wrote these "frank words of farewell." But Fu Shan could hardly express his ideas as frankly as he would have wished, given the political situa~ 64 tion-he later wrote to Wei Yi'ao and asked him to read "between the lines.''

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An interesting question arises: Why on the one hand did Fu Shan continue to seek assistance from Qing officials, while on the other he still believed that the distinction between Chinese and aliens or non~ Han Chinese should be maintained? To answer this question, we need to consider the ambivalence of the Chinese such of Wei Yi' ao who served the Manchu government. Wei visited his hometown about r649 after serving in Shanxi for three years. Accompanied by friends, he visited the Jingye Monastery (Jingye si). A poem he wrote on this trip reads: Three years an official, now I return: How sorrowful the scene of my old hometown! No longer old swallows fly to the houses ofWang and Xie; There is just First Terrace [where the monastery stands], 65 cheerless and cold.

The third line is an allusion to a poem on dynastic change by the Tang poet Liu Yuxi (772-842). The poem tells us that following the change of dynasties, the old Wang and Xie families, powerful during the Six Dynasties, declined in the Tang. In the early years of the Manchu conquest, vast lands in the north, including the area ofWei Yi'ao's hometown, were granted to the Manchu aristocracy by the government. Many Chinese, including Wei Yi'ao's teacher Sun Qifeng, were forced to leave. Wei's poem paints a forlorn picture of his native place after the dynastic change. The phrase "how sorrowful" (busheng'ai) was also used by him in other poems.66 Indeed, the melancholy tone characteristic of Wei's poems reveals an important aspect of his person~ ality: that deep in his heart, he mourned that the Ming dynasty had fallen to the alien regime for which he worked. This was a sorrow shared by many Chinese. The Manchus were in the minority, and to rule China effectively and effi~ ciently, they relied heavily on the Chinese elite. To the Han Chinese who took office under the Manchus in the early Qing, serving an alien regime was a pragmatic choice, as the Manchus well knew. To keep power in their hands, the Manchus practiced institutionalized discrimination against the Chinese. Although some Han Chinese officials held high positions in the Qing gov~ ernment, in general their position was inferior to that of their Manchu coun~ terparts. Given the strict Manchu policy of discrimination, Han Chinese offi~ cials knew that no matter how high in the government they rose, they were still second~class citizens, and frustration became deeply rooted. Furthermore, those who took office in the early years of the Manchu conquest knew that assisting an alien government to rule their own people would inevitably be stigmatized by later generations, and those who had earlier served tbe Ming would be labeled in future histories as "officials who served two dynasties." To a traditional Chinese official, there was probably no description more


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shamefuL One means of assuaging their guilt was to assist Ming loyalists to survive these difficult times by offering them economic assistance and politi~ cal protection. Many Han Chinese officials like Wei Yi'ao helped Ming loyal~ 67 ists, albeit to differing degrees. Such help, they hoped, would provide some justification for their "betrayaL" During this period of political transition, it was the case not only that loyalist scholars and artists needed Han Chinese officials but also that the officials badly needed the loyalists. The relationship between these two groups was reciprocaL The officials provided the loyalists with economic support and political protection; the loyalists could provide officials with what they wanted most-justification for their actions in the eyes of history: it was the loyalists who would determine history's assessment of their participation in the Manchu government. That Han Chinese officials were the principal acquirers of works produced by loyalist artists like Fu Shan only increased loyalist~official interaction and the complexity of their relationship. Support by officials for loyalists like Fu Shan may have been chiefly economic, but their dealings were political and social as well: they 68 shared a loyalty to certain ideals and were often bound by ties of friendship. In the study of early Qing culture, the role played by frustrated and guilt~ ridden Chinese officials should not be neglected. Wei Yi'ao's opinion ofFu Shan is an indication ofhow Chinese officials who served the Manchus viewed such loyalists. In a poem praising a landscape painting by Fu Shan, Wei referred to a rock from Mount Shouyang, an allu~ sion that drew a parallel between Fu Shan and two Shang dynasty (ca. 16th 69 century-ca. nth century B.c.) loyalists, Bo Yi and Shu Qi. Bo Yi and Shu Qi refused to serve the new Zhou dynasty after it overthrew the Shang, and, be~ cause they refused to eat Zhou rice, died of starvation on Mount Shouyang. They thus became symbols ofloyalty in Chinese culture. Wei Yi'ao was well aware that Fu Shan asked for help from Chinese officials in the Qing govern~ ment. Nevertheless, he felt that Fu Shan, by refusing to serve the Qing gov~ ernment, deserved praise as the Bo Yi and Shu Qj of his time. HISTORIOGRAPHY AND DYNASTIC MEMORY

Immediately after being released from jail in 1655, Fu Shan wrote a poem enti~ tled "Written in a Mountain Temple When Ill": Ill, I have returned to this mountain temple; Still alive, I have walked in shame from jaiL From now on Who knows how many years are left? I have kept my head to see my old mother 70 Yet feel too guilty to show my face in my homeland.

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Several poems similar to this one and composed during the same period express the shame and guilt Fu Shan felt after his release from prison. Two lines from another read: Dying, I would have felt many regrets; 71 Not dying, I feel ashamed.

Why did Fu Shan feel so guilty about his release? He knew, for one thing, that the three other Shanxi men involved in the case, Xiao Feng, Zhu Zhenyu, and Zhang Qi, were cruelly punished: Xiao was hanged, Zhu and Zhang were beaten and exiled. Fu was the only one not to be sentenced: his reputation and celebrity status helped him survive. But Fu Shan apparently felt ashamed that he had not died a martyr. Although he did not tell us in his poems what his regrets would have been had he died, we may assume from what he wrote elsewhere that he felt he had another important reason for remaining alive besides tending his aged mother: a duty to use his brush to record the history of the dynastic transition so that future historians would have a record of what he regarded as the true course of events. This second duty, like the first, provided him with moral justification for continuing to live under an alien regime. Growing up in a world in which Confucian philosophy was the dominant view, Fu Shan was keenly aware of the importance of historiography. His strong interest in this subject, even before the fall of the Ming, was manifested when, in the early 164os, he compiled his reference work on Han history. As the warehouse of collective memory, written history had always played a significant role in traditional China. History texts, together with the Confucian classics, formed the canon of Confucian teaching. Not only was the knowledge needed for governing the country drawn from history, but also histories were often written to support dynastic legitimacy. This was especially true after periods of dynastic transition. Rulers of a new dynasty paid great attention to historiography, and official histories were often written under the personal supervision of the monarch. Those opposed to a new dynasty typically wrote history from their own point of view. The importance to Ming loyalists of writing a nonofficial history was best expressed by Huang Zongxi (r610-95), a prominent loyalist historian from Zhejiang, who noted, "Our dynasty may 172 pass, but its history will not disappear.' In the ninth month of 1644, Fu Shan took refuge in Yuxian and carefully read through the Collected Annotations to the History of the Western Han (Han shu pinglin) published by Ling Zhilong (fl. 1576-87) in 1581. In one of his marginal notes to the book, Fu criticizes Ban Gu (A.D. 32-92), the author of the History of the Western Han, for not taking a strong moral stand when commenting on individuals' conduct during dynastic crises. Then, in red ink, he wrote: I, a Daoist, live in a period a thousand years distant from the Han dynasty, and I have nothing to do with the Liu imperial family of the Han. But when I read of the loyal


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behavior ofZhai Gongzi, I become excited and shed tears. A vivid image of this hero flashes across my mind and does not leave. I quickly add water to my inkstone and make fresh red ink [to write these comments], as if the blood ofZhai Gongzi flowed 3 down to the brush tip?

Fu Shan's annotations show that he paid special attention to incidents of dy~ nastic transition recorded in the histories. Fu Shan's concern for history, of course, was shaped in large measure by the political environment in which he lived. He once admonished his son, Fu Mei, and nephew Fu Ren that they should read carefully such important his~ torical texts as the Records of the Grand Historian and History of the Western Han. Then he pointed out: "As for the histories of the twenty~one dynasties, I have already said to you that the History of the ]in, History of the Liao, and the History of the Yuan can be treated as records but should not be viewed as orthodox his~ 74 tory." The Jin (m5-1234), Liao (907-II25), and Yuan dynasties, like the Qing, were founded by nomadic tribes from the north who were regarded by the Chinese as aliens. To say that the histories of these dynasties should not be viewed as orthodox history was to claim that these dynasties were not legiti~ mate, even though they had governed Chinese territory or, in the case of the Yuan, had governed the whole China. Not only did Fu Shan study the old histories, but he was himself a zealous writer of history. A seal impression found on an album of small regular~script calligraphy by Fu Shan, now in the Harold Wong Collection in Hong Kong, throws light on Fu Shan's view of himself as a historian (see Fig. 2.14, p. rr3). The legend reads: "Follower (or servant] of the Grand Historian" ("T aishi~ 75 gong niumazou"). This phrase appears at the opening of the "Letter to Ren An" ("Bao Ren An shu") by the great historian Sima Qian (ca. 145-ca. 85 B.c.) of the Han dynasty.76 The words "Grand Historian" refer to Sima Qian's fa~ ther Sima Tan (d. no B.c.), who had served as an official at the Han court in charge of the calendar and historiography. Sima Qian had been his assistant and, in ro8 B.c., succeeded to his father's position as Grand Historian. It is clear that Fu Shan was referring to Sima Qian, author of Records of the Grand Historian, the most famous of all Chinese histories. The letter to Ren An was written by Sima Qian after suffering the agony and humiliation of castration for his outspoken defense of Li Ling, a Chinese general who had surrendered to the Huns. In his letter, Sima Qian explained to his friend why he preferred to live with dishonor rather than commit suicide. He claimed that the only thing sustaining his will to live was his desire to complete the Records of the Grand Historian. By borrowing the phrase "A follower of the Grand Histo~ rian," Fu Shan expressed his intention ofliving like the Grand Historian in shame and humiliation and fulfilling of his duty as a historian by bearing wit~ ness to a great event, the Ming~Qing dynastic transition.

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Driven by his strong sense of duty, Fu Shan began collecting historical rna~ terials at the start of the Manchu conquest. In a long letter to Dai Tingshi in r646, he told his friend that Yuan Jixian had sent him a letter before his execu~ tion. In the letter, Yuan had asked him to document the political events Yuan himself had witnessed. For this reason, Fu made great efforts to collect Yuan's scattered writings. In the same letter, Fu said that although he had taken ref~ uge in Yuxian when Li Zicheng' s army conquered the city ofT aiyuan, he had nonetheless written an account of the fall ofT aiyuan based on others' reports. He asked Dai, who was in Beijing when Li Zicheng's army entered the capital, 77 to send him any writings of his own about the event. The devastating wars left many dead in the r64os. Fu Shan wrote numer~ ous biographies during these years to commemorate members of his family, 8 his friends, and his friends' relatives who had died during the turbulence? In early r649, Jiang Xiang, a former Ming general who later surrendered to the Qing while retaining his military rank, led an insurrection at Datong, 79 Shanxi. In the fourth month, Jiang's army reached Fenzhou. Xue Zongzhou, who, with Fu Shan, had masterminded the Sanli Academy student petition of the r63os, and Wang Rujin, another close friend ofFu's from the Sanli Acad~ emy, participated in the armed insurrection and subsequently died in battle at T aiyuan. In the eighth month of the same year, the insurrection was put down by the Qing government. Soon after his friends' death, Fu wrote an essay to commemorate them entitled "The Biographies ofTwo Men from Fenzhou." F u' s detailed account of their actions has led some scholars to believe that he was directly involved in the insurrection. Fu Shan wrote that as Xue and Wang prepared to join the army to attack T aiyuan, a friend tried to persuade them to desist. Xue replied with emotion: "We know very well that it is uncer~ tain whether we shall win or fail. But if we hesitate after seeing the flag of our Ming, we would not be men." 80 At the end of the essay, Fu Shan commented: Faced with such [brave J behavior, ordinary people are afraid that discussing it will offend the government and so keep silent. Since ancient times, there has never been a dynasty that did not fall. But after its fall, there have always been a few subjects who remained faithful to [their dynastyJ regardless of whether they themselves would eventually succeed or fail. These people were respected and praised even by succeed~ ing dynasties. One may treat such [brave] behavior as taboo; but why then did Em~ 82 81 peror Taizu take Bo Yi and Shu Qi as examples to criticize Wei Su [1303-72]2 Who was the founding father of our dynasty2 How narrow~minded ordinary people can be! In the future, there must be men of virtue who will follow those [loyal to their 83 dynasty] ! Here, the influence of Sima Qian on Fu Shan's historiography is evident: as in many biographies Fu Shan wrote, he followed the model established by Sima Qian, who in the Records of the Grand Historian often appended a short com~ ment to biographies, beginning always with the phrase "The Grand Historian


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comments" ("T aishigong yue"). In similar fashion, Fu Shan often ended his biographies with a short commentary that begins: "Fu Shan comments" ("Fu 84 . ] comments" ("D anyazt· yue") .85 Shan yue") or "D anyazt. [F u Sh an's so b nquet From the time of Sima Qian, the biography was intended to be relatively ob~ jective account of the life of its subject (although in fact it was often highly 86 selective). In the commentary that followed, however, the writer was free to offer his judgment of historical figures and events. These commentaries be~ came a key to understanding the moral stance of the writer and the view of history that he wished to project. Fu Shan knew that his account of the historical events of the late Ming and early Qing would contradict points in the official accounts. He sometimes be~ 87 gan his biographical commentaries with the words, "Yeshishi yue" or "Lush~ ishi yue," 88 instead of"Fu Shan yue." Both mean "a nonofficial historian com~ ments" and demonstrate his courage in writing history unacceptable to the new regime. The use of"yeshishi"("a nonofficial historian") was extremely sen~ sitive, even dangerous, during this period because anything "nonofficial" was politically taboo. Sun Qifeng, the loyalist philosopher mentioned above, was accused of using such a term in his writing and would have been punished by the Qing government had he not received protection from an unknown quar~ 89 ter. By labeling himself as a nonofficial historian, Fu Shan placed himself squarely in opposition to the Manchus. His careful accounts of the actions of those who died fighting Li Zicheng and the Manchus show how strong was his intention to record the history of his time to encourage later generations. THE APPEAL OF Y AN ZHENQING

If this was an age in which history was treated as an ideological vehicle, it was equally an age in which the art of calligraphy assumed a political hue. In his Admonition to My Son (Xunzi tie), Fu Shan wrote: When I was twenty or so, there was little I did not copy among [rubbings of] regularscript calligraphy still in circulation by the masters of the Jin and Tang, yet I achieved not even a small degree oflikeness. By chance, I acquired a calligraphy by Zhao 90 Mengfu entitled Poems on Mount Fragrance (Xiangshan shi). Loving its dexterity, fluency, and beauty, I copied it. After copying it only a few times, I achieved an appearance that looked almost genuine. The reason [I grasped Zhao Mengfu so quickly] was simple. It was like someone who had tried to model himself on a man of honor but, finding this difficult, gave up the effort and began associating with unprincipled people. Such a person inevitably comes close to being like his new associates, so that there is almost no difference between them. As I matured, I decried Zhao's behavior and also became disgusted with the superficiality and vulgarity of his calligraphy, 91 which, like Xu Yanwang's personality, has no backbone. I returned to the work of Yan Zhenqing, whom the last four or five generations of my ancestors had taken as

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their model, and studied it painstakingly. But my wrist [habit of writing] was already 92 spoiled, and [my calligraphy] was not as firm and as vigorous, as strong and as straight, as my ancestors'. How harmful it is to associate with unprincipled people! I do not know why Dong Qichang said that there has been no calligrapher who exceeded Mengfu in the past five hundred years. I now have a true understanding [of calligraphy], but truly I cannot understand [why Dong said what he did). I have written this poem in Zhao's manner in order to prevent my son and grandsons from making the mistake [of taking Zhao as a model). There is something here about how to behave as a man. Zhao diligently studied Wang Xizhi, but because what he learned was faulty, [his calligraphy] was soft and pretty. Thus mind and hand cannot deceive each other. How dangerous it is! How dangerous! You must be careful to avoid such a serious mistake! I would rather [my calligraphy] be awkward, not skillful; ugly, not pleasing; deformed, not slick; spontaneous, not premeditated. To achieve these qualities, one must be able to rescue calligraphy from the wrong trend. The poem that follows this preface expresses the same idea: To learn calligraphy, master behavior first: When a man is exceptional, his calligraphy is naturally archaic. Violating the morality of the Duke ofZhou [fl. nth century B.c.) and Confucius (551-479 B.c.) Makes your writing useless. Liu Gongquan had a famous dictum: 93 Excellent calligraphy does not come only from a vigorous brush. Before studying Yan Zhenqing's calligraphy, Study his writings first. With Yan Zhenqing's spirit in your chest, 94 Your brush will press down barbarians. Of all Fu Shan's writings on calligraphy, the Admonition is the most frequently quoted by calligraphy historians. In it, Fu Shan relates his youthful enthusiasm for Zhao Mengfu and his later realization of the problem underlying Zhao's calligraphy: Zhao's lack of moral integrity. Zhao had been a member of the Song ruling house. After the fall of the Song, however, he had served the Yuan dynasty, generally regarded by the Chinese as alien. Like many of Fu's peers in the early Qing, Zhao had the dubious distinction ofbeing a "man of two dynasties," half regarded as a traitor. Thus Fu Shan felt impelled to return to a calligraphic model respected by his family for generations: Y an Zhenqing. In contrast to Zhao, Y an Zhenqing was a senior Tang official who had sacrificed his life in subduing an uprising against the Tang court. 95 He was thus viewed as a symbol ofloyalty. Fu Shan's stylistic preference for Yan Zhenqing is predicated on an idea held by many Chinese calligraphers: that 96 "calligraphy reflects the mind" ("Shu, xinhua ye"), that is to say, that calligraphy is a record of a calligrapher's inner world, good or bad. Accordingly, it is


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often held that good calligraphy springs only from good people. Hence the pronouncement of the great Tang calligrapher Liu Gongquan, to which Fu Shan refers in his poem: "The use of the brush lies in the heart. If your heart is upright, then your brush will be upright." It is difficult to demonstrate an association between a preference for Yan Zhenqing' s calligraphy and the politics of every period of history in which his style proved popular. Amy McNair has studied Yan Zhenqing's canonization 98 as a model of calligraphy during the Northern Song period. Thereafter, Yan Zhenqing was one of the masters whose calligraphic styles were regarded as 99 the orthodox models for calligraphy practice. Once Yan's calligraphy become a widely followed model, a preference for Yan's calligraphy was not necessarily politically significant. Dong Qichang, for example, studied Yan Zhenqing' s calligraphy, especially his regular script, from the time he was in his teens, yet this is hardly evidence of a strong political orientation. Whether a famous figure-even one potentially rich in symbolic meaning-is used politically and ideologically depends on the context in which the use occurs. Yan was a Confucian martyr, and, his story, deeply rooted in the collective memory of the Chinese literati, could be awakened and reused afresh at politically opportune moments. 100 Fu's Admonition to My Son is undated, nor does Fu tell us precisely when he began to despise Zhao Mengfu's calligraphy and turned to that ofYan Zhenqing. But his belittling of Zhao, who served an alien dynasty, and his praise ofYan, an official loyal to the ruling house, together with the line "Your brush will press down barbarians," make it clear that Admonition was written after the Manchu conquest. Just as we saw politics affecting historiography in the third section of this chapter, we see Fu's ideological stance affecting his selection of a calligraphic style. Presumably, during this period of intense political confro~tation, he was attempting to turn every cultural means into a political and ideological weapon. Other writings by Fu Shan confirm that his enthusiasm for Yan Zhenqing' s calligraphy developed in the r64os and r6sos. Sometime in the middle to late r67os, he wrote two notes describing his feelings when copying Yan's calligraphy. The first reads: I have [often] copied the calligraphy of the Two Wangs, and although I have written the names of Xizhi and Xianzhi thousands of times, I never paid them any special attention. But when I write the name ofLugong [Yan Zhenqing], it calls forth in me a feeling of profound respect. I do not know why. It is just as when reading the History of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi), I encounter Guan [Yu] [d. 219] and Zhang [Fei] 101 [d. 221], and unwittingly I am partial to them and take their side.

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The second short note not only tells us why Fu Shan studied Yan Zhenqing's calligraphy so earnestly but also offers an important clue as to when he was most actively engaged in mastering Yan's style: When I open a calligraphy by Yan Zhenqing, I dare not look at it lightly. This is because I have the reverence of a loyalist.... I copied Yan Zhenqing's calligraphy care102 fully thirty years ago .... [NowJ I am old! I am old!

The words Fu Shan uses for "old" are lao and mao, meaning "seventy or eighty years old." Thus Fu must have written the passage between 1676, when he was seventy, and his death in r684 or r685. The reference to copying Yan's calligraphy thirty years earlier, therefore, points to the late r64os or early r6sos. In sum, although Fu must have been exposed to Yan's calligraphy in his youth, it was only in the late r64os or early r6sos, just after the fall of the Ming, that he found himself attracted to Yan's work and began copying it intensively. It was Fu Shan's loyalty to the fallen Ming that fueled his pursuit of a new calligraphic style; by powerfully advocating artistic correctness in his adoption of Yan as a model, Fu reinforced his own political choice. Fu Shan's calligraphy of the r64os and r6sos shows evidence of the growing influence ofYan Zhenqing on his work. An album by Fu, now in the collection of the Suzhou Museum (Fig. 2.r), which was written in the twelfth month of the year jiashen (January 1645), has eighteen leaves (of which two are by Fu Mei) with over twenty poems by Fu Shan, all composed before 1644, except for one dated that year. A group of nineteen poems in the album date to the year 1642. In a note attached to these poems, Fu mentioned that he composed these poems on his birthday in the sixth month of the year renwu (r642), but he did not want to celebrate his birthday that year because it would remind him of a celebration for him held the previous year (r64r) by his older brother, who died two months before the poems were composed. The album was probably executed in Yuxian, when Fu Shan was living at the home of a friend, who had offered him refuge. There he had the time to recall some of his old poems and write them out. Most leaves are written in small regular script in the Zhong You and Wang Xizhi tradition: characters tilt slightly to the right, with an air of imbalance, a common feature in the calligraphy of Zhong You, Wang Xizhi, and Wang Xianzhi. In contrast to Yan Zhenqing's round, solid, convex, ink-saturated strokes, the strokes in these two leaves are thin and often concave. There is little or no indication of any influence from Yan. But Fu's style began to change in the late r64os and early r6sos. His handscroll of eighteen letters to Wei Yi' ao, all in running-cursive script, written in 103 · . change m . Fus' ca11·Igt he nme-year span firom 1648 to 1657, reveaIsa sty1·1st1C raphy. Along with other works from this period, these letters may help us better understand the changes taking place in his calligraphy.

104 •

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The Early Years of the Manchu Conquest • 107

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Fig. 2.5 Fu Shan, sixth letter to Wei Yi'ao in Danya mohan . Dared ca. 1648 .




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from draft-cursive script. Otherwise, however, the letter is graceful in style, full of delicately flexed strokes, often thin in their midsection, with carefully shaped endings. In contrast, letter ten shows the strong influence ofYan Zhenqing: its characters have a broad, sturdy stance, with strokes that are blunt-ended, full and even in width, plain and without detailed shaping. Despite their similarity in content, the calligraphic styles of the two letters are dramatically different. This dissimilarity in style raises the challenging question of the relationship between calligraphic style and textual content. Scholars of calligraphy have on occasion argued that an artist sometimes chooses a calligraphic style for its appropriateness to the subject matter or history of his text. Thus, for instance, using the style of the Tang master Chu Suiliang (596-658) to copy a Buddhist text is interpreted as appropriate, because of Chu's famous transcription of the

Priface to the Buddhist Canon (Shengjiao xu ). 105 An argument of this kind seems plausible enough, but it remains an untested hypothesis or wishful speculation, at best interesting and stimulating, unless it can be demonstrated that a particular calligrapher had attained mastery during a specific period of two or more calligraphic styles of a script type and could therefore make a choice. If not, how can we claim that he chose an appropriate style to write out a text? Even if he did, how could we know that he was purposively selecting, among his alternative styles, a style that would match the type or content of his text? Would he have used a style other than Chu's to write out a non-Buddhist text? We know, at least, something about Chu Suiliang' s calligraphy, and what we know argues against the theory that a style is usually selected to match a text. First, the year before Chu transcribed the Preface to the Buddhist Canon in 653, he used the same style to write out a secular text, the Memorial Stele of Fang Xuanling (Fang Xuanling bei). Second, there was a reason he made the same "choice" of style in writing out these two texts: he had no alternative. In his later years, Chu had but a single personal style in regular script, and he used it in writing both religious and nonreligious texts. The stylistic inconsistency we find in Fu Shan's calligraphy of the 1640s and 1650s is evidence of a tendency, already developed in the mid-Ming, for literati to expand their stylistic range. Although still regarded as literati or scholars, many calligraphers in the mid-Ming no longer held government office and, to a considerable degree, lived by painting and calligraphy. In the process they diversified their skills. Calligraphers in sixteenth-century Suzhou were representative of this trend. Wen Zhengming, for his large-sized running script, usually adopted a style strongly reminiscent of Huang Tingjian; but when writing small-sized running script, he wrote in a graceful personal style that was derived from the tradition of Wang Xizhi and Zhao Mengfu.

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Wen's close friend Zhu Yunming (r461-1527) mastered an even greater stylistic range. Zhu "wrote in the styles of many different masters" and "liked to 106 exhibit his technique." As Zhu's younger contemporary Wen Peng commented: In our dynasty, there are so many who excel in calligraphy that I cannot count them. But usually they write only in one style, and that style has only one idea behind it. Zhu Yunming alone was able to absorb the merit of all the different scripts. The reason is that when he was young, there was no calligraphic (style] he did not study; and having once studied it, there was none in which he was unable to achieve 107 complete mastery.

Wen Peng's comment is illuminating. The majority of calligraphers in the sixteenth century mastered only one style in any script type, as was the case with most calligraphers of previous dynasties, including Chu Suiliang andYan Zhenqing. But leading calligraphers of the sixteenth century like Zhu Yunming attempted to broaden their stylistic repertoire, and seventeenth-century calligraphers followed their example. Both Dong Qichang and Wang Duo strove to master a number of styles modeled on those of the ancient masters.108 When Wang Duo wrote small regular script, he followed the Zhong You tradition, but when writing larger characters in regular script, he imitated Y an Zhenqing or Liu Gongquan, whose styles were commonly believed to be aesthetically appropriate to large-sized calligraphy. In contrast, it was thought that Zhong You's style did not translate gracefully into a large format, and few if any calligraphies in large-sized characters were written in Zhong You's style. Particular styles fit particular formats better than do other styles. The limits placed on stylistic choice by the material aspects of a work are particularly worth COIJ.sidering, given the heavy emphasis in art-historical investigations on the literary, moral, and political connotations of particular texts. The divergence and tension between text and calligraphic style that can be found in some calligraphies challenge art historians to reconsider the validity of attempting to find compatibilities between text and style, with the latter slavishly serving the former. Fu Shan complains in his Admonition to My Son that his calligraphy was so spoiled by the early influence of Zhao Mengfu that it was difficult for him to adopt a new style based on Yan Zhenqing; despite his efforts, from time to tl.me old writing habits based on Zhao returned. But more and more the influence of Yan Zhenqing's style increased and began to dominate his calligraphy. A letter written about 1652-chronologically the seventeenth letter in the handscroll, although it is mistakenly mounted as the third109-shows brushwork substantially more solid and ink-saturated than do the earlier letters, as the stylistic elements ofYan's style took hold in his work (Fig. 2.9).

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(left) Fig. 2.9 Fu Shan, third letter to Wei Yi'ao in Danya mohan. Dared ca. 1652.

(right) Fig. 2.10 Fu Shan, last letter to Wei Yi'ao in Danya mohan. Dared ca. 1657.


This development continued even after 1652, as the eighteenth (and last) letter in the handscroll demonstrates (Fig. 2.10 ). This letter is one of the most stylistically distinctive in the handscroll; in particular, its characters have convex sides that bow outwards after the manner ofYan Zhenqing. The letter is datable to early 1657 by its mention of the twelve hanging scrolls-discussed in the preceding section-that Fu Shan wrote for Wei Yi'ao in 1657, when the latter retired from his office in Shanxi. Yan's brush manner and structural features are·even more pronounced in these twelve scrolls than in the letter (see Fig. 4.3, p. 230 ); thus the letter and scrolls testify to the decisive shift by the mid-165os in Fu's calligraphy toward Yan Zhenqing's style. Convincing evidence ofYan Zhenqing's influence on Fu's style is to be found in three albums of small regular-script calligraphy, probably written in the 165os. The first is now in the collection ofHarold Wong in Hong Kong.110 In this album, Fu Shan has copied Wang Xizhi's Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait (Fig. 2.n) and Yan Zhenqing's Record of the Altar of the Immortal of Mount Magu (Magu xiantan ji, Fig. 2.12).lll In his copy of Wang Xizhi's Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait (Fig. 2.13), Fu Shan has stressed the risks Wang took with balance, tilting his characters still further without overbalancing them. In his copy ofYan's Record (Fig. 2.14 ), we find that the characters in Fu's copy are more elongated and their structures lean more to the right than do the firm-footed, squared-off character structures ofYan's

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(left) Fig. 2.11 WangXizhi (ca. 303 -ca. 361), Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait. Dated 356. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper. Tokyo National Museum. (right) Fig. 2.12 Yan Zhenqing (709- 85), Record of the Altar of

the Immortal of Mount Magu, small regular-script version. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper. Collection of Robert H . Ellsworth, New York.

(left) Fig. 2.13 Fu Shan, Copy of Wang Xi zhi's "Poem Praising Dongfang Shuo's Portrait." Dated ca. 165os. Album of twelve leaves, ink on paper, each 23.5 x 13.5 em. Collection of Harold Won g. Hong Kong. (right) Fig. 2.14 Fu Shan, Copy ofYan Zhenqing's "Record of the Altar of the Immortal of Mount Magu." Dated ca. 1650s. Album of twelve leaves, ink on paper, each 23.5 x 13.5. Collection of Harold Wong. Hong Kong.

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(left) Fig. 2. 15 Fu Shan, Copy of "Book of Rites." Dared 1653/ 54· Album leaf, ink on paper, meas urements unavailable. After Kanda Kiichiro and Nishikawa Nei, Shin Fu Zen shu, p. 51. (right) Fig. 2. 16 Fu Shan, "Zhuangzi" in Small Regular Script. Dared Aibum of eight leaves. Ink on paper, each 18-4 x 11 .8 em. Shanxi Provincial Museum. After Fu Sha~~ shufa, p. 24. 1653/ 54·

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regular script, but their size differs from paragraph to paragraph, as does the height of the columns. This variation in height between paragraphs, together with the variation in character size, makes the definition of paragraphs clearer than usual, and the viewer's experience is thus conditioned and directed by a format that treats each paragraph as a distinct, independent unit. In this respect, Li's handscroll is similar in format to the zashu juan, which usually unrolls sufficiently to display concurrently several unrelated texts written in assorted scripts. Li' s scroll fails as a zashu juan only because it is written in a 153 single script (running-regular) rather than in several different scripts. Wang Duo, another key figure in late Ming calligraphy, should probably be given credit for pioneering the late Ming revival of the zashu juan/ ce. Like Dong Qichang, Wang Duo frequently copied ancient works, especially those reproduced in the Calligraphy Model-Book from the Chunhua Archives, and, like Dong, he treated copies more as creative works than as learning exercises. The overwhelming majority of the works in the Calligraphy Model-Book from the Chunhua Archives are short letters by calligraphers from successive dynasties. When Wang Duo copied these letters in a handscroll, he created a work with a distinctly "miscellaneous" appearance. Wang also excelled in more scripts than did Dong Qichang, including in his repertoire-in addition to regular, running, and cursive-both clerical and draft cursive scripts. In a calligraphy handscroll he executed for his friend Yugu in 1647 (Fig. 2.39), Wang Duo transcribed nine poems in four scripts: running, draft cursive, cursive, and regular. Immediately noticeable are the striking differences in the size of the characters



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Fig. 2.38 Li Rihua (1565- 1636), Calligra phy in RunningRegular Script. 1626. Portion. Handscroll, ink on paper, 23.5 x 550 em. Wong Nan-p'ing Family Collection.

Fig. 2.39 Wang Duo (1593-1652), Poems for Yugu in Assorted Scripts. Portion. Dated 1647. Handscroll, ink on satin, 25.6 x 271.7 em. Ho Ch'uang-shih Calligraphy Foundation.

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Fig. 2.40 Fu Shan, Selu miaohan. Dated ca. 1652. Handscroll, ink on paper, 31 x 603 em. Ho Ch'uang-shih Calligraphy Foundation. (Note: The panels of the illustration overlap slightly. Continues on facing page.)

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Fig. 2. 41 Fu Shan, section of Selu miaohan with many characters showing breakdown of script types.

he used for each poem. The fourth and seventh poems are both written in regular script, but the size of the characters in the seventh poem is at least twice the size of those in the fourth . This disparity divides the work into very clear sections. Although the handscroll was executed three years after the Manchus victory, it is reasonable to assume that Wang Duo was producing scrolls of a similar pattern before the fall of the Ming. But it was Fu Shan-equipped with more scripts even than Wang Duowho became the true master of the zashu juan/ce in the seventeenth century. Fu wrote more zashu juan/ ce than anyone else, and he pushed the format to an 154 extreme. Almost chaotic in its number of scripts and overall composition, the Selu miaohan scroll, introduced above, stands at the pinnacle of this achievement (Fig. 2.40 ). The rich graphic content of the Selu miaohan scroll demands careful study, to identifY its scripts, decipher unusual character forms, examine the stylistic features of its character composition and brush technique, and analyze its


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format and overall composition. The scroll is written in five scripts: seal, clerical, cursive, running, and regular. Moreover, some of these scripts are written in different styles. Ordinarily, for instance-as here-Fu Shan wrote small regular-script calligraphy in the manner of Zhong You and Wang Xizhi but modeled his medium-sized regular script on Yan Zhenqing. Fu Shan did not follow the historical evolution of Chinese writing-that is to say, he did not progress from seal script to clerical script and then on to cursive, running, and regular; rather, he chose a script quite unsystematically, although with an eye to maintaining visual interest. The handscroll is divided into 26 sections, usually defined by a change in script type. The text is a mixture ofFu Shan's notes, prescriptions, excerpts from three chapters of the Zhuangzi (which constitute the major portion of the handscroll), and Fu Shan's own commentaries on the Zhuangzi. The heterogeneity of this handscroll springs not only from the use it makes of five scripts available at the time but also from the breakdown that has occurred between scripts, a breakdown that allows "new" scripts to emerge (Fig. 2.41). For example, when writing in clerical script, Fu Shan introduced elements borrowed from seal-script inscriptions on ancient bronze vessels and seals. In one of his renderings of the character wei /h ("for," Fig. 2.42), for example, the character is written for the most part in seal script, but its upper portion is modeled on regular script, and one of its principal horizontal strokes on clerical script. In crossing the boundaries between script types, Fu was inspired-initially or in part-by the late Ming calligrapher Zhao Yiguang, the inventor of so-called cursive seal script, but Fu Shan's writing was so radical that it challenged the normative categories of script and resulted in a scroll whose format is bizarre and whose calligraphy is full of puzzles. The most striking feature of the Selu miaohan scroll is precisely this exaggerated use of unusual character forms, which makes this scroll probably the most eccentric and unreadable in Chinese history up to this point (Fig. 2.43). Whereas most seventeenth-century calligraphers made use of unusual character forms only in regular- and running-script calligraphy, Fu Shan used such forms in writing seal script as well and did so extensively. These strange forms were drawn from The Analysis of Characters as an Explanation ofWriting and from four dictionaries of ancient script compiled in the Song dynasty but still in use as the most authoritative dictionaries in Fu Shan's day: Guo Zhongshu's Hanjian; Xia Song's (984-1050) Dictionary of Ancient Scripts Compiled in Four Rhymes (Guwen sishengyun ); Du Conggu' s Dictionary of Seal Script and Guwen Script Compiled in Rhyming Order; and Xue Shanggong's Inscriptions on Ritual Bronze Vessels from Successive Dynasties. Fu Shan also incorporated the sealscript forms from these dictionaries into his running-script calligraphy. In the Selu miaohan scroll, for instance, there are at least three versions of the

Fig. 2 . 42 Fu Shan, character wei~ .

