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Source text - English Fractured China, 1850–1950
by Jonathan Spence
To live in late Qing China was to be constantly surprised. War, for one thing, was not what it used to be. In the early 1850s, rebels who practiced a personalized version of fundamentalist Christianity were able to march and fight their way from the deep south to the Yangzi river, and to sail downstream and capture the huge city of Nanjing, which they claimed as their destined home till the second coming of the Messiah would see them transported to the heavenly paradise. In the late 1850s, British warships steamed up to Tianjin, landed their troops on the mudflats near the city, and fought their way through to Beijing to impose a new treaty system on the Manchu Qing dynasty. When some of their treaty negotiators were cruelly killed, the British, joined now by the French, billeted their troops in Beijing and burned the emperor’s splendid summer palace to the ground....
English to Chinese: After The “Five Barbarians Brought Disorder to China” ·《且看“五胡乱华”后》 General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: History
Source text - English After The “Five Barbarians Brought Disorder to China”
-Painting in North China in the Sixth Century
David Ake Sensabaugh
Director of Asian Art Department of Yale University Art Museum
Writing in the middle of the ninth century. Zhang Yanyuan in his Record of Famous Painters of Successive Dynasties (Lidai minghua ji) looked back to the centuries of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, a period he called Late Antiquity, and documented the age through biographies of famous painters. There were many important names to be cited for the Southern Dynasties but few for the Northern Dynasties, when northern China had been ruled by non-Chinese peoples: the Xianbei and the Tuoba. For the whole of Northern Wei (386-534) he listed only three painters. Among the successor states to Northern Wei, the Eastern (534-50) and Western Wei (535-56) had no artists to name and the Northern Zhou (557-81) had only one painter. The one exception was Northern Qi (550-77), the short- lived dynasty that had followed Eastern Wei and established its capitals at Ye in Hebei and jinyang in Shanxi. Zhang cited ten names, but few works had survived into his own time to document what their paintings looked like . Archaeological excavations in Shanxi, Hebei, and Shandong in the late twentieth century, however, have begun to reveal the achievements of these Northern Qi painters. A possible imperial tomb at Wanzhang in Cixian, Hebei, in the burial precinct of the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi rulers, dated to ca. 560. and the tombs of Lou Rui and XuXianxiu, dated 570 and 571 respectively, excavated near Taiyuan in Shanxi. have revealed a high level of painting allowing for the names of painters cited by Zhang Yanyuan to be once again discussed. Although the Northern Zhou was represented by a single painter, excavations of several stone funerary couches with pictorial scenes from tombs in the Xi'an area, where the Northern Zhou had its capital, give evidence for the development of figures-in-landscape compositions at the end of the sixth century.
When the tomb of Lou Rui was excavated between 1979 and 1981, it immediately attracted attention because the quality of the wall paintings was quite high.1 The Lou family had been powerful in Eastern Wei and Northern Qi court circles. Lou Rui's aunt was the wife of Gao Huan, whose son was the first emperor of the Northern Qi. Thus, Lou Rui was the cousin of several Northern Qi emperors. He had participated in the founding of the dynasty and held high rank at the court, having been enfeoffed as Prince of Dