Calligraphy, Paintings and Rubbings from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

By The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

In the past decades, it is the generosity of many donors and the foresight of our predecessors that have contributed to the gradual growth of our collections. Among these treasures, there are valuable artworks from notable figures from the Qing dynasty to modern times. These figures include Li King-hong, Deng Fen, Feng Kanhou, Huang Zhou, Zhang Daqian, Chao Shao-an, Jao Tsung-I and Gao Xingjian. The remarkable items show high artistic value and, at the same time, stand witness to social interaction among members of the literary circles.

From left: Poem by Tao Yuanming in Running Script by Prof. Jao Tsung-I, Prof. Jao Tsung-I (1917-2018), 2002, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
,
Lotus, Huang Yongyu (1924-), From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
,
Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong Province, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Paintings
Hong Kong used to be a place of refuge for mainlanders during the many political upheavals in China, which brought about frequent interaction between Guangdong and Hong Kong artists and Literati. Artists emigrated from Guangdong and became active members of the Hong Kong artistic and literary scene.

Ink Butterfly with Colophon by Li King-hong (1890-1960)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Ink Butterfly with Colophan (1930, 1947)

Li King-hong (1890-1960)

Li King-hong painted Butterflies in ink in 1930 and inscribed a poem using lines from the poetry of the Qing poet Sun Yuanxiang (1760 -1829). 

Li specialized in Chinese paintings of plum blossoms, ink butterflies, ink dragons and calligraphy, especially the regular script.

In 1947, Li further inscribed a ci-poem of his own and added eleven seven-character quatrains composed of lines from Xi Peilan's poetry - Xi was Sun's wife and a disciple of the renowned Qing scholar, Yuan Mei.   Li also invited members of Shuoguo Poetry Society to inscribe twenty-tour poems.

Azaleas (1939) by Deng FenThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Azaleas (1939) by Deng Fen (1894-1964)

This work was painted as a gift to Li King-hong. Deng Fen was best known for his portraits of female figures, arhats, flower and birds. Deng was part of the "Nine Friends in Painting" which included also Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong and Zhang Daqian.

Zhang Daqian Bamboo and Plum Blossom by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) presented this painting to Wang Yufeng in the 1940s. It is included in an album in Wang's collection of twenty-nine paintings and calligraphy, completed mostly between 1943 and 1947.  


Zhang was born in Neijiang (in Sichuan province), was a renowned painter who enjoyed worldwide acclaim. He held frequent solo exhibitions of his calligraphy and paintings in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Wu De Tu (Five Virtues) by Ding Yanyong (1902-1978)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Wu De Tu (Five Virtues)

Ding Yanyong (1902-1978)

Ding Yanyong actively devoted himself to oil painting creation in his early years, and later returned to traditional Chinese ink painting, involving calligraphy and seal cutting. His works cross the boundaries of Chinese and Western art. 

Hong He Qing Wa (Red Lotus and Frog) by Ding Yanyong (1902-1978)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Hong He Qing Wa (Red Lotus and Frogs)

Ding Yanyong (1902-1978)

Ding Yanyong is particularly known for his freehand ink painting, bringing new breakthroughs to Chinese painting. These two paintings were donated by Mr. Luya to the CUHK Library.

Orchid by Chao Shao-an (1905-1998)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Orchid

Finger painting by Chao Shao-an (1905-1998) which was presented to Rulan Chao Pian.  Chao Shao-an's artistic footprints spread all over Europe, America, and Asia. He is well-known in the international art scene for his combination of form and spirit and colourful Lingnan painting style.    

Wan Nian Tu Yan (1971) by Chao Shao-an (1905-1998)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Wan Nian Tu Yan (1971)

Wan Nian Tu Yan (Burst into Gorgeous Bloom for Ten Thousands Years) by Chao Shao-an (1905-1998).  Chao has always been rooted in Guangzhou and Hong Kong throughout his life, and is closely linked to the two places.

Fan with paintings by Shang Yanliu and Chao Shao-an by Shang Yanliu (1875-1963) and Chao Shao-an (1905-1998)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Fan with paintings

Shang Yanliu and Chao Shao-an

Painting by Shang Yanliu

Shang Yanliu  was an expert in regular script, cursive script, and running script.  He was a well-known literati and calligrapher in the late Qing dynasty to the early Republican period. In 1904, he participated in the final civil service examination of the Qing dynasty and attained third place in the palace examination.  

Painting by Chao Shao-an

Fan with Painting by Wang Shixiang by Wang Shixiang (1914 – 2009)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Fan with Painting by Wang Shixiang (1914 – 2009)

Born in Beijing, Wang Shixiang was a leading Chinese calligrapher and collector.

Lotus by Huang Yongyu (1924-)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Lotus

Huang Yongyu (1924-)

Internationally renowned art master Huang Yongyu was born in Fenghuang County, Hunan Province in 1924. In his early years, he was well-known for his creation of woodcut prints.

Later he turned to the development of ink painting, from the field of black and white lines to the world of colours. He also painted a large number of works with lotus as the subject.

Riding in Manaisi by Huang Zhou (1965) by Huang Zhou (1925-1997)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Riding in Manaisi River (1965)

Huang Zhou (1925-1997) 
Huang Zhou completed this painting in Beijing as a gift to Wang Yun, the wife of Liao Yiyuan. Huang's paintings had won several awards and are known for their vivid depiction of everyday life and ethnic cultures, especially his lively depictions of donkeys.

Flourishing as the Pine Tree (2002) by Jao Tsung-I (1917-2018)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Flourishing as the Pine Tree (2002)

Elegant Chinese scroll painting by Prof. Jao Tsung-I presented to John Minford and Rachel May, the editors of the 80th birthday book for Prof. David Hawkes, for the cover illustration.

Prof. Jao Tsung-I, a native of Chao'an, Guangdong, was educated in the classics, prose and poetry, and calligraphy and painting at an early age. As an archivist at the Centre of the Guangdong Gazetteer at Sun Yat-sen University of Guangzhou, Jao served as the chief editor of Gazetteer of Chaozhou. Jao has lectured and researched at various universities in Asia and Europe.

Celebrated for his contributions in Dunhuang study, historiography, poetics and calligraphy, Jao is a prolific author and has received an accolade of international awards in Sinology.

La Gite' flottante (The Floating City) (2005) by Gao Xingjian (1940-)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

La Gite' flottante (The Floating City) (2005)

Dr. Gao Xingjian (1940-)

Gao was born in Ganzhou (in Jiangxi province) and is a well-known novelist, essayist, playwright, painter and literacy critic. Gao became the first Chinese to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000 for his acclaimed novel Soul Mountain. 

From left: Ink Sketch, Dr. Gao Xingjian (1940-), 1999, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
,
Untitled, Dr. Gao Xingjian (1940-), 1987, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

These ink paintings break the boundaries between Chinese ink aesthetics and Western abstract works by blending the qualities of both traditions to create a brand new artistic landscape. In November 2001, Gao received an Honorary Doctorate from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2004, Gao donated some of his manuscripts, ink paintings and photographs to the University Library, including these paintings.

Calligraphy

Letter by Su Shi to He Shengke in Running Script (1888) by Fu Xi (1840-1902)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Letter by Su Shi to He Shengke in Running Script (1888)

This calligraphy is by Fu xi (1840-1902) who took a few lines by Su Shi, the renowned Literati-scholar in the Song dynasty, and presented them in running script as a calligraphy album to the well-known artist, Ju Lian (1828-1904). 

The calligraphy is among the eight Fu Xi pieces collected by Ma Kiam, donated to the University Library in 2009; other works in the collections, all in running script, include two five-character quatrains and pieces of Su Shi's writings.

Calligraphy in cursive script by Yu Youren, Yu Youren (1879-1964), From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Ma Heng Poem on Eight Scenaries in Ganzhuang in Running Scipt (1941) by Ma Heng (1881-1955)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Poem on Eight Scenaries in Ganzhuang in Running Script

This set of eight seven-character quatrains written by Ma Heng (1881-1955), was presented to his younger brother, Ma Kiam, in praise of the majestic landscape and magnificent scenery during the former's stay at Ganzhuang in Spring 1941.  

In the Republican ear, the brothers of the Ma family were hailed together as the "Five Mas" for their remarkable contribution to the Chinese academia. 

Ma Kiam Poem in Running ScriptThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Poem in Running Script

Ma Kiam (1882-1959)

The seven-character quatrains were presented as a gift to Li King-hong. Ma Kiam, a native of Jin County (in Zhejiang province), obtained the xiucai qualification in the late Qing period.

Ma Kiam first came to Hong Kong in 1936 to lecture on classical literature in the University of Hong Kong's Chinese Department and served as the Department Head after the Second World War when he returned from China. He retired in 1951 and was well remembered for his contributions to the local theatre.