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Fig. 2.43 Fu Shan, section of Seltl miaohan with extensive use of unusual character forms.

character yu ~{'- ("in" or "at") derived from seal script (Fig. 2.44), all of which vary dramatically both from one another and from the character as it is commonly written. In some portions ofFu's scroll, the text is hardly readable without the assistance-in the case of the excerpts from the Zhuangzi-of the original text, since there is such a superabundance of unusual character forms. In two lines of running script, for example, in the twelfth section of the handscroll (Fig. 2.45), there are ten unusual character forms (zi -=f, xi iff~, yu *'yuan iJit wen M, shi ~ifi,jin ~~xi$;, wei~~ and ru ~11) that in the main are drawn from Xu Shen' s Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing and Guo Zhangshu's Hanjian. Other passages contain characters that are even more unusual in form, making the reading of this scroll well beyond the abilities of most literate

Fig. 2.44 Fu Shan, character yu # in three different forms.


Chinese. At times, Fu went so far as to invent new characters. We find one such invention in a section of the scroll in running script, where Fu has written the character pin Ht, "frown," four times (Fig. 2.46). Pin's radical, mu ( El ), meaning "eye," which occurs in characters having to do with the eyes, is normally written as a vertical rectangle with two horizontal strokes, standing to the left of the element bin ( :fi). But Fu Shan has laid the rectangle on its side, so that it is horizontal rather than vertical, and inserted into the center of bin. Fu commented on his innovation in a short note in small characters appended to the paragraph:

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(left) Fig. 2.45 Comparison of Fu Shan's unusual character forms and their sources: (middle column) an excerpt of Selu miaohan. (left-hand column) transcriptions of the excerpt in regular script. (right-hand column) sources of Fu Shan's unusual character forms . (right) Fig. 2.46 Fu Shan, section of Selu miaohan with an invented character form for pin !J'fi . Whatever the script, pin (a) was never written like this. Forced by circumstance, I wrote pin with a horizontal mu ( g) ). I had not intended this, but when I was writing pin, I forgot to write a vertical mu. I was unaware of this until I had finished the upper part (b) of bin, so I simply invented a new way to write mu.

Fu must have taken pleasure in his new invention-although the first unconventional pin was written accidentally, he used it three more times in the same paragraph. Fu knew very well, of course, that many of the character forms preserved in dictionaries had in the past either been purposely invented or had appeared spontaneously and become sanctioned by repeated use. Many so-called folk characters (suzi) had originated as simplifications or, occasion155 ally, as mistakes by those with little education. Once such character forms entered dictionaries, they became accepted alternatives. As Fu Shan no doubt posed the question: "Since the ancients could invent character forms, why shouldn't It Fu Shan's clerical script in the eighteenth section of the Selu miaohan scroll illustrates his imaginative approach to calligraphy (Fig. 2.47). Several stylistic features of the calligraphy in this section define it as clerical script: the horizontal strokes, for instance, are usually quite level, and some of the horizontal [c] and na [d] strokes exhibit a flared ending (or "swallow's tail," in calligra-



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Fig. 2.47 Fu Shan, section of clerical script in Selu miaohan.

phy's technical jargon) that is a distinctive feature of clerical script. But Fu Shan's clerical script here is hardly conventional. Fu was aware that clerical script derived from seal script, but before the excavation, in the twentieth century, oflarge numbers of bamboo and wood strips with writing from the Qin and Han periods, understanding of the transition from seal to clerical script was cloudy at best. In pursuing the sources of antique forms, Fu Shan gleaned what he could from the little that could be found in contemporary writings and, beyond that, used his imagination. Many unusual character structures he borrowed from guwen - a form of seal script supposedly earlier than Han clerical-script calligraphy-but he wrote them in clerical script style. Examples include the characters zhu ~~"various"; dong tn, "move"; and shou-t, "longev-

Fig. 2-48 Fu Shan, ch aracters zhu it, dong tQ , and shou



ity" (Fig. 2.48). The most striking eccentricity in this section is the form of the twocharacter phrase tiandi, "heaven and earth." Here tian 7\..., "heaven," is written as three short, parallel horizontal lines, one atop another, and di J~, "earth," is written in similar fashion, but with the lines broken in the middle. The forms for these two characters are not borrowed from dictionaries of seal script; they are instead the trigrams, or symbols, corresponding to heaven and earth in the Book of Changes. It had been believed for centuries that the eight trigrams were 156 the origin of the Chinese writing system. By representing heaven and earth

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as trigrams, Fu Shan, in effect, was forging a link between his clerical script and the traditional origins of Chinese writing. Fu Shan appended a short note to this section of clerical script: "The brush method of the calligraphy in this section is archaic and plain. It resembles [the clerical~script calligraphy of] the Han. 157 Few examples of this brush method remain. Only the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao ( [Guo J Youdao bei) survives as a model for this method." Fu Shan implied in this passage that his clerical script-which he characterized as "archaic and plain"-was modeled on the calligraphy of the famous Han stele, the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao. Guo Youdao (or Guo T ai, A.D. 128-69) was a native ofJiexiu, T aiyuan, during the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 ). He began his career as a leader among stu~ dents at the National University, but on leaving the University, he declined a summons to serve in the government and returned to his hometown. When the political situation deteriorated as the result of partisan strife, he chose re~ treat and became a teacher. A prominent cultural figure, he had thousands of disciples. Because of his reputation, it was said that his memorial stele was written by the most famous oflate Eastern Han calligraphers, Cai Yong (13292). Subsequently, Guo Tai and his stele became cultural icons. By citing Guo's stele, Fu Shan intended to invest his clerical~ script calligraphy with the authority of tradition. But Fu Shan's claim here is suspect. The character structures ofFu's cleri~ cal script in the Selu miaohan scroll are more than imaginative: as clerical script, they are imaginary. This is because many of his characters are derived from sources that have nothing to do with clerical script, some, for instance, from seal script, and two-tian and di-from the symbols for heaven and earth in the Book of Changes. These forms, and others, never occur in inscriptions in clerical script on Han memorial steles, and their sudden appearance here leads us to doubt Fu Shan's claim that he derived his style from the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao. This suspicion is confirmed by another ofFu Shan's notes. In a calligra~ phy album dated 1669, he wrote: "The Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao was lost long ago. Who knows who was responsible for making the rubbing of the fake Guo Youdao stele in my collection."158 Contrary to his claim in the Selu miaohan scroll, Fu Shan admitted that his model was nothing more than a fabrication. In 1673, Fu Shan was commissioned by the residents ofJiexiu-Guo Tai's hometown, and once the site of his stele, although it had long since disap~ peared-to write out the calligraphy for a new stele as a replacement for the old one. A long note Fu wrote on this occasion confirms that in the seven~ teenth century there could have been no calligraphic method genuinely based on the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao. The note reads:

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Fig. 2.49 Fu Shan, secrion of grearer seal script in Selu miaohan .

The text of (the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao] is not recorded in Interpreting Han Clerical Script Writing (Li shi) [by Hong Kuo, lll7-84), or in Collected Records of Antiquity (]igu [lu)) (by Ouyang Xiu, 1007-72), or in the Record of Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone (]inshi lu) [by Zhao Mingcheng, ro8r-IJ29), but only in the Annotated Canon of Water -

ways (Shuijing zhu) [by Li Daoyuan, 466 or 472-527 ) ... . I have always believed that once Hong Jingbo [Hong Kuo) had followed the Song imperial court to the South, he was unable to continue collecting rubbings of northern steles. But why did Ouyang Xiu and Zhao Mingcheng of the Northern Song fail to record the text of this stele? Commenting on the steles recorded in the Annotated Canon of Waterways, Hong Kuo wrote: "Only 10 to 20 percent of the steles recorded in the Annotated Canon of Waterways have survived. Those not recorded in Ouyang Xiu's Collected Records of Antiquity and Zhao Mingcheng's Record of Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone are no longer in this world." Thus I know that this stele had already been lost before the Southern Song dynasty.



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In his research notes, therefore, Fu Shan acknowledged that the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao had been lost long ago; not even rubbings of the original engraving survived. Yet in his Selu miaohan scroll, he claimed that his clerical script was modeled on the brush method of Han clerical-script calligraphy as manifested in the Memorial Stele of Guo Youdao-knowing full well that his claim 160 was groundless. In actuality, then, Fu in this handscroll was simply continuing the practice of inventive copying initiated by Dong Qichang and Wang Duo.l61 The Selu miaohan scroll, as we have seen, reflects an increasing interest in ancient scripts stimulated by the resurgence ofliterati seal carving in the late Ming (Fig. 2.49). Fu Shan mastered one more script type than Wang Duoseal script-and he could write it in several forms, lesser seal (xiaozhuan) and greater seal (dazhuan), as well as the cursive seal script (caozhuan) invented by Zhao Yiguang in the late Ming. Fu Shan's interest in this most ancient of script types is demonstrated by his use of pictographs found on bronzes, which were by then commonly accepted as one of the earliest forms of writing, two examples being the pictographic symbols he drew to represent the words yu ;w_, "fish," and xiang ~, "elephant" (Fig. 2.50 ). Others ofFu Shan's works in the 165os exhibit calligraphy that is almost equally eccentric. One example is an album of seal script written in 1655, while Fu was imprisoned during the Case of the Red-Robed Daoist. Its text is the Lotus Sutra, one of the canons of Buddhist scripture (Fig. 2.51). While Fu was awaiting the decision of the Qing government as to his guilt or innocence, his thoughts turned to his aged mother, and he copied the sutra and dedicated it 162 to her. Many quite bizarre seal script characters are included in this work, making it exceedingly difficult to read. Its brush method, character forms, and composition are clearly influenced by inscriptions on ancient bronze vessels recorded in such Song catalogues as the Collected Records of Antiquity from Xiaotang (Xiaotangjigu lu, Fig. 2.52) by Wang Qiu (fl. II46-76). The Selu miaohan scroll, with its abundance of obscure character forms, use of seal script, distorted character structures, frequent rearrangements of character components, invention of new character forms, and lack of clear spacing between columns, taxes the reader to an even greater extent. The major portion of the text-the "Tianyun," "Tiandi," and 'Tiandao" chapters of the Zhuangzi-was well known to the public, and many readers undoubtedly knew parts of it by heart. Nevertheless, reading the scroll is a journey of discovery, with the reader forced time and again to guess the way. Like Wang Duo's calligraphic collages, the Selu miaohan scroll is full of riddles. Writing is an extension of oral communication. As Jack Goody writes, in Literacy in Traditional Society, "Its essential service is to objectify speech, to provide language with a material correlative, a set of visible signs. In this

Fig. 2.50 Fu Shan, pictographs in Selu miaohan.

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(left) Fig. 2.51 Fu Shan, "Lotus Sutra" in Seal Script. Dated 1655. Album leaf, measurements unavailable. Collection unknown. After Shuanghong-

kan mobao, p. 1. (right) Fig. 2.52 Wang Qiu (fl. 1146-76), Xiaotang jigu lu. After Xiaotangjigu lu, p. 21.


material form speech can be transmitted over space and preserved over 163 time.'' But in the Selu miaohan scroll, the signs-that is to say, the charac~ ters-are not always legible: the natural process of reading is blocked by the graphic obscurity of forms that are often very far from the standard characters. Thus, ironically, the communicative function of writing is undermined or se~ verely hampered in Fu Shan's handscroll by the writing itself. By diminishing its communicative function, Fu Shan forced the viewer to pay more attention to the work's graphic content-to the calligraphy as art. Viewing this work gives aesthetic satisfaction when the anxiety and frustrations caused by failure to recognize some of its signs yield to the pleasure of discovery as obscure forms are deciphered and to amazement at this extraordinary calligrapher's erudition and imagination. The process of viewing this scroll is thus both in~ tellectual and entertaining. With this scroll, the search for qi was extended to a new dynasty.

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A particularly intriguing feature of the Selu miaohan scroll is Fu Shan's addition of marginalia to his own work. These commentaries, called pidian, or 164 "analytical annotations," were popular during the Ming and Qing. Many literati-for example, Fu Shan's famous contemporary, the critic Jin Shengtan (r6o8-6r)-wrote comments in the margins ofbooks and plays or between the lines of the text. Adding commentaries to the margins of one's own work, however, was distinctly unusual: Fu Shan was probably the first to do so in a calligraphic work. His marginalia in this scroll are concerned exclusively with the art of calligraphy and are written in small regular or running script. Compared with the difficult calligraphy in which, for instance, the passages from the Zhuangzi are written, Fu's commentaries on its calligraphy are much easier to read. Fu Shan seems to have written his comments in a clear hand, in the hope that these, at least, would be easy to understand. Two of his comments are worth noting. One reads: There is calligraphy that is truly good, and calligraphy that is truly bad. The truly good is not recognized by people as good, nor is the truly bad recognized as bad. Calligraphy that achieves fame (quickly) must be bad. Several decades to a hundred years must pass, and then, if there are keen critics, a final judgment can be made. (Fig. 2.53)

The other reads: I lay claim to having divine eyes when viewing paintings, essays, poetry, and calligraphy. Of hundreds and millions of things, not one escapes them. Every time I try to tell someone the significance (of something), he cannot understand it. I dare say that in ages to come my views will be counted as unique insights. Although I would be crazy to keep making this claim, I would also be crazy ifi did not. I know, however, that my own creations are not equal to my sensibilities. (Fig. 2.54)

The startling language of these comments immediately catches our attention, making us pause to wonder whether the calligraphy of this handscroll is as good as the artist would have it. Although in the second note, Fu Shan admitted that his artistic creations were not the equal of his insights into art, he clearly believed that his eccentric calligraphy was at least on the way to being good. Fu Shan was keenly aware that the awkwardness of his calligraphy made it difficult for his contemporaries to accept, and he countered criticism by claiming that truly good calligraphy was never judged good by an artist's contemporaries. His comment serves at the same time as self-justification and self-promotion. One reason that Fu Shan may have occasionally interjected marginalia into the viewing process was to provide relief, since a viewer could easily be exhausted by the eccentricity of the calligraphy he was encountering. Easy to read and startling in their frank language, marginalia mitigated the tension created by the difficulties of the text. Whereas marginalia in printed books simply gave clues to its content, the marginalia ofFu Shan's handscroll are

(top) Fig. 2.53 Fu Shan, a note in Selu miaohan. (bottom) Fig. 2.54 Fu Shan, a note in Selu miaohan.

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part of its substance: they are integral to the effect of the work on the viewer and provide special information about its meaning. The texts of zashu juan/ ce are usually an assemblage of short passages. They 165 resemble, in this regard, the genre known as xiaopin biji or zazu xiaopin, vari~ ously translated as "miscellanies," "random notes," or "literary trifles." This, to late Ming-early Qing literati, was one of the most attractive of literary genres. 166 It can be traced to the writings of the Song literati or even earlier, but its popularity peaked in the late Ming. As the word "miscellaneous" (zazu) sug~ 167 gests, the writer jotted down his thoughts more or less at random. Zashu juan/ ce were produced in much the same fashion as xiaopin hiji. In the Selu miaohan scroll, for instance, the selections from the Zhuangzi are copied out in the order Fu Shan chose them, rather than in the order in which they originally appear. There is no logical connection between a text and the script type chosen to transcribe it (such as selecting a script that dates to the same period as the text), nor does the sequence in which scripts are employed corre~ spond to the sequence in which Chinese script types evolved. "Miscellaneous" and "random" seem appropriate descriptions of the handscroll's content and layout, qualities that are also characteristic of most late Ming xiaopin hiji. In the preface to his famous Random Notes Compiled in a Leisurely Mood (Xianqing xiaopin), Hua Shu (r58g-r643), a late Ming literatus, described how it came to be written: "Over the long summer in my humble cottage, I casually pulled out books. Encountering a well~turned verse or an anecdote of the ancients, I ran~ domly jotted it down, stopping at such points as my interest waned." Like xiaopin hiji, zashu juan/ ce are casual, almost accidental, in their construction. Both xiaopin hiji and zashu juan/ ce echo, in their form, the sequential charac~ ter ofliterati cultural life. Reading late Ming miscellanies, one receives the strong impression that much writing was devoted to the depiction of a series 168 ofleisurely cultural pursuits. Chen Jiru, Dong Qichang' s closest friend and a famous writer, provided a list: Many activities, such as burning incense, sampling tea, washing ink-stones, playing the zither, collating books, enjoying moonlight, listening to the sound of rain, watering flowers, leaning from high places, observing the divinatory square board, pacing up and down, basking in the sun, fishing, appreciating painting, washing in spring water, wandering with a staf£ worshiping Buddha, tasting wine, meditation, browsing the classics, gazing into the mountains, copying calligraphy, engraving 169 bamboo, and feeding cranes, can all be enjoyed by one person alone.

The increasing richness of cultural life among the elite was reflected in their consumption of cultural products. In describing their activities, late Ming lite~ rat1• l'k 1 ed to use t h e wor d s su1,• 170 as one p1eases, an d sh'1, try or samp1e.11171 Both sui and shi imply an activity of short duration, without devoted, consis~ tent engagement. They emphasize moments of peak interest. To stave off the II



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boredom of doing one thing too long, late Ming literati moved from one activ~ ity to another, keeping interest fresh and life enjoyable. The availability of a wide range of cultural amusements and activities made such shifts in attention possible. As each activity ended, a literatus could move on to a new one. A handscroll by the Songjiang painter Sun Kehong (1533-r6rr) entitled Pictures of Leisure Activities (Xiaoxian qingke tu ), now in the collection of the Palace Mu~ seum in Taipei, depicts twenty such scenes ofliterati activity, each with a title and inscription. The scenes include reading history, appreciating painting, copying calligraphy, washing ink~ stones, making tea, watering flowers, sitting at night, worshiping Buddha, wandering in the mountains, listening to the sound of rain, and so forth. From this handscroll we can visualize the life~style of the late Ming literati, at least its ideal form. Mixtures of subject matter were common in late Ming literature and art. Two catalogues illustrating inksticks-lnk Garden of the Cheng Family by ChengJunfang and The Ink Manual of the Fang Family (Fangshi mopu) by Fang Yulu-show designs ranging from literati cultural motifs to Buddhist icons to 172 illustrations of the Bible, a range so diverse that it defies easy description. Xiaopin biji are by definition xiao, "small" (or in this context, "short"); xiao also implies a certain triviality in subject matter. Each passage is usually no more than a paragraph long. The reader quickly peruses one passage and moves on to another. One has much the same experience when viewing zashu juan/ce. Unrolling the Selu miaohan scroll, the viewer perceives a series of paragraphs in which the script type and size and style of calligraphy change in rapid succession. The miscellaneous nature of the handscroll, with its as~ sortment of scripts and large number of unusual character forms, is intended to intrigue, even puzzle, the viewer, forcing him to make a visual readjust~ ment from one paragraph to the next and requiring him to draw fully on his knowledge of different scripts. It thus keeps his interest high and quickens his curiosity. The rise in popularity of the zashu juan/ ce corresponds with a change in reading habits in the late Ming. In a discussion of the relationship between the famous sixteenth~century novel Golden Vase Plum Uin Ping Mei) and late Ming print culture, Shang Wei points out that in the late Ming qualitative printing (careful printing of select materials in small quantities) gave way to quantita~ tive printing (routine printing of any material that would sell in quantity). With the rapid expansion of commercial publishing came a shift from inten~ sive reading to extensive reading; at the same time there emerged new page designs, with two or even three rows of text. As Shang Wei argues, in late Ming print materials we see a general tendency toward a more and more so~ phisticated way of organizing the text world. One such method is to structure the texts of each page into registers or rows. Although the division of pages into two rows of text can be dated to earlier times, it was not until the Wanli

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(left) Fig. 2.55 A page in Yao tian yue. W anli (1573-1620) ed. After Wang Qiugui, Shanben

xiqu congkan, vol.1, p. 8.

(right) Fig. 2.56 A page in Xinke

Meigong Chen xiansheng bianji zhushu beicai wanjuan souqi quanshu, 13.6b. 1628. HarvardYenching Library.

reign that the three-row format became popular, especially in drama miscellanies (Fig. 2.55). This format had, as least, two effects: on the one hand, it served as a means for ordering otherwise disorganized texts; on the other, however, it also allowed unrelated texts to coexist on the same page. 173 Fragments of dramas, popular songs, jokes, riddles, verses designed for drinking parties, and the like, were often printed, in two or three rows, on the same page. As Shang Wei notes, although none of these reading materials was published in the form of a series or on a regular basis, yet as a whole they resemble the magazines of later periods in significant ways. 174 A page from a late Ming household encyclopedia, for example, is divided into two rows (Fig. 2.56). The upper row, with illustrations and written instructions, features wrestling tips. The lower row has jokes for teasing different types of people-for instance, geomancers or men without beards. The contents of the two registers have little in common. In the three-row format, one usually finds highlights from a novel or play in the top and bottom rows, continuing on the same row in the pages that follow. The middle row, the most diverse, mixes puzzles, slang, jokes, jibes at courtesans, and things of a similar nature. In the Yaotian yue, a drama miscellany published in the late Ming, the top and bottom rows contain excerpts from two plays, and the


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middle row a series of rather vulgar jokes (see Fig. 2.55). With pages of this design, readers could interrupt their reading of the lengthier material in the outer rows to glance briefly at the material in the middle. This new method of reading, together with the popularity of xiaopin hiji, contributed to the emergence of the zashu juan/ce as an important format in calligraphy. It is highly unlikely that such a work as the Selu miaohan scroll, in which Fu Shan shifted continually from one style or type of calligraphy to another, was completed in a single session. Almost certainly Fu would execute a few paragraphs-or perhaps only one-and then stop. Later, with interest refreshed, he would renew his efforts. Evidence that Fu Shan did indeed work in this fashion is provided by the excerpts from Zhuangzi, which are not transcribed in the order of their sequence in the book. The format of the zashu juan/ ce introduced a new way of viewing into the art of calligraphy. Traditionally, when a calligrapher writes a scroll in a single script, his brush moves from stroke to stroke, characters to character, and line to line, in a performance that has a temporal dimension akin to that in music and dance. This temporal flow, extending through the piece from beginning to end, helps unite the work, and the well-trained viewer can retrace the path that the artist followed in its creation. But in the Selu miaohan scroll, the viewer's experience is shaped by a very different format. The scroll is divided into distinct blocks, differentiated by their scripts, which differ dramatically in type and style, and by their texts, which are quite unrelated in content. The consequence is that there is no need to read segments in the sequence in which they were written. These blocks of text are small enough that a number may be viewed simultaneously, allowing the viewer to pause over the sections most appealing to him, and to move back and forth to compare different sections in whatever order he chooses. The sectional character of the calligraphy of the Selu miaohan scroll thus disrupts the handscroll's natural movement from right to left, introducing into the realm of calligraphy a nonlinear viewing process, similar to the one involved in reading 175 the multiple rows of a printed miscellany. In short, the rise in popularity of the zashu juan/ ce format in seventeenth century calligraphy owes much to the literary culture of the late Ming. The Selu miaohan scroll was written in the r65os, but it is almost certain that Fu Shan wrote zashu juan/ ce before the fall of the Min g. After the war and the resulting dynastic change severely jeopardized the material well-being of Chinese literati like Fu Shan, the late Ming literati life-style became an ideal for 176 many in the Qing. Not only does Fu Shan's Selu miaohan scroll testify to the lingering oflate Ming cultural influence in a drastically changed political context, but it also demonstrates that many late Ming calligraphic trends-the

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search for qi, experimentation with unusual character forms, manipulative use of ancient canons, and interest in random and heterogeneous zashu juan/ ce format-reached new levels of development in the early Qing. In the 166os and 167os, however, an intellectual trend that was soon to form the basis of a new aesthetic in the art of calligraphy began to evolve.


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New Intellectual Tendencies Chapter)

Advocac,y ot E_pigraphical Calligraph,y THE INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY IN SHANXI,


Around 1656, a year after he was released from jail, Fu Shan traveled to the south in what was probably his only trip to Jiangnan. From his poems and from local gazetteers, we know that he visited Shanyang, Peixian, and Nanjing, meeting Yan Xiuling (1617-87), Yan Ermei (1603-79), and other Ming loyalists. 1 Fu Shan' s purpose in making this trip remains unclear. In the late 1650s, the south, especially the region around Nanjing, was the center of numerous schemes for restoring the Ming dynasty, and some scholars have argued that 2 Fu's trip may have had a political motivation. But no known evidence supports the assertion that in the 1650s Fu was heavily involved in anti-Manchu activities. What we do know is that the trip was significant for Fu because it led to his acquaintance with a number of influential figures who proved important to his later intellectual activities and orientation. Armies led by Zheng Chenggong (1624-62) and Zhang Huangyan (162064) attacked Nanjing by sailing up the Yangtze from the sea in 1659. The two captured a number of cities and towns, but were soon defeated by Manchu forces. Zhang was arrested and executed by the Qing, and Zheng retreated to the island ofTaiwan. In 1661, Wu Sangui (1612-78), a Ming general whose defection at the crucial pass of Shanhaiguan in 1644 had enabled the Manchus to capture Beijing, led a Qing army into Burma to force the Burmese to hand over the last Ming "emperor" and his only son, who were executed in Yunnan the following year. Their death ended the Southern Ming. With every failure


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to restore the dynasty, Ming loyalists were made increasingly aware of their military impotence. The new political reality was crucial in shaping their per~ ception of what they should and could do to oppose the Manchus. Although military struggle had proved futile, resistance continued, albeit in indirect forms. For most Chinese, resistance amounted to little more than har~ boring a feeling of alienation, but those who felt accountable for the fate of their nation resisted more assertively. Their attitude was clearly expressed in a remark ofQu Dajun's (1630-96), a friend ofFu Shan: 'Han is conquered, but Han hearts cannot be conquered." By "Han" (a reference originally to the Han 3 empire), he meant China. To prevent the loss of Chinese identity, many loy~ alist scholars devoted themselves to the study of Chinese culture. Because of their efforts, intellectual trends in the early Qing were, to a considerable extent, a response to the political environment. 14 Intellectual life had been dominated for centuries by "men from the south,' but in the r66os and r67os in Shanxi an intellectual community formed of men from both north and south contributed significantly to cultural life. Hitherto, students of Qing intellectual history have concentrated on scholarly activities in the south, especially in the Jiangnan region, to the relative neglect of north~ ern scholars. 5 Study of the scholarly community in Shanxi, however, broadens our understanding of early Qing intellectual trends and, most important for this study, illuminates the influence of these trends on Fu Shan's practice and theory of calligraphy. As a native of Shanxi and a cultural leader, Fu Shan acted as host to this intellectual community. In the r66os and r67os, he devoted himself to studying Chinese culture, and his house in Songzhuang, a village about two and a half miles southeast ofTaiyuan, was a center for scholarly gatherings. In the winter of r662, Gu Yanwu (r6r3-82), a leading scholar whose ideas 6 had a profound influence on Qing intellectuallife, arrived in Shanxi. At the beginning of the following year, he and Fu Shan met in T aiyuan. In 1657 Gu Yanwu had left his hometown of Kunshan in Jiangnan and set out to travel extensively. He was to spend most of his remaining years in northern China, including Shanxi. Although some scholars have argued that Gu was only marginally involved in military resistance to the Qing and have questioned the assumption that Gu's trip north was concerned with the restoration of the Ming, 7 it is undeniable that Gu was a leader of resistance through cul~ rural means. Through his original research in the Classics, historiography, and phonology, Gu became a pioneering figure in the intellectual history of the Qing and a key person in the Shanxi intellectual community. Another member of the Shanxi intellectual circle was Pan Lei (r646-r7o8) 8 from Wujiang, Jiangnan, who followed Gu Yanwu to Shanxi in the r67os. Born into a wealthy family with an extensive collection of books, Pan Lei received his early training in the Classics and in literature from his half~

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brother Pan Chengzhang (1626-63), a renowned historian and close friend of Gu Yanwu. Pan Chengzhang had been executed by the Qing government for his involvement in an illicit history of the Ming, Summary of Ming History (Ming shi jilue), sponsored by Zhuang Tinglong (d. 1655). Because writing the history of a former dynasty was a politically significant act and the preroga~ tive of the succeeding dynasty, the Qing government considered the compila~ tion of an unofficial history of the Ming an act tantamount to treason or re~ hellion. Many members of Pan's family suffered from the government's reprisals. Pan Lei was forced to change his name to Wu Qi and fled to north China. Hearing of Pan Chengzhang's death while traveling in Shanxi, Gu Yanwu composed a memorial eulogy for him and sent Pan Lei a poem ex~ 9 pressing his grie£ Gu seldom accepted students, but when Pan Lei wrote to ask if he might come, Gu immediately made an exception. Under the guid~ ance of his mentor, Pan Lei made a thorough study of the Classics, history, phonology, phonetics, etymology, and the study of inscriptions on ancient bronze and stone objects. The leading scholar Yan Ruoqu (1636-1704), who was also a member of the circle, came to T aiyuan about 1663 to take the civil service examination at the provincial level. Although Yan's family had lived in Shanyang, Jiangnan, for several generations, members of his family usually returned to their ancestral hometown ofTaiyuan to take the examinations.10 Yan Ruoqu' s father, Yan Xiuling, was an old friend ofFu Shan and had hosted Fu in Shanyang on his 11 trip south in the 165os. Yan Ruoqu frequently visited Fu Shan when he was in Shanxi, and in 1672 he met Gu Yanwu at Fu Shan's home. 12 A number of other literati participated in Shanxi's intellectual community. Some were neither distinguished scholars nor financial sponsors, but their presence was significant because they came from other parts of China. Qu Da~ jun from Guangdong and Shen Hanguang ( r620-77) from Hebei, for instance, brought word of new intellectual and academic trends. 13 Yan Ruoqu asked Qu Dajun to store his most important work, An Evidential Study of the Guwen Documents (Shangshu guwen shuzheng), in Guangdong. 14 Without their traffic in intellectual news, the Shanxi intellectual community would not have been so active or influential in early Qing cultural life. Generous, welho~do Ming loyalists and literati provided patronage to this group of scholars. Fu Shan's friend Dai Tingshi, known for his large collection of books and paintings, provided financial assistance toFu Shan after the fall of the Ming. In 1675, Dai built a house, including a study, for Gu Yanwu near his own home in Qixian, and he supported many other scholars at his resi~ 15 dence. Wang Hongzhuan from Huayin, Shaanxi, another famous northern collector, was a patron of scholars as well as a scholar himself. His particular field of study was the Book of Changes. As the son of a senior Ming official,

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Wang probably had property in Nanjing, and his repeated visits to Nanjing 16 kept the north informed on the literati circle there. Scholars have long been aware of how substantially Qing scholarship bene~ fited from the sponsorship of government officials. In Shanxi's intellectual community in the r66os and r67os, the activities of two Han Chinese officials stand out. In r662, the year of GuYanwu' s arrival in Shanxi, Cao Rong, a scholar from Xiushui, Zhejiang, and a Ming official who had chosen to serve 17 the Qing, was appointed surveillance vice commissioner ofShanxi. Cao Rong and Fu Shan had known of each other since the r6sos. In 1655, when the Case of the Red~ Robed Daoist was forwarded to Beijing for final disposition, Cao Rong was among the Han Chinese officials in the central government who rescued Fu Shan. After they met in Shanxi in the r66os, they were to re~ main lifelong friends. Cao Rong' s accomplishments were mainly in poetry and bibliography. He was also a famous collector of calligraphy, paintings, and rubbings of inscribed ancient bronze and stone objects. Under Cao's sponsor~ ship, his fellow townsman Zhu Yizun (r629-1709) came to Shanxi in the fall of r665 to work as his secretary or assistant. Later, Zhu was employed by 18 Wang Xianzuo, the administrative commissioner ofShanxi. In both aca~ demic and literary circles nationwide, Zhu Yizun was regarded as one of the finest scholars. The other Qing official was Chen Shangnian (d. ca. 1675), a native of Qingyuan, Zhili, who obtained his jinshi degree in 1649. From r66o to r667, he was in charge of military affairs in Yanmen in the Daizhou area of Shanxi. His residence in Yanmen, about eighty miles from T aiyuan, was a center 19 for scholarly gatherings. His children's tutor, Li Yindu (r631-92), a scholar 20 from Fuping, Shaanxi, was also active in the Shanxi intellectual community. Han Chinese officials were increasingly willing to assist Ming loyalists as the military struggle against the Manchus came to an end. Leading scholars who declined to serve the Qing like Fu Shan, Sun Qifeng, and GuYanwu were es~ teemed as symbolic figures by Han Chinese officials, who provided the protec~ tion and patronage necessary for the survival of the loyalists and the continua~ tion of their research into Chinese culture. Such support shifted from helping loyalists survive the difficult times of the Shunzhi period to sponsoring their research and promoting their cultural achievements in the Kangxi period. Han Chinese officials provided important institutional backing for the loyalists' cul~ tural activities. About 1673, Gu Yanwu made plans to found a research library in Fenzhou, Shanxi. Three of his nephews, Xu Qianxue (1631-94), Xu Bingyi (r633-17rr), 21 and Xu Yuanwen (1634-91), all senior officials in the Qing government, wrote an open letter that circulated in literary circles asking for donations of books. 22 The Xu brothers' letter should not be viewed simply as a request for assistance but as a symbolic rallying call to the Chinese literati.

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This call fell during a period in which many Han Chinese officials were zealously participating, in whatever manner they could, in the cultural move~ ment launched by Ming loyalist scholars. In a preface to the collected works of Liu Tiren (zi Gongyong, 1624-?, jinshi 1655), a government official and influential literary figure, Xu Qianxue offered readers a short vignette to illustrate Liu' s noble character and cultural achievements: Mr. Liu Gongyong from Yingchuan was a marvelous scholar with extraordinary tal~ ent.... When he visited Sumen and met Sun Zhongyuan [Sun Qifeng], he wanted to leave office and become Sun's disciple. He stayed there about a month, building a house [for future visits] and leaving behind his zither. Passing through Taiyuan, he paid special homage to Fu Qingzhu [Fu Shan] in Songzhuang villafe. Sitting under 2 thatch, they composed poetry the whole day. How noble Liu was!

Aside from some general remarks on Liu' s literary talent and unusual person~ ality, the two specific pieces of evidence that Xu gives us to demonstrate Liu' s superior quality as an individual are, first, that Liu built a house in Sumen and 24 studied with Sun Qifeng and, second, that he and Fu Shan composed poems together. No details are offered about what Liu learned from Sun Qifeng or what happened when he and Fu Shan composed poems. None of that mat~ tered. For Xu, the mere fact that Liu associated with these leading cultural 25 figures was proof of his nobility. Although brief, Xu's remarks on Liu's association with Sun Qifeng and Fu Shan point to an interesting phenomenon in early Qing politics and cul~ ture. Extant historical documents record that, in the early Qing, many Han Chinese officials eagerly supported celebrated loyalist scholars, and many, like Liu Tiren, became their students. After Sun Qifeng was forced to move to Sumen, in Huixian county, Henan, from his hometown in Zhili, several senior government officials became his disciples, including Wei Yijie and Tang Bin (1627-87 ). Although Fu Shan and Gu Yanwu were not enthusias~ tic about recruiting and preaching to students, many Han Chinese officials paid their respects to them as they passed through Shanxi. In addition, loyal~ ists such as Gu Yanwu often received hospitality from local officials when 26 they traveled. Shanxi's intellectual community was to prove of crucial importance to Fu Shan's late scholarship and art. First, Fu Shan's connection with this group of prominent scholars and literati from other areas of China kept him informed and placed him at the forefront of new intellectual trends. Second, these scholars were not only intellectual companions but also competitors who challenged his position as the foremost cultural authority in Shanxi. In the r66os and r67os, Fu Shan devoted himself to studies of the ancient classics, phonology, and paleography in response to this active 27 intellectual environment.

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When Xu Shipu wrote of the cultural achievements of the W anli reign, in the passage quoted at the beginning of Chapter r, his mood was nostalgic. As he said in his opening sentence, "In the reign of Emperor Shenzong, cultural ac~ 28 tivities in the nation flourished." But ironically, this period of cultural efflo~ rescence corresponded only briefly with a period of peace. The country soon confronted a variety of crises. The political strife, widespread corruption, se~ vere famine, domestic revolts, and border conflicts that were to end two dec~ ades after the Wanli reign with the Manchu conquest began to plague China during this period. Members of the "conquest generation" (those born in the late Ming who survived into the Qing) always felt a certain ambivalence toward the fallen dy~ nasty. On the one hand, the undeniable achievements of the late Ming in many cultural fields were both admirable and memorable. The cultural atmosphere had been free and creative, and the material life of the elite, rich and 29 sophisticated. On the other hand, the tragic collapse of the Ming forced many early Qing scholars to rethink the causes of the fall of the Ming and the rise of the Qing. A painful question inevitably arose: Did the diversity and heterogeneity that contributed to late Ming cultural prosperity lead to the decline of the official ideology of Confucianism and thereby cause the dynasty's eventual collapse? Modern historians identify many factors contributing to the dynasty's fall that could not have been recognized by the intellectuals of the conquest generation. In retrospect, the Ming collapse can be attributed not so much to a weakening of Confucian orthodoxy as to the inadequacy of imperial institu~ tions and official ideology to deal with the problems besetting the country. Late Ming social fluidity and diversity provided a stimulating environment for cultural activity; whether the traditional political and ideological system could tolerate, accept, and incorporate this diversity depended on the effectiveness of the system in meeting political and economic challenges from within and without. When the system failed to meet these challenges, diver~ sity, although not fundamental to Ming collapse, was an easy scapegoat. In~ deed, many who experienced the painful Ming-Qing cataclysm blamed late Ming philosophical trends for the fall of the dynasty. As Benjamin Elman points out: "The decisive impact of the fall of the Ming dynasty to Manchu 'barbarians' in 1644 confirmed, rightly or mistakenly, for many Chinese lite~ rati who experienced it, the sterility and perniciousness of recent Confucian discourse. They vigorously attacked the heterodox ideals of their predeces~ sors, which had betrayed the true teachings of Confucius and thus had brought on this debacle." 30


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Among the members of the Shanxi intellectual community, GuYanwu was foremost in expressing his aversion to the late Ming intellectual climate and cited it as the cause of the nation's disaster. To him, the introspective philoso~ phy prevalent in the late Ming encouraged the conceptual abstractions of "pure conversation" rather than the solid rationality of pragmatic inquiry. GuYanwu did not limit his attacks to the philosophy of the elite; he held other cultural practices of the late Ming responsible for undermining common 1 morality. A native ofKunshan/ a county in Suzhou prefecture and a late Ming center for publishing, GuYanwu must have seen many of the parodies of ancient canons printed as popular entertainments before 1644. He casti~ gated popular print culture for degrading morality: "People in the Wanli reign liked to alter and distort ancient books. Since then, evil thoughts and customs 32 have prevailed." In contrast to Xu Shifu' s praise of the Wanli reign as ape~ riod of great creativity, GuYanwu thought it a period of moral decline. His opinion of the late Ming intellectual environment and its cultural practices was shared by many, if not by all, loyalist scholars. Given such views, empirical research was viewed as an antidote to late Ming intellectual practices. Increased attention was paid to a more accurate understanding of the Classics and histories, and "return to origins" became 33 the new scholastic cry. Empirical research was viewed as having more than methodological value: the so~called plain scholarship (puxue) promoted by Gu Yanwu and his friends had strong moral connotations. It was believed that such scholarship could effectively restore the spirit of the ancient past and thereby rehabilitate society. Gu Yanwu claimed that through such schol~ arship one could "rehabilitate people's minds, bring order out of chaos, and ,34 create peace. The ailfl, then, was to understand the ancient canonical texts accurately in order to re~establish the authority of the Confucian canon. Three fields thus began to attract intense scholarly attention among intellectuals in Shanxi, and the focus of their research gradually became mainstream scholarship during the early Qing. These fields were phonology (yinyunxue); the study of ancient bronze and stone objects, particularly their inscriptions (jinshixue); and textual verification of the Classics (kaozhengxue). That phonology became an important discipline was no accident. The Confucian classics were over seventeen hundred years old. Occasionally schol~ ars had taken great pains to annotate these texts and make them accessible to later readers, but there remained much controversy over how to read them. Because phonology was closely related to etymology and paleography in tradi~ tional Chinese scholarship, it was seen as an important approach to under~ standing the original meaning of the Classics. Phonology had in fact been a subject of scholarly interest even since the Song dynasty. Although late Ming intellectual practices were criticized by

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many early Qing scholars, the study of phonology in the early Qing owed much to late Ming scholarship. A significant contribution to the field was made by Chen Di (rs4r-r6r7), who set out to discover the phonological rules of the Book of Songs, a work dating to the Spring and Autumn period (77035 476 B.c.). Interest in phonology was also stimulated by Catholic missionaries like Matteo Ricci and Nicolas Trigault, who, for the first time, transliterated Chinese words in the Latin alphabet. Inspired by Chen Di's research and the new approaches introduced by Europeans, scholars of etymology and paleography shifted their attention from the construction of characters to the phonological relationships between characters in order to ascertain the meanings 36 of these characters in ancient texts. The importance of phonology went beyond the field itsel£ As GuYanwu put it, "Studies of the nine [Confucian J classics should start with studies of characters; studies of characters should 137 start with the study of phonology.' Given the significance of phonology, as a means of gaining a new understanding of the ancient classics, it is not surprising that most of the important 38 members of Shanxi's intellectual community took up the study. In r666, Gu Yanwu finished his Corrections to the Restoration of Rhymes (Yunbu zheng), which was written to correct the errors of a phonological work by Wu Yu (ca. nooII54) of the Song dynasty. In r667, in a project sponsored by Chen Shangnian, Gu reprinted the Expansion of Rhymes (Guangyun), a Song compilation that was 39 one of the earliest dictionaries of phonology. In the same year, in Shanyang, Jiangnan, Gu published his Five Books on Phonology (Yinxue wushu). Through an analysis of rhymes used in the ancient poems in the Book of Songs, he made significant progress toward reconstructing ancient phonologic practices. This groundbreaking work became a model for Qing research on the Confucian classics and other texts. Fu Shan' s increasing interest in phonology during the r66os and r67os is best demonstrated by his meticulous study of the Song dictionary Expansion of Rhymes. After GuYanwu reprinted the Expansion in r667, he sent Fu Shan a copy. In his colophon to the book, Gu also acknowledged Fu's discoveries in 40 phonology, and it is evident that the two friends had discussed the subject. The copy Gu sent Fu as a gift survives with many ofFu's notes and is now housed in the collection of the Beijing Library. On the opening page, Fu impressed four seals: "Seal ofFu Shan," "Fu Gongta," "Lao Shi," and "In the Fu Family Collection" (Fig. 3.r). Both Fu Shan's seals and his annotations are a measure of the value he placed on this book. Fu' s method of studying phonology was unique for its time. According to the modern scholar Wang Shiqing, the major portion ofFu's notes in this book are some r2,ooo lines taken from poems by the Tang poet Du Fu. Fu checked the rhymes in the Expansion against the end rhymes in Du's lines in order to confirm what was then

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Fig. 3.1 Chen Pengnian (961-1071) et al., Guangyun. 1011. Reprinted by Gu Yanwu in 1667 with Fu Shan's notes after 1667. Beijing Library.

believed-that the Expansion, although published in the Song, actually repre41 sented Tang dynasty phonetics. Phonology's goal was to provide critical analyses of the meanings of ancient texts. A r669 album of etymological notes by Fu Shan, now in Taiwan in the collection ofYuan Shouqian, is an example ofFu's application of phonological 42 techniques to the study of ancient texts. As Fu wrote in a short preface, he composed this work to help his grandson Fu Liansu read the Rhapsody of Sir Vacuous (Zixu ju) by Sima Xiangru (r79-n7 B.c.) of the Han dynasty. In deciphering the meanings of words in this text, Fu frequently discussed their etymological roots in terms of phonology. There is no doubt that his research during this period was heavily influenced by new academic trends in phonology and that he himself was an active participant in the field. The second field that scholars in Shanxi were instrumental in promoting was the study of ancient bronzes and stone objects. Their interests lay chiefly in the social function of such objects in ancient times, in their historic and artistic evolution, and in their inscriptions. Studies of these objects had begun as early as the Han and had flourished in the Northern Song, but they had declined in the Yuan and Ming. The early Qing witnessed a strong revival of interest in the field. Scholars in Shanxi paid particular attention to bronze and stone inscriptions as important primary sources for the study of the Confucian classics and other historical texts. The use of these inscriptions to authenticate

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and verifY events recorded in historical texts became an indispensable part of evidential research. Gu Yanwu emphasized the importance of such inscriptions in the preface he wrote to his Record of Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone Ar-

tifacts (]inshi wenzi ji): Ever since my youth, I have been fond of searching for the ancients' inscriptions on bronze and stone objects, but at the time I did not understand them clearly. After reading Ouyang Xiu's Collected Records of Antiquity (]igu lu), I realized that the events recorded in these inscriptions and those described in historical texts could be verified one against the other; that such inscriptions could be used for interpreting the concealed, clarifying the unclear, supplementing the missing, and correcting the misrecorded, and so should not be valued solely for the grace of their literary styles. In twenty years' travel in China, whenever I visited famous mountains, large towns, shrines, or Buddhist temples, I would without exception search for inscriptions on bronze and stone objects. I climbed risky peaks, explored deep valleys, handled fallen rocks, trekked through wild forests, walked on broken walls, and scooped up decayed soil; and as long as texts were legible, I transcribed them. When I found a text unseen by my predecessors, I would be so happy that I could not sleep.... Day and night I have sought [such inscriptions] and used them to verify historical texts and to interpret the Classics. Many of my discoveries are not recorded in Ouyang Xiu's Collected Records of Antiquity or in Zhao Mingcheng's Record of Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone. 43

Gu Yanwu's enthusiasm for studying inscriptions on ancient bronze and stone objects was shared by other members of the Shanxi intellectual community, many of whom were among the most accomplished early Qing scholars in the field. Zhu Yizun, for example, produced a six-juan work entitled Colo-

phons to Bronze and Stone Artifacts from the Pushu Pavilion (Pushutingjinshi bawei), which, like Gu Yanwu's Record ofinscriptions on Bronze and Stone Artifacts, be44 came famous as a pioneering work in the early Qing revival ofjinshixue. Another member of the northern group, Cao Rong, was one of the principal collectors of rubbings of bronze and stone inscriptions in his day and compiled the Catalogue of Bronze and Stone Artifacts from Gulin (Gulin jinshi biao), which had more than eight hundred entries. In neighboring Shaanxi, the collector Wang Hongzhuan studied with Guo Zongchang, a prominent late Mingearly Qing scholar of bronze and stone objects and a collector of rubbings, particularly rubbings ofHan steles. After Guo's death, much of his collection came into Wang's hands, including the best Song rubbing of the Memorial Stele of Mount Hua (Huashan bei) and a Ming rubbing of the Memorial Stele of Cao Quan (Cao Quan bei), both now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Bei45 jing. In r663, in Yangzhou, Wang published Guo's History of Bronze and Stone Artifacts (]inshi shi), probably with help from Zhou Lianggong, an influential 46 cultural figure in the south.

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Fig. J.2 Memorial Stele of Kong Zhou. Dared 164. Portion. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper, measurements unavailable. Palace Museum, Beijing. After Qi Gong, ed., Zhongguo meishu quanji, p. 139, pl. 84.

Fu Shan was by no means behindhand in developing an interest in jinshixue. In the mid-166os, Yan Ruoqu visited Fu in T aiyuan, where they talked over research on bronze and stone artifacts. So impressed was Yan Ruoqu by this discussion that he recalled it more than once, writing on one occasion: "Mr. Fu Shan is so excellent in the study of bronze and stone inscriptions that when47 ever he discussed them with me, we kept it up tirelessly, day and night.' Fu Shan, too, collected rubbings of Han steles, and in the 166os, scholars often gathered at his residence to view his collection and write colophons on his 48 . ru bb mgs. A copy !)f Interpreting Han Clerical Script Writing-Hong Kuo's scholarly work on Han steles-that survives with Fu Shan's handwritten notes, demonstrates that in the 166os and 1670s Fu systematically studied bronze and stone 49 inscriptions, especially inscriptions on Han steles. His notes include many etymological and paleographical comments on the characters and phrases used on Han steles, with occasional comments on calligraphic features. In juan seven, for instance, he commented on the Memorial Stele of Kong Zhou (Kong Zhou hei, Fig. 3.2), a stele inscription of which he was particularly fond and of which he owned a rubbing: "In this inscription, the character [a] is written as [b ]. Its form is extremely archaic and awkward, natural and unrestrained" (Fig. 3.3). Scholars like Gu Yanwu focused almost entirely on the textual value of bronze and stone inscriptions. In contrast, Fu Shan, a skilled calligrapher, paid attention as well to their aesthetic features. The revival of research into bronze and stone artifacts made such inscriptions more readily available, and interest in the calligraphic aspects of ancient stele inscriptions, embryonic in the late Ming, gradually developed in the Qing. giving rise to a new aesthetic that complemented the new academic enthusiasm.



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Fig. 3·3 Fu Shan, Nore on Li shi by Hong Kuo (m7-I184). Derail. Former collection ofFu Shan. Afrer Hong Kuo, Li shi.

Fu Shan's enthusiasm, as well as his knowledge ofbronze and stone inscriptions, is demonstrated by an album of his annotations to the Stone Drum Inscriptions (Shigu wen), now in the collection of the Tianyige Library, in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. 5° His annotations to the ten poems on the Stone Drums, which constitute the early Chinese poetry cycle, similar to that recorded in the 51 Book of Songs, are carefully executed in small regular script, and on the last leaf of the album Fu placed his personal seal, indicating that the album is a final version compiled from notes made earlier on his research discoveries. Transcribing the Stone Drum Inscriptions into his album, Fu wrote circles for characters illegible in the original and appended to each inscription his own annotations in small-sized characters. Not only did Fu cite scholarship on the Stone Drums by earlier scholars like Zheng Qiao (uo4-62) and Xue Shanggong and meticulously compare different versions of the inscriptions, but he even included reproductions of original rubbings of the inscriptions. With such studies as this, Fu Shan became one of the foremost pioneers of the study of bronze and stone artifacts in the early Qing. The third field dominating the new trend in scholarship in the early Qing was evidential research through textual analysis (kaozheng). Two representative works by scholars associated with Shanxi's intellectual community were Gu Yanwu's Daily Record of Gained Knowledge (Rizhilu) and Qianqiu's Reading Notes (Qianqiu zhaji) by Yan Ruoqu; in both works, the authors analyzed customs and institutions recorded in ancient texts by close textual examination. For example, a letter by Yan Ruoqu to Fu Shan that Yan included in his Reading Notes relates that on a visit to T aiyuan in the fall of 1672, Fu asked him why it was that ancient texts record that when the ancients attended a feast, it was

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considered courteous to take off not only one's shoes but also one's socks. Y an could not answer the question without sifting through the evidence for this practice in ancient texts. Several years later, he wrote to Fu Shan reporting on 2 his research into that ancient custom. 5 The fundamental principle of evidential research, as the words suggests, is that research must base its conclusions on reliable, verifiable evidence. As evidential research triumphed, becoming the new intellectual paradigm, ancient or contemporary scholarship lacking solid foundation inevitably became a target of criticism. In the writings of Shanxi's intellectuals, we constantly encounter criticisms of this kind. Y an Ruoqu, for instance, wrote: In literary accomplishment, I [myself] have said that Mr. Ou [Ouyang Xiu] was a literatus unmatched for generations, whom no one could surpass; but in scholarship, no one was so poor as he. Mr. Fu Shan heard this comment of mine and asked, "Did you criticize Ou because Liu Yuanfu [Liu Chang, roo8-69] belittled him? You simply followed Liu's criticism, did you not?" "Certainly not," I said. "I examined his notes in 53 the Collected Records of Antiquities.'' For centuries, Ouyang Xiu's Collected Records had never been seriously challenged; suddenly his scholarship was considered "poor." Zhao Yiguang, whom Xu Shipu includes for his studies of paleography in his list of the most celebrated scholars of the W anli reign, was also a target. Zhao's Long Annotation to "The Analysis of Characters as an Explanation ofWriting,'' the most fashionable paleographical work of the late Ming, was fiercely attacked by Gu Y anwu in his Daily Record of Gained Knowledge: Toward the end of the Wanli reign, Zhao Fanfu [Zhao Yiguang] from W u [i.e., Suzhou] wrote A Long Annotation to "The Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing." In it, he wantonly distorted the Five Classics as they have been handed down from ancient times, and he enjoyed displaying his insignificant cleverness by manufacturing arguments different from those of earlier scholars.... Because this was a period in which people were fascinated with the novel and unusual, the book became fashionable. I am afraid that if we do not criticize it, its mistakes will have a greater impact on future students than its truths. For this reason, I have selected and 54 examined some dozen mistakes in his book. As Gu pointed out, in a climate favoring novelty, late Ming scholars delighted in fanciful new arguments, often propounded at the expense of historical accuracy. For instance, Zhao Yiguang interpreted a poem in the Book of Songs describing a group of young students who dropped out of school and wandered about the countryside as a metaphorical portrayal of an illicit love 55 affair. Contemporary writers received their share of condemnation as well. No one's work, including GuYanwu' s, was immune from scrutiny. When Gu and

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Yan Ruoqu met each other in 1672 at Fu Shan' s home, Yan pointed out a mistake Gu had made in a study of ancient geography, writing afterwards: Gu Ningren [i.e., Yanwu] argued that the three states ofYouzhou, Bingzhou, and Yingzhou were not among the nine states recorded in the Tributes oJYu (Yugong). 56 On a visit to Taiyuan, I corrected him face to face. "In fact," I said, "according to the 'Zhifangshi' chapter of the Zhou Rituals, the state of Bing contains a lake called Zhaoyuqi. Zhaoyuqi is thirty-two li northeast ofJiexiu county and is known locally as W uchengpo. You and I have visited it together."57

Twenty-three years younger than Gu, Yan Ruoqu was the most contentious member of Shanxi's intellectual community. In a later essay, Yan remarked that he and Gu hotly debated interpretations of the Classics when they met in 58 T aiyuan, and Gu, deeply impressed by Yan's criticisms, took them seriously when revising his Daily Record of Gained Knowledge. Intense scholarly debate created a climate in which everyone was under strain. In a letter to Pan Lei, Gu Yanwu wrote that both he and Fu Shan believed that those who wrote without being sufficiently well read produced scholarship that was harmful to later ages. He also told Pan that some of his own early writings should be thrown away because they were based on insuffi9 cient evidence. 5 So hypercritical did scholarly commentary become that, in a note of 1671 to the Annotations on the Mao Recension of the Book of Songs (Maoshi zhushu ), even Fu Shan reacted to Gu Yanwu' s complaint that Li Yindu had misused a term from the Classics by saying that Gu was being overly fastidious. From reading the notes and correspondence of early Qing scholars, it is evident that scholarly interchange and dispute rose to a unprecedented level in 60 this period. Under the circumstances, scholars tended to become increasingly cautious about the points they made, the books they cited, and the evidence they used to support their arguments. As scholars came to believe that scholarship should be more precise, it rapidly became so. Detection of forgeries (bianwei), as a discipline, was inextricably linked to 61 evidential research and can be viewed as part of the same movement. The most shocking discovery in the early Qing was brought to light in Yan Ruoqu' s Evidential Analysis of the -Guwen Documents, which convincingly proved that the Guwen Documents-hitherto regarded as one of the core Confucian classics-was not a pre-Qin version of documents originally written in so62 called guwen script, but a Han or a post-Han forgery. Yan's research created an earthquake in intellectual circles. For centuries the Guwen Documents had been considered an essential text for Confucian teaching; now, Yan had proved it a forgery. Liang Qichao (1873-1929) has stressed the importance of Yan's work in Qing intellectual history by comparing its effect to that of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) on mid-nineteenth-century Europe.63


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The impact ofYan Ruoqu's research extended far beyond study of the Confu~ cian classics. Scholars were increasingly skeptical regarding the authenticity of characters in so-called guwen script, other than those recorded in Xu Shen's Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing and some Song catalogues of ancient bronze objects such the Inscriptions on Bronze Ritual Vessels from Successive Dynasties.64 Some scholars suspected that many guwen characters were post-Han inventions, culled from "classics" that were in fact forgeries. If some Confucian classics were forgeries, why not the guwen characters in which these classics were purportedly written? Inevitably, this new scholarly rigor influenced calligraphy. Fu Shan's calligraphic works of the 1650s are littered with unusual character forms. But by the 166os calligraphers were becoming cautious in their use of unusual forms lest they damage their reputation. For a literatus, playing with unusual character forms, which might once have earned him a reputation as a man oflearning, was now just as likely to brand him as unscholarly and ignorant. Calligraphers had been in the habit simply of picking out strange characters from randomly selected texts and incorporating them into their calligraphies. Now it was no longer so easy: the selection of unusual forms had to be based on phonological or paleographical evidence, a change in attitude affecting even calligraphers such as Fu Shan, who had been eloquent advocates of eccentricity. Many of the unusual character forms in Fu Shan's earlier calligraphic works were taken from dictionaries compiled in the Song and Yuan dynasties, but with the advent of evidential research, their authenticity was now questioned. The Song dynasty Dictionary of Seal Script and Guwen Script Compiled in Rhyming Order, for example', was considered suspect, since it gave no source for any of its characters. One way to protect one's reputation was to reduce the number of unusual character forms in one's calligraphy or eliminate them altogether. Thus Fu Shan' s late calligraphy is markedly less eccentric, as witness the works included in the Collection ofFu Shan's Calligraphy Engraved by the Duan Family in Taiyuan (Taiyuan Duantie), reproductions of his late works carved by 65 his student Duan Xin (or Duan Shuyu, fl. 1674-85). Most of the works in this model~ book were executed between about 1675 and 1683, when Duan Xin began carving Fu's works in stone as a basis for the rubbings in the collection. Fu Shan, of course, was fully aware ofDuan's project and knew that this collection of his calligraphy would be the last he would live to see. No doubt he 66 discussed its production with Duan. Most significant, the works in this collection exhibit remarkably few unusual character forms. Nor is there a single example of seal script in the collection's seventy-some pages; all the calligraphies are works in regular, running, and cursive scripts. The character of this

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collection implies that toward the end of his life Fu was carefully censoring his calligraphy, perhaps aware of etymological problems in his early seal~script calligraphies. He knew that the Collection, once published, would be handed down for generations, and he wanted to exclude any materials that would make him a laughingstock in years to come. Fu Shan, however, did not give up seal script and unusual character forms entirely. A set of twelve hanging scrolls, now in the collection of the Chokaido bunko in Yokkaichi, Japan, is an interesting example ofFu's late seal~script calligraphy. Although undated, the work was almost certainly executed in the r67os, judging from the style ofFu's inscription and signature. Of the twelve scrolls, eight are written in running script (numbers r, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, g), one is in regular~running (number 5), and the remaining three are in seal script, a seal script bizarre both in its character forms and in its stylistic features (Fig. 3.4). In the eleventh scroll, the character for yu, "jade," in column one is written as a large circle with four small circles inside. This form of character is taken from the Pianhai leibian, a dictionary compiled in the Yuan dynasty that contains the largest number of unusual character forms of any dictionary. This work might seem to contradict the argument that Fu Shan became cau~ tious in writing seal script and unusual character forms in later life. But a more careful analysis of the circumstances under which this work was written may resolve this contradiction. Fu Shan' s short inscription on the last scroll reads:

My friends Zheng the Fourth, Shunqing, and Lithe Fifth, Duliang, wanted to estab67 lish a relationship with the master of this temple. They also wanted to make a donation. So they asked me for an ugly ink-play as a gift of introduction. Chanting poems, I casually wrote out these scrolls; no one can really tell the method of the poems or the style of the calligraphy. This old man made these rashly. Looking them over, I can only laugh at myself F u Shan's inscription makes it clear that this set of scrolls was made as a gift for friends who intended to present them to a temple. Mr. Zheng and Mr. Li were probably local townsmen rather than scholars. Fu Shan may have been fond of them or owed them a favor, but he seems not to have attached any great importance to their request. Fu Shan was well aware that people often asked him to write calligraphy because of his fame, not because they valued it aesthetically. In his inscription, Fu emphasized the casualness and haste of his "ugly ink~play," tuya, so that viewers would not take this work too seriously.68 By calling attention to its "deficiencies," he pre-empted criticism from scholars well versed in paleography. There may have been another reason Fu produced this strange seal-script calligraphy. Fu was a Daoist priest, and his set of twelve scrolls falls into the category known a "poetry of a roving immortal" (youxianshi). His frequent ref~ erences in these scrolls to Daoist immortals and to the Queen Mother of the

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Fig. 3·4 Fu Shan, Roving Immortal Poetry. Dared ca. 1670s. Eleventh (right) and rwelfrh (left) of a ser of twelve hanging scrolls, ink on sarin, each 252.1 x 48.8 em. Chokaido Bunko collection, Yokkaichi,Japan.

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~ Ir===.·


. .~ .I .

Fig. 3·5 Daoist secret graphs: (left) Daoist magic script. Dared 302. Ink-imprint. Nanjing, Jiangsu. (right) Daoist Ju. After Tseng Yuho, A History


of Chinese Calligraphy, pp. Bo-81.

West's peach of immortality support what we learn in the inscription, that these scrolls were intended for the master of a Daoisr temple. They bring to mind the Daoist tradition of writing in a magic script (ju) for religious talis69 mans (Fig. 3.5). There were characters in rhis magic script that were "nor intelligible to the untrained person. They [were J esoteric and secret graphs, ... highly inventive, and they were specially created to cover the three realms: 70 Heaven, earth and man.'' Although seal script is nor a form ofDaoisr ju, Fu Shan may deliberately have chosen strange characters to recall ju script, to disranee viewers from the morral world and complement the remote atmosphere of the temple in which his scrolls were to be hung. Whatever Fu's intentions here, occasion and function were often significant factors in determining Fu's 71 selection of character forms and type of scripr. Works such as this reflect an important aspect ofFu Shan's complex personality, namely, the heterogeneity of his philosophical views, which set him apart from other members of Shanxi's intellectual community such as the dedicated Confucian scholars Gu Y anwu, Y an Ruoqu, and Zhu Yizun. Gu 72 once alleged that he had never been interested in reading Buddhist rexrs. Fu, on the other hand, although deeply influenced by Confucian reaching-to rhe 73 point that he called Confucius "my masrer" -was a Daoisr priest who 74 claimed rhar he had abided by Buddhist discipline since his yourh. He rhus embodied the late Ming ideal of the Three Teachings in One. As we saw in Chapter r, in the "Biography of Mr. Who," he described himself in terms of a long list of questions and contradictory answers to prevent anyone from mak75 ing par assumptions about his personality, about "who" he was.


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The hybrid nature ofFu Shan's thought helps explain why his scholastic orientation was different from that of his friends. Although Gu Yanwu, Yan Ruoqu, and Zhu Yizun concentrated on studying the Confucian classics, Fu devoted considerable energy to studying the various schools and exponents of Daoist thought from pre~Qin times to the early years of the Han dynasty, in~ eluding the Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Huainanzi. He also wrote widely on Taoism and Buddhism. Whereas orthodox Confucianists treated study of classic Confucian classics (jingxue) as superior to study of the pre~ Han masters (zixue, or zhuzixue), Fu held that they should be treated equally. He argued that even Confucius and Mencius were called Kongzi and Mengzi (that is, they were simply two among many masters [zhuzi]) and that study of the pre~ 6 Han masters had a longer history than did study of the Confucian classics? The breadth ofFu Shan's philosophical interests renders him almost unique 77 in Qing intellectual history. As evidential research became increasingly popular among scholars in the early Qing, Fu Shan expressed grave doubts about the soundness of this approach in searching for truth. He contended, in a note written about r668 in a calligraphy album for his friend Gugu, that the issues of concern to evidential scholars were easy to understand and required little in the way of philosophical thinking. To explore the essence of things, he contended that one must make metaphysical inferences, moving beyond mere 78 empirical research. GuYanwu, Fu Shan's friend and competitor, once said of Fu Shan: "Unrestrained by the material world, he partook of the mystery of ,79 nature. Given the unconventional, contradictory facets ofFu Shan's personality, it is not surprising to find that although for the most part, perhaps, Fu in his later years reduced the use of unusual character forms and strange seal~ script calligraphy, yet on other occasions he reverted to practices that still exerted an 8 attraction on him. Fu, however, was well aware in these later years that there remained serious problems in determining accurately the forms, meanings, and etymologies of ancient characters. One of his poems reads:


[Studying] seal, zhou, dragon, and tadpole scripts is profoundly exhausting, Yet ancient scripts excel in their pictographic shapes. [At work] in a studio far from the human world 81 I knew not my ignorance till I grew old.

In his last line, an aging Fu Shan frankly admitted the difficulties of under~ standing ancient scripts. His interest in and use of such scripts reflects the shift from curiosity about the strange (qi) to intense study of the archaic (gu) that was one of the broad intellectual trends affecting a number of disciplines 'h m t e earlQ' y mg. 82

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STELES Evidential research and the study of bronze and stone artifacts were matters in which something more than mere scholarship or intellectual activity was in~ volved. They awakened deep emotions, particularly in the study of ancient steles-the major artifacts extant and the sites of the early collective memories of the Chinese. A poem by Fu Shan, "Dream of a Stele" ("Bei meng"), provides some understanding of the complex feelings experienced by students of steles. An ancient stele enters my lonely dream, Its text broken and illegible. But the lone character rong stands so large That even in my dream I halt and stare. In the Explanation of Names (Shiming), rong is a kind of flower, The hollyhock (shukui) that grows in areas of Shu. When the Han court was in Cancong [Shu] Where did the hearts of Han subjects lie? Now I hold this red sunflower; If even clouds cannot hide the sunlight, how can they? It is said the emperor of Shu was wise, 83 Yet, he needed to ask W uhou [Zhuge Liang] to plan . 84 hIS strategy.

This is a dream, or, more precisely, a poem about a dream, of a lost dynasty. It seems to have been common for those mourning fallen dynasties to express their regret and nostalgia by writing of dreams. Li Yu (937-78), third emperor of the Southern Tang, who was imprisoned by the Song after their invasion of his tiny kingdom, composed some of the most poignant ci poems ever written, in all of them dreaming of what is no more: So much to regret. Last night I dreamed 85 of my palace gardens.

The dreaming emperor visits his old palace, site of pleasures that are now only memories. In such dreams, the pain and regret oflosing his dynasty are briefly healed: I forget in dreams my imprisoned state; 86 I dwell in happiness, for a little while.

Unfortunately, beautiful dreams are short, but reality, long and sad: In dreams, I see my vanished kingdom once again. 87 I wake. Two tears run down.

Happy dream over, regret returns.

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Dream figures also in a poem by Emperor Huizong (Zhao Ji, ro82-II35; r. uor-25), the second to last emperor of the Northern Song and a captive of the invadingJin: Heaven is far; my land distant. Beyond ten thousand crags and torrents Who can find my former palace? How could I not miss it? 88 I only return in occasional dreams.

Small wonder, then, with a literature rich in poems like this, dreams invaded the poetic musings of scholars who were themselves mourning a lost dynasty. Dreams come with sleeping, but poems do not. Even if a poem is a truthful record of a dream, it involves conscious expression. Fu Shan's "Dream of a Stele" is full of allusions and metaphors that require explanation if it is to be fully understood. The central image in the poem is the shukui, the hollyhock or rose mallow. In China, the hollyhock is classified as belonging to a plant in the kui (sunflower) family and is regarded as a symbol ofloyalty because it turns to 89 the sun, the sun symbolizing the emperor or imperial favor. But Fu Shan's use of the shukui in "Dream of a Stele" is more complicated. The shukui was believed to have originated in the ancient state of Shu in southwestern China, whose territory corresponded roughly to what is today Sichuan province. Af~ ter the fall of the Han dynasty, three states-W u, Wei, and Shu~ Hancompeted with one another for political control of China in the 44~year period known as the period of the Three Kingdoms. The Shu kingdom was founded by Liu Bei, a member of the Han imperial family, who therefore named his regime Han. For those loyal to the Han dynasty, Liu Bei was the only legiti~ mate ruler in China, even although he controlled only a portion of what the Han had once ruled. In Fu Shan's "Dream of a Stele," loyalty, symbolized by shukui, is not loyalty in general but loyalty specially to the Shu~ Han regime. The original Han em~ pire was among the most powerful in Chinese history, and owing to the two most famous texts of Chinese historiography, the Records of the Grand Historian and History of the Western Han, a reverence for its former glory was deeply in~ grained in the minds and hearts of Chinese scholars. Two characters or words in Fu Shan's poem play on this historical background. The "shu" in"shukui (hol~ lyhock) refers also to the Kingdom of Shu, and "Han" refers both to the Han dynasty and to the Chinese as a people. The Chinese have long referred to themselves as the "people ofHan," but in Fu's time, references to the "Han" were significant in a more immediate way. During the Qing, the Manchus were called Manren, or people of Man, in contrast to the Hanren, or people ofHan, the ethnic Chinese. "Man~ Han" was a common term for "Manchus and Chi~ nese," or rather "Manchus versus Chinese." Thus, when in his poem Fu implied

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that Han subjects are always loyal to the Han house, he means that he himself will always at heart be loyal to the Ming dynasty, not to an alien regime. The main point here, however, is not simply that Fu Shan was asserting his loyalty to the fallen Min g. He could have invented many different dreams to express his passionate hope for a Ming restoration and his unyielding loyalty to an ethnically Han regime. Since the shukui symbolized loyalty already, why did Fu introduce a stele into his dream? What was the stele's added significance? Steles differ in format and literary style, as well as in their location and the reason they were made, yet all had one thing in common: they are memorial 90 monuments. Since the durable nature of stone allows them to survive wars, natural disasters, and the rise and fall of dynasties, over the passage of time they have become witnesses to history. Not only are the texts of ancient steles original sources for historiographers, but also the steles themselves are sym~ bols of the history and antiquity of Chinese culture. Students of Chinese poetry have long noted that the dynastic loyalist is of~ ten portrayed as a traveler wandering despondently through the ruins of a fallen capital.91 GuYanwu was the archetypal Ming loyalist. In the 1650s and 166os, he made more than a dozen visits to the Ming imperial mausolea in Nanjing (specially to Xiaoling, tomb ofEmperor Taizu, the first Ming em~ peror and his wife Empress Ma) and Beijing (specially to Changling, tomb of the Emperor Chengzu) for the purpose of"paying conscious and conscien~ tious obeisance to the memory of the imperial house which still had a call on 92 his loyalty." During his seventh visit to the imperial mausolea in Nanjing in 166o, GuYanwu wrote the poem "Revisiting Xiaoling" ("Chong ye Xiaoling"): Seeing me wandering, eunuchs and old monks I knew from before often wondered, "Why do you travel three thousand li 93 To Changling in spring and Xiaoling in fall?" At Xiaoling, Gu had viewed once again the massive memorial stele erected by the Yongle emperor in 1413-housed in a pavilion standing at the center of the 94 road leading northward inside the main gate -that Gu had mentioned in a poem entitled "Picture ofXiaoling" ("Xiaoling tu"), composed on a trip to the



mauso1eum m 1653. Gu was not the only member of the Shanxi intellectual community to visit the Ming imperial mausolea. His friends Li Yindu and Qu Dajun did so too. On the day of the Qingming festival in 1669, to mourn the fallen dynasty, Li accompanied Gu to Beijing on a visit to the thirteen Ming imperial mausolea at Changping. Both Gu and Li commemorated this emotional journey in writ~ ing, Li producing a set of thirteen poems, one for each tomb. Deeply moved by their pilgrimage, Fu Shan promised Li that he would write out the thirteen 96 poems in small regular script and accompany each poem with a painting.

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Although wandering among imperial tombs and roaming through the ruins of ancient capitals were perhaps the most ritualistic activities of Ming loyalists when mourning the fallen dynasty, a visit to any ancient historical site might . equally provoke deep sorrow. Numerous poems recording wanderings of this kind can been found in the writings ofFu Shan, Gu Yanwu, Zhu Yizun, and Qu Dajun. One object they frequently encountered at famous historical sites, as GuYanwu had at Xiaoling, was the memorial stele, which for the nostalgic loyalists symbolized the glorious past, now forever lost. The Southern Song poet Zhang Yan (1248-1320), was one of the earliest to employ the stele as a metaphor for dynastic misfortune. Hangzhou, the capital city of the Southern Song, was conquered by the Mongols in 1275. There, in 1278, when the complete collapse of the Song dynasty appeared inevitable, Zhang Yan visited a famous garden, where he found an inscribed stele hidden by bushes. A few lines from one of his poems read: My homeland has already seen so much sorrow. I touch a broken stele: 97 Again I mourn the present.

Touching a broken stele, the poet establishes a historical connection between past and present: the past is contemplated, the present mourned. Those who wandered through historical ruins tended to reflect on their own place in his~ tory. Whether they accepted the demise of their own dynasty, historical sites were a place for them to meditate on how their predecessors responded to the trauma of dynastic transition. A few poems by members of the Shanxi group suffice to demonstrate that Zhang Y an's metaphorical use of the stele was adopted by Ming loyalists in the early Qing. Qu Dajun, for instance, wrote "Reading the Memorial Stele of Zhuge Wuh~u [Zhuge Liang] in Leiyang" ("Leiyang guan Zhuge Wuhou bei"): [W uhou] was a hero forever; 98 Reading this stele, tears never cease.

The shedding of tears before a stele can be traced back as early as the mid~ third century, when a memorial stele was erected for Yang Hu (221-78), a popular governor of the region that includes Mount Xian (Xianshan, near Xiangyang in modern Hubei province). According to the History of]in (]in shu): [After Yang Hu's death,] the people ofXiangyang erected a stele and built a temple on the spot where Yang Hu used to take his ease on Mount Xian, and every year they [made] sacrifices to him.... Not a single person who looked on the stele could help 99 shedding tears, so that T u Yu gave it the name "stele for shedding tears.''

Later, the Stele for Shedding Tears (Duolei bei) became not only one of the most famous of memorial steles but also an image that constantly reappears in poetic meditations on the past (huaigu). As the Tang dynasty poet Meng

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Haoran (68g-ca. 740) wrote in his "Climbing Mount Xian with Others"("Yu zhuzi deng Xianshan"): In human affairs there is succession and loss; Men come and go, forming present and past. Rivers and hills keep traces of their glory, And our generation too climbs here for the view. The waters sink, run shallow through Fishweir; When the sky is cold, you see deep into Yunmeng Marsh. Yang Hu's stele is still here: 100 Done reading, tears soak our robes. Yang Hu lived through a dynastic transition from the Cao Wei to the West~ ern Jin and was deeply involved in contemporary politics. Meng, however, lived some 400 years later, and when he speaks of reading Yang Hu's stele, in all possibility he is engaged simply in meditating on the past rather than asso~ ciating it with a specific political incident. In this case, as Peter Sturman ar~ gues, "Reading stelae is contemplation of the past, diaogu, reflection on the pas~ sage of history, the actions of great people of former times, and by consequence, reflection on one's own place in history. It was a pattern that repeated over and over again on Mount Xian, as those who passed through 101 Xiangyangwere drawn to Yang Hu's stele." Qu Dajun's shedding tears be~ fore the Memorial Stele of Zhuge W uhou falls into the general category of medi~ tating on the past. The memory ofZhuge Liang, however, who appears as well in Fu Shan's "Dream of a Stele," was particularly cherished by survivors of the Ming~Qing cataclysm, who hoped against hope for the restoration of a native Chinese dynasty. The association of stele reading with dynastic transition is evident in the poems of that most frequent visitor to steles, GuYanwu. Accompanied by Hu Ting (fl. r64os-I67os), a student ofFu Shan's, Gu Yanwu visited Northern Qi steles in Fenyang, Shanxi, in r674. His poem "Visiting Northern Qi Steles with the Hermit Hu" ("Yu Hu Chushi Ting fang Bei Qi bei") is an evocative record of their visit: Spring mists float idly in the mountains Although grass and trees have yet to bloom. By town walls, the pheasants call; Off in the fields, voles run riot. I walk with my cane to the city's edge Where hermits live in mountain caves. Since upheaval marred theY ongjia reign [307-12] North China has lived long without stable rule: Rising, falling, ten monarchs have passed in a dizzy whirl.

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Distracted by affairs of the human world,

My friends hastily gather here. Reading a broken stele together 102 We mourn in sorrow both past and present.

In this case, mourning the present was accomplished through a ritualistic visit to a stele erected in the past. Small wonder, then, that Fu Shan dreamed of a stele, which to the Ming loyalist was a tangible manifestation of his emotional loss. Naturally enough, Fu's poem has elements in common with those just discussed. First, of course, there is the stele-broken, as was often the case, its ancient text an allegory of the ravaged homeland and broken hearts of the loyalist Chinese. Second, the poet sorrows over the collapse of both dynasties, his own and the dynasty to which the stele belonged. And finally, the stele is seen as linking present with past, having endured the tribulations of the past to endure the painful realities of the present. Discussing what the fall of a dynasty meant to its loyalists who survived, Kang~i Sun Chang points out that "to ... loyalists who [refused] to accept the death of the old order, the dynastic transition [was] the very definition of the 103 tragic moment in history." For those with deep feelings for their nation, dy~ nastic fall was a catastrophe, and wandering the country to visit ancient sites, reading and touching broken steles, provided an outlet for suffering. At least temporarily, these visits were soothing to psyches traumatized by the dynasty's collapse, an opportunity for a dialogue with history that transcended the limits of time. The search for ancient inscriptions in the early Qing promoted the practice of visiting steles (janghei). The sites most often visited were China's early po~ litical and cultural centers, in the north, where most early steles were located. As Yan Ruoqu once remarked, "Inscriptions on bronze and stone objects are more numerous in the north; writings carved on the wood of date and pear 104 trees are better in the south." As we know from scholarly catalogues and observers' notes, the steles visited by early Qing scholars were primarily pre~ tenth century in date, that is to say, they were steles erected in the Han through Tang periods. By the early Qing, northern provinces like Shandong and Henan were famous for the large number of steles and stone inscriptions dating from the Han and Six Dynasties period, whereas the region around Luoyang in Henan was famous for stone inscriptions from the Northern Dy~ 105 nasties, and Xi' an and its vicinity for Tang steles. Areas in which ancient steles were concentrated-places like the sacred Mount Tai and Qufu, Con~ . to vtsttors. .. 106 . 's h ometown-were natura11y t h e most attracttve fu ems Most of those in Fu Shan' s circle in Shanxi joined in this pursuit. Gu Y anwu, in particular, made a point of seeking out steles in his travels about China. In the mid~I66os, Gu journeyed to Shaanxi, a province famous for its

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ancient steles, and Cao Rong wrote two poems for his absent friend that read in part: Shed tears for the rise and fall of dynasties: Who said the Way is finished? On your return, we will talk of steles, 107 Valuable rubbings stuffed in your bags.

Cao knew that in the course of his trip, Gu would be sure to visit steles and make rubbings of their inscriptions; some of these rubbings of Han and Tang 108 steles he later sent to Cao from Shaanxi. Fu Shan himself traveled to other provinces to visit steles. In a letter to Dai Tingshi that probably dates from the early I67os, he wrote: I am going to realize a dream I have cherished for many years: visiting Mounts Song [Songshan) and Shaoshi [Shaoshishan in Henan]. Now that I am old and weak, I want to fulfill this goal before I die. I ask you to lend me a horse. And when the time comes, I will also need a capable servant to help me...• To cover travel expenses, I plan to sell a few calligraphies and paintings. Are there foolish people in your county 109 who would buy them?

Mounts Song and Shaoshi were famous mountains in China, particularly the former, which was the central mountain in the Chinese cosmological system of Five Yue mountains (Wuyue) and was thus considered the center of the uni~ 110 verse. As a sacred mountain, it had attracted innumerable pilgrims over the dynasties. Both Mount Song and Mount Shaoshi preserved many ancient ste~ les and stone inscriptions, including the famous Inscription on the Stone Gate to the Grand Cave at Mount Song (Songshan Taishi shique ming) and Inscription on the

Stone Gate for the Temple of Grand Empresses at Mount Song (Songshan Kaimumiao shique ming). These inscriptions were carefully recorded by early Qing scholars, including Gu Yanwu. 111 Viewing the steles on these two mountains would have been one of the chief goals of Fu Shan's trip. The practice of collecting rubbings from ancient bronzes and stone objects by no means began with the Qing literati. The Song literatus Zhao Yanwei (fl. ngs), for example, related that in the Five Dynasties period Xu Xuan (gi6-gi), a famous paleographer of the Southern Tang, visited the memorial stele of Xu Guo. 112 But it was in the Northern Song that collecting and cataloguing stele 113 rubbings first became a fashion among the literati. Scholarly works on bronze and stone artifacts written in this period record contemporary ac~ counts of stele visiting. Ouyang Xiu, for instance, mentioned in his Collected Records of Antiquities that when he was appointed magistrate of Qiande county in the Jingyou reign (w34-37), he visited the memorial stele ofXuan Rulou of 114 the Eastern Han. Zhao Mingcheng, another Northern Song scholar of


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bronze and stone artifacts, also recorded his trips to ancient steles in his Record

of Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone. 115 Stele visiting in the Song and in the Qing, however, differed in several re~ spects. First, whereas the practice was by and large the province ofloyalist scholars in the early Qing, in the Song it was a hobby of scholars serving as officials. Second, unlike Qing scholars, who traveled long distances to view steles, Song scholar~officials visited steles only occasionally and usually as they passed through places where famous steles were located. Third, rubbings of stone inscriptions, which Qing scholars made themselves as part of their re~ search, were in the Song produced by artisans as commercial items and were obtained by scholars chiefly through the antiques marker. 116 Last and most important, the study of bronze and stone artifacts in the Song did not contribute significantly to contemporary philosophical or in tel~ lectual discourse, as it did in the early Qing. True, the Song search for stele inscriptions was intended to advance the study of the Classics and historiog~ raphy, as in the work of Ouyang Xiu and Zhao Mingcheng, and, as Robert Harrist argues, "The study of ancient artifacts and inscriptions was an impor~ rant part of intellectual life during the Northern Song dynasty." 117 N everthe~ less, in the Song, such studies were undertaken out of personal interest, as a hobby, whereas in the Qing they assumed the guise of a moral and ideological 118 mission. In the preface to Collected Records of Antiquities, Ouyang Xiu listed the reasons he collected jinshi objects: "By nature, I like to have something on which to concentrate; I am also obsessed with antiques." He pointed out that rubbings of ancient inscriptions "can add and correct what has been missing and incorrect in the writing of history.... People may sneer at me by saying, 'As more things are discovered, it becomes harder and harder to collect [them all]. And collections will inevitably be broken up after a time.' But I reply, 'Collecting will satisfy my need for a hobby till I grow old. That is enough."'119 Reflecting the increasing enthusiasm for collecting rubbings, paintings of scholars reading steles make their appearance in the Song; some of the paint~ ings even purport to beTang in date. A painting entitled Reading a Stele by Pit~ ted Rocks (Dubei keshi tu ), now in the collection of the Osaka Municipal Mu~ seum of Art (Fig. 3.6), is the earliest such painting extanr/20 although traditionally attributed to Li Cheng (919-67 ), the painting is more likely a work by a Yuan artist in the Li Cheng tradition. But clearly earlier paintings than this once existed: in the Northern Song Painting Catalogue of the Xuanhe Era (m9-25) (Xuanhe huapu), four paintings entitled Reading a Stele (Dubei tu) are catalogued under the name of the Sui dynasty painter Zheng Fashi, 121 two more of the same title appear under the name ofWei Yan (fl. late seventh cen~ 122 tury-early eighth century), and two paintings, both entitled Reading a Stele by Pitted Rocks under the entry for Li Cheng. 123 Whether these paintings were really executed by these paint~rs is, of course, questionable, but the appearance

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Fig. 3.6 Li Cheng (919attrib., Reading a Memorial Stele. Hanging scroll, ink and color on sarin, 126.3 x 104.9 em. Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Abe Collection. 67 ),

of such titles in the Xuanhe catalogue is proof of the theme's popularity. At any rate, by the end of the Northern Song period, paintings of a scholar reading a stele had been incorporated into the long huaigu tradition of poetic meditation on the past. The study of bronze and stone artifacts declined in the Yuan and Ming periods. A few scholars, such as Du Mu (1459-1525), Yang Shen (1488-1559), Guo Zongchang, and Zhao Han (fl. 1573-1620 ), continued to pursue jinshi studies and traveled to view steles to further their research. Zhao Han, for example, who lived in Shaanxi, where many Han and Tang steles still survived, visited steles whenever they were at hand. In a preface to Zhao's study of bronze and stone artifacts, to which Zhao gave the title Excellent Rubbings of Stone Carvings (Shima juanhua), Kang Wanmin (jinshi 1634) wrote: (Mr. Zhao) loves antiquities from the depth in his heart. He searches for them everywhere and purchases them from distant places. He often rides a donkey from which hangs a pianti (a special container for alcohol) full of strong wine. Followed by atten-


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dants carrying brocade bags and by masters expert at making rubbings armed with paper and ink, he travels through the regions about the Zhou and Han capitals. Whenever he finds a stele, he cleans it himsel£ Then he directs exquisite rubbings to be made that he puts into his traveling bag. When meeting lofty literati at scenic spots, he brings out wine and enjoys the rubbings with them. If any beautiful poetic 124 lines are written, he deposits them in one of the brocade bags.