Mourning Poem in Running Script, Shen Yinmo (1883-1971), 1939, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

This five-character elegy was composed by Shen Yinmo in memory of Qian Xuantong, the venerate lighuist who passed away in 1939.

Seven-character Couplet, Deng Erya (1884–1954), From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Mao Dun Poem in Running Script (1962)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Poem in Running Script (1962)

Mao Dun (1896-1981) 
This hanging scroll featuring Mao Dun's calligraphy of his own seven-character quatrain was presented to Liao Yiyuan in 1962. The poem was composed in 1945, inspired by the sights on a ferry ride in Chongqing.

Mao Dun, the pen name of Shen Dehong, was a venerated modern Chinese writer and literary critic born in Tongxiang (in Zhejiang province). He became the chief editor of the influential Fiction Monthly in 1920. His works included the novels Midnight and Spring Silkworm.

Seven-character Couplet, Zeng Keqi (1900-1975), From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Feng Kanghou Seven-character Couplet in Seal Script by Feng Kanghou (1901-1983)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Seven-character Couplet in Seal Script

This seven-character couplet in seal script was written by Feng Kanghou (1901-1983) and presented to Pun Sun-on. The inscription is about Feng's joy as his eye disease plaguing him for years was finally healed. Feng composed a couplet using lines from two existing ci-poems.

Feng Kanghou Seven-character Couplet in Seal Script by Feng Kanghou (1901-1983)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Wang Guowei's Words in the World in Running Script by Tai Jingnong (1902-1990)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Wang Guowei's Words in the World in Running Script

Tai Jingnong (1902-1990)

Tai Jingnong was born in Huoqiu, Anhui. As a famous writer, literary critic, and calligrapher, his work was extensively involved in bronze inscriptions, carved stones, stele plates and various ink marks.

Wang Guowei's Words in the World in Running Script, Tai Jingnong (1902-1990), From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Calligraphy in Seal, Clerical, Regular and Cursive Scripts - Inscriptions on "Stone drums" by Chen Jinghong (1903-1993)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Calligraphy in Seal, Clerical, Regular and Cursive Scripts

Chen Jingghong (1903-1993)
Shiguwen (Inscriptions on "Stone drums"), no.8 in seal script.

Calligraphy in Seal, Clerical, Regular and Cursive Scripts - Liqbei (Stele on ritual vessels) by Chen Jinghong (1903-1993)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Liqbei (Stele on ritual vessels) from the Eastern Han era, in clerical script.

Calligraphy in Seal, Clerical, Regular and Cursive Scripts - Yihe ming (Epitaph for a crane) by Chen Jinghong (1903-1993)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Yihe ming (Epitaph for a crane) from the Southern dynasties in regular script.

Calligraphy in Seal, Clerical, Regular and Cursive Scripts - Jijiu zhang" (Rudiments of writing) by Chen Jinghong (1903-1993)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

"Jijiu zhang" (Rudiments of writing) by Shi You of the Han dynasty, after Zhao Mengfu's cursive script.

These four scrolls are imitations of four calligraphy masterpieces in China by Chen Jinghong, a native of Shunde, Guangdong. Chen was born into a respected Lingnan scholar family. He travelled all over China and became acquainted with numerous luminaries of his day, including Huang Binhong, Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi and Kang Youwei.

From left: Poem by Tao Yuanming in Running Script by Prof. Jao Tsung-I (2002) by Prof. Jao Tsung-I (1917-2018)The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Poem by Tao Yuanming in Running Script (2002)

Jao Tsung-I (1917- 2018)

To commemorate the establishment of the Rare Book Room in the University Library in 2002, Jao Tsung-I wrote this calligraphy of one the thirteen poems by Tao Yuanming titled "Reading the Classic of the Mountains and Seas" in running script. 

From left: Poem by Tao Yuanming in Running Script by Prof. Jao Tsung-I, Prof. Jao Tsung-I (1917-2018), 2002, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more
Yu Mu Nang Xiang, Jao Tsung-I (1917-2018), 2002, From the collection of: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Show lessRead more

Rubbings
The CUHK Library's collection of rubbings contains a few gems, such as Daguan Model Calligraphy, Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still Clouds, and rubbings from the Wu Family Shrines, which are of vital interest to the study of Chinese calligraphy and history.