Zhao Han's attitude toward ancient steles reflects the leisurely mood of many late Ming literati. Generally speaking, collecting and appreciating took place in comfortable studios and gardens where life-as pictured in the paintings of Ming literati-was peaceful, quiet, and cultured. If these paintings can be taken as reliable, many cultural activities, including presumably the viewing of stele rubbings, took place in such locations in an atmosphere of elegance and relaxation. Although the Ming literati talked of what was gu-archaic or antique-in their minds gu was closely associated with what was ya, or "refined," 125 a delicate quality and a playfulness that echoed the relaxed literati life-style. There was, for such refined scholars, no strenuous hiking in search of ancient inscriptions long lost in remote stretches of difficult terrain. In the early Qing, those engaging in stele visiting were chiefly Ming loyalists who enjoyed neither the official position nor the economic and geographic stability of officials in the Song or literati in the Ming. As GuYanwu described it, "As an ordinary person in straitened circumstances, I do not have an attendant and horse when traveling. Nevertheless, I always take brush and ink with me as I wander among mountains and forests, amid gibbons and 11126 Their accounts often speak of hardship and danger, desolation and birds. wilderness; GuYanwu, for example, had "climbed risky peaks, explored deep valleys, handled fallen rocks, trekked through wild forests, walked on broken walls, and scooped up decayed soil" to search for ancient steles. Sometimes such hardships led to an exciting discovery. Zhu Yizun told this story about FuShan:

My friend Fu Shan from Taiyuan was traveling among the mountains ofPingding. By accident, he stumbled on a deep valley where he found a cave in which many steles engraved with [Buddhist] sutras had been erected. Like the Buddhist steles in the cave of Mount Fengyu, the inscriptions on those steles had been [carved] in the 127 Tianbao reign (550-59] of the Northern Qi.

The lonely atmosphere often pervading such scenes of stele visiting is nicely captured in a fan painting dated 1659 by the painter Zhang Feng (d. r662). A Ming loyalist, Zhang traveled extensively after the fall of the Ming to many of the places also visited by Gu Yanwu. Like Gu, he visited Mount Tianshou (Tianshou shan), where the Ming imperial mausolea are located, and no doubt he wandered among the imperial tombs. He was well aware, of course, of what ancient steles meant to the loyalists, as well as to those Han Chinese

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Fig. J.7 Zhang Feng (d. 1662), Reading a Memorial Stele. Dared 1659. Fan mounred as an album leaf, ink and color on paper, 16.6 x 50.1 em. Suzhou Municipal Museum. Afrer Zhongguo gudai shuhua tumu, vol. 6, p. 64, Su 1-213.

officials who remained sympathetic to the old dynasty even while serving the new Manchu regime. In Zhang's painting (Fig. 3·7 ), a scholar-official is carefully reading a stele with his hands clasped behind his back while his attendant holds the reins of a horse. The figure in the painting is not identified, nor is the recipient known. Probably it was an official like Cao Rong, who, like his loyalist friends, enjoyed visiting steles. Zhang wrote a short inscription on the painting: "Chilly mists, withered grass, ancient trees, distant mountains-huge, imposing, a stele stands. Around it, nothing human. Viewing it, I feel both past and present." As with Zhu Yizun's inscription, this note by Zhang Feng conjures up a desolate scene in which the stele 128 evokes a strong sense of history (gujin ). The playful mood so often found in Ming paintings is gone. The change of habit-from viewing rubbings of stele inscriptions in the quiet of one's own studio to reading the steles themselves, abandoned amid rustic decay-triggered a vastly increased appreciation of ancient stele inscriptions as calligraphy. Interactions with the actual physical environments in which ancient steles were to be found reinforced calligraphers' interest in the antique, the ruined, and the awkward, an interest that-although budding in the late Ming-only reached full flower in the early Qing. Fu Shan and his grandson Fu Liansu visited Mount Tai (Taishan) and Qufu, Confucius's hometown, about 1671. Fu Shan must have planned this trip for long time. A poem by Cao Rong written about 1666 is entitled "Farewell toFu Qingzhu, About to Pay Homage to the Family Mausoleum 129 of Confucius (Konglin)." The mausoleum was in Qufu, fifty miles or so from Mount T ai. We do not know for certain whether Fu Shan made a trip to Konglin in 1666; if he did, he must also have visited Mount T ai. A long poem Fu Shan wrote for his grandson after returning from his trip in 1671 expresses the excitement he and his grandson felt. The poem starts with the following lines:


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When I was fifteen years old, Study at home was very strict. My view of the world was limited to the courtyard, Not allowed to go out the gate. Now you are fifteen, Respected as a young adult. Old and weak, I journeyed to Mount Tai, You were allowed to accompany me. [After ascending Mount Tai], Insignificant books will not be worth reading, Nor composing meager writings. Riding the high clouds we looked far across the world, .. resonate m . t h e sk y. 130 Nbl o e sp1nts

For most of his life, Fu must have dreamed of visiting Mount Tai. Ever since the Eastern Zhou period, Mount T ai had been considered the most im~ portant and sacred mountain in China. In no B.c., Emperor Wu of theW est~ ern Han held the first jengshan ceremony at Mount T ai, a ritual in which, as emperor, he received the mandate of Heaven and expressed gratitude to the Earth. Similar ceremonies were held there in the dynasties that followed. 131 Over time, numerous inscriptions were engraved on the natural rocks, creating 2 monuments that in grandeur were akin to steles.U As Wu Hung points out, "Rarely [do] we find a 'memory site' like T aishan: instead of being dedicated to a single person and for a definite cause, T aishan commemorates numerous 133 historical personages and events, and conveys the voices of different ages.'' From reading histories like Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian and po~ ems like Qu Fu's "Gazing at Mount Tai" ("Wang yue"), the legend of Mount T ai remained vivid in the minds of the Chinese literati. Thus the first half ofFu Shan's poem for his grandson recalls the long leg~ endary history of Mount T ai, beginning with Confucius's climb to visit the divine mountain's pines, which were themselves regarded as monuments. The poem's second half treats their visit to Qufu, where he and his grandson saw several steles. By the early Qing, T ai' an, the region that included Mount T ai and Qufu, was the place where most ancient steles-particularly Han steleswere concentrated. Not only did many Han steles survive in the Temple of Confucius at Qufu, but also, some twenty miles to the south in Zou county (Zouxian), the home ofMencius (ca. 372-289 B.c.), there were mountains with famous cliff inscriptions from the Northern Dynasties. And twenty~five miles southwest of Qufu lay Jining, where a Confucian temple housed anum~ ber of famous Han steles. Several members of the Shanxi intellectual commu~ niry, among them Gu Yanwu and Zhu Yizun, made pilgrimages to these sites. Not only did Fu and his grandson see the ancient steles at Qufu, but it is likely

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Fig. 3.8 Wujeng Stone Inscription . Dated 56 B.c. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper, measurements unavailable. Palace Museum, Beijing. After Qi Gong, Zhongguo

meishu quanji, P· 64, pl. 45·

that they made rubbings, including one of the Memorial Stele of Kong Zhou (see 134 Fig. 3.2). In Qufu, Fu Shan and his grandson also visited a stone with famous inscription carved in the second year of the Wufeng reign (56 B.c.) of the Western Han (Fig. 3.8). In his poem, Fu spoke movingly ofboth the inscription and another untitled stele: North of the cypress (planted by Confucius) stands a massive stele Sadly damaged by earthquakes, Inscription now too blurred to read. Touching it, deep in our souls, we sense the spirit of the master sage. You, too, loved the calligraphy of the W ufeng Stone Inscription (Wujeng [keshi ]): How marvelous the element ge ~ (in the character cheng AJ. Copying it, 135 Like visiting the capital of the Western Han.

Copying steles, like touching them, was a spiritual act, replete with emotion. The Memorial Stele of Kong Zou and the Wufeng Stone Inscription had been damaged with the passage of time. But damage only accentuated the rough, plain, and awkward qualities of ancient steles and inscriptions that appealed so greatly to a number of early Qing calligraphers. What they needed was someone to conceptualize the new taste.


Fu Shan's Advocacy ofEpigraphical Calligraphy

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With "returning to origins" now in large measure the framework for scholarly activity, and embracing history-or the past-not merely an intellectual but also a psychological need, conditions were ripe for changes in calligraphy, an art that has always enjoyed a close relationship with intellectual trends. Early Qing calligraphers, aware of the shift in calligraphic taste, confronted two questions: To what origins should they return? And how was this search for origins to be conceptualized? Many members of Shanxi's intellectual community in the early Qing were leading scholars, but of these, Fu Shan was the most influential in the art of calligraphy. Not only was he an extremely talented calligrapher, but also his income largely depended on it. More than others, then, he devoted himself to calligraphy, and his interest and accomplishments in this field made him an eloquent spokesman for the change in calligraphic taste. Yet Fu Shan never wrote a unified treatise on calligraphy: most of his comments on calligraphy are either brief notes found scattered among his writings or colophons on rubbings of ancient inscriptions. A careful study of these scattered comments, however, reveals that Fu Shan argued persistently in favor of"returning to origins" as a source of new inspiration for calligraphic innovation: Unless one practices seal- and clerical-script calligraphy, even if one has studied calligraphy for 36,ooo days, in the end, one is still unable to comprehend the key 136 source of this art. To talk of calligraphy without knowing the origins of seal and zhou scripts is like liv. . dream.137 mgma If one's regular script is not derived from seal, clerical, and bafen scripts, it will have a slavish appearance not worth looking it. Old Suo [Jing; 239-303) grasped this principle, and people can understand it by studying Suo's Model Essay on Draft Cursive (]ijiu[zhang]). (When studying] the seal, clerical, and bafen scripts, one should give full attention not only to shapes and structures but also to their lively movements and 138 turns of the brush. Writing regular script without incorporating transformations derived from a knowledge of seal- and clerical-script calligraphy will, even if one is highly skilled, yield vulgar results. The value of the calligraphy of Zhong (You) and Wang (Xizhi] came 139 from their understanding of this precept.

In line with the early Qing intellectual trend of a "return to origins," Fu Shan-by insisting that calligraphy should be grounded in seal and clerical script-was seeking for roots earlier than Wang Xizhi, who was himself the origin of the elegant, fluent, refined calligraphy of the model-book tradition. Chinese writing had begun with the forms of seal script, which were the common scripts of everyday life up until the end of the Qin period, at the end

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of the third century B.c. In the Han dynasty, clerical script replaced seal script as the dominant script type. Zhong You and Wang Xizhi lived in the third and fourth centuries, when clerical script and seal script (which lingered on) were largely superseded by cursive, regular, and running scripts as the domi~ nant types. With the advent of these newer script types, both seal script and clerical script became archaic. It was to these early scripts, preceding the era of Wang Xizhi that Fu Shan and other early Qing calligraphers traced the ori~ gins of call,raphy. Fu Shan stated forcefully that the seal and clerical scripts prevalend)efore the Wei~Jin period of Zhong You and Wang Xizhi were the best models for the study of calligraphy. He reasoned further that Zhong You and Wang Xizhi became the greatest masters of regular~, running~, and cur~ sive~script calligraphy because they had explored the transformation of seal and clerical scripts into more modern scripts and therefore retained the method and spirit of these early scripts. Fu Shan was not the first to observe this transformation in ancient calligra~ phy. Huang Bosi (ro79-m8) of the Song dynasty pointed out in his Dongguan

yulun: In the Qin dynasty, seal script evolved into clerical script. In the Han dynasty, which was not far from ancient times, standard clerical script still bore the spirit and form of seal script. After the Han dynasty, the method of the small regular styles of Zhong Yuanchang [Zhong You] and Shiji [Zhong Hui (225-64), Zhong You's son] of the Wei dynasty and Wang Shijiang [Wang Xizhi's uncle Wang Yi], Yishao [Wang Xizhi], and Zijing [Wang Xianzhi] of the Jin dynasty derived from the Han clerical script. The brushwork was round, powerful, plain, and elegant, and character struc~ 140 ture was squat, not oval. This argument must have found echoes in the late Ming because a text attrib~ uted to Li Zhi discusses the calligraphic transformation from script to script 141 in nearly identical terms. Although Fu Shan was not the first in the early Qing who made this observation, he readdressed the issue in lucid and power~ fullanguage and called on calligraphers to reinvestigate the transformation for purposes of calligraphic innovation. Although Fu Shan stressed the importance of seal script for calligraphic studies and innovation, most early Qing calligraphers, including Fu Shan, concentrated on clerical rather than seal script. There were at least two possi~ ble reasons for this. First, original rubbings of ancient inscriptions in seal script came mainly from two sources, stone and bronze objects. Archaeologi~ cally reliable steles inscribed in seal script predating Wang Xizhi were rare in Fu Shan's time. Only the inscriptions on the Stone Drums and a few severely damaged Qin steles survived, and few rubbings of these were available. Fur~ thermore, few rubbings of seal script inscriptions from bronze vessels and stone objects circulated among the literati. Gu Yanwu's six~juan Record of


Fu Shan's Advocacy ojEpigraphical Calligraphy

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(left) Fig. 3-9 Memorial Stele of Cao Quan. Dared A.D. 185. Rubbing mounted as analbum, ink on paper, each 24.2 x 12.5 em. Former collection of Fu Shan. After Zhongguo Jiade auction catalogue, April 24, 2001, Beijing, lor 775· (right) Fig. 3.10 Wang Duo (1593-1652), Calligraphy in Clerical Script. Dared 1644. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper, measurements unavailable. After Wang Duo, Nishanyuan tie, p.172.

Inscriptions on Bronze and Stone Objects records only two inscriptions on bronze vessels and five on stone objects carved before the Qin, and some of these were regarded by the author either as dubious or as later copies. By contrast, in the late Ming and early Qing periods, not only did a number of Han steles in clerical script survive from which to rubbings could be made, but also Han steles in clerical script were continually being rediscovered. In the Wanli reign, when the Memorial Stele of Cao Quan was excavated, its refined writing and engraving immediately provoked an interest in clerical script 142 among caltigraphers (Fig. 3·9 ). Wang Duo, for example, made a study of the clerical script on this stele, and the well-balanced character structures and gracefully curved strokes in an example ofWang's clerical-script calligraphy from 1644, the last year of the Ming dynasty, strongly resemble the stylistic features of the Cao Quan stele (Fig. 3.ro ). The Shaanxi collector Guo Zong143 chang, who owned the best rubbing of the Memorial Stele of Cao Quan, was another calligrapher known for his clerical script. Inscriptions in clerical script in late Ming printed books, such as the Ink Manual of the Fang Family (Fig. 3.rr), reflected the increasing interest in this script. Ironically, the careful, scholastic revival of interest in clerical script during the early Qing owed much to the lively if indiscriminate culture of the late Ming. Although Qing scholars reacted against the lack of rigor in Ming scholarship, it was freethinkers in the Ming who first envisioned the broad possibilities of clerical script. Rubbings of Han steles were treasured by early Qing scholars, collectors, and calligraphers. Many Shanxi intellectuals, such as Cao Rong, Wang

Fu Shan's Advocacy ofEpigraphical Calligraphy •

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(left) Fig.

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Ink-Manual of the Fang Family in


clerical script. 1583. Harvard- Y enching Library. (right) Fig. 3.12 Memorial Stele of Zhang Qian. Dared A.D. 185. Rubbing mounted as an album, ink on paper, measurements unavailable. Palace Museum, Beijing. After Han Z hang Qian bei.

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(Yin Zhou bei), Memorial Stele of Kong Zhou (Kong Zhou bei), Memorial Stele of Xia Cheng (Xia Cheng bei), Memorial Stele of Liang Hu (Liang Hu bei), Memorial Stele of Shi Chen (Shi Chen bei) Memorial Stele of Cao Quan, Memorial Stele of Heng Fang (Heng Fang bei), and Memorial Stele ofYi Ying (Yi Ying bei). 144 The wide range of Han stele rubbings available to early Qing scholars and calligraphers was a necessary condition for the revival of clerical script writing. Early Qing scholars also neglected seal script for another reason. Although there was increasing interest in studying ancient writings in the early Qing, paleography did not acquire a systematic scholarly character until much later, in the second half of the eighteenth century. This lack of systematization characterized in particular such primary seal script sources as the Analysis of Characters as an Explanation of Writing, the Han dictionary written in lesser seal script, as well as what compilations there were of inscriptions on bronze objects, especially inscriptions that were pre-Qin. 145 Without reliable studies of ancient seal script, serious calligraphers working in a period that set great store on scholarly accuracy were reluctant to practice it. Studies of Han clerical script steles advanced more in the early Qing than they had at any time since the Song dynasty. Fu Shan's careful examination of Hong Kuo's Interpreting Han Clerical Script Writing demonstrates the seriousness of his studies, and he seems to have copied many more Han clerical script


Fu Shan's Advocacy ofEpigraphical Calligraphy

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