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong ProvinceThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong Province

Engraved in the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220) Ink rubbing, late Qing dynasty

Han-dynasty tombs and family shrines were often decorated with carvings that told stories of honorable historical figures, such as ancient emperors, filial sons, loyal court officials, martyrs and virtuous women. These images served as lessons of virtue and morality to the descendants of the family. The Wu Family Shrines from the Eastern Han dynasty in Shandong province is a large complex.

Stone chambers are located at the front and on the left and right of the shrine for the eleven members spanning four generations of the Wu family. It is also a rich artistic rove featuring wall paintings, calligraphy engravings and stone inscriptions.

Wu Liang (78-151) served as a Retainer in court in the Eastern Han dynasty. The Wu Liang Shrine is located at the right side of the family shrine. It contains five large stone tablets featuring various portraits. Two of them are a part of the stone ceiling of the shrine but their original carvings of auspicious and mythical images had been damaged beyond recognitions.

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong ProvinceThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

The CUHK Library has the book, Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, in traditional thread binding, containing original rubbings from the late Qing dynasty cut into page size.

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong ProvinceThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

The book includes rubbings of he better preserved second row of Tablet 1 from the Wu Liang Shrine that shows portraits of ancient emperors along with the inscriptions.

Xia Yu

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong ProvinceThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

The fourth row martyred assassins

Emperor Qi 

Niezheng, a famous musician assassin of the Warring States period (c.475-221BC) 

Rubbings of the Wu Liang Shrine, Shandong ProvinceThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Jing Ke, the famous assassin of the late Warring States 

Daguan Model CalligraphyThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Daguan Model Calligraphy

Prototype in the 3rd year of Daguan reign (1109), Northern Song dynasty. Re-engraved version from Ming dynasty. 
In 992, Song Emperor Taizong issued an edict to compile a collection of model calligraphy through the dynasties. The collected works were then made in to a ten-juan woodblock printed series called Chunhua mige fatie (Model calligraphy of Chunhua hall)

Daguan Model CalligraphyThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

By the third year of the Daguan reign (1109), the original woodblock engravings were aged an damaged and were unable to be used for printing; it is also recorded that the woodblocks were destroyed in fire. 

Daguan Model CalligraphyThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Moreover, as scribal errors existed in the original woodblocks, Song Emperor Huizong appointed Cai Jing (1047-1126) and others to produce a new engraving of Chunhua mige fatie. He also ordered its carving on stone, in the style of the imperial calligraphy collection. 

Daguan Model CalligraphyThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

As this set of stone carvings at Taiqing Lou, a library inside the Northern Song palace, was made during the Daguan reign, it was known as Daguan Tie or Taiqing Lou Tie. 

Daguan Tie is known for its high standard of accuracy and superior craftsmanship. It also eliminated many errors in the original Chunhua version. Daguan Tie has been highly valued since its creation. Emperor Huizong was abducted in the Jingkang Incident (1127) and the original Daguan Tie engravings were raided by the Jin army. Copies of it became a rarity in the Song dynasty and those circulated in the Ming and Qing dynasties were odd copies.

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still CloudsThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still Clouds

Complied by Wen Zhengming (1470-1559)
Prototype in the 16th to 39th year of Jiajing reign (1537-1560), Ming dynasty, Recut version. 

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still CloudsThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still Clouds

The CUHK Library has the ten-juan collection of old rubbings of the re-engraved Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still Clouds in accordion binding in ten volumes.  Each volume comes with a corresponding carving of Zhennan wood, on which is a silk label inscribed with the name of the book and the volume number.

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still CloudsThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

The collection, compiled by Wen Zheng (1470-1559) and his sons Wen Peng (1498-1753) and Wen Jia (1501-1583), features works of calligraphy masters from the Jin to the Ming dynasties.  Some were authentic manuscripts.

Model Calligraphy of the Hall of Still CloudsThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

The compilation of the collection starred in the 16 year of Jiajing reign (1537) and was completed 23 years later in 1560, a year after Wen Zhengming passed away.  The elder and younger Wens were experts in the art of calligraphy and poetry and known for their careful selection of old masterpieces.

Thanks to the painstaking efforts of our predecessors and generous donations from the public, this exhibition presents a record of how wisdom and knowledge have been accumulated and passed on through the devotion of many throughout the generations. From the Treasure House we inherited, we hope to continue committing ourselves to the preservation of more cultural treasures of aesthetic and scholarly value for the generations to come.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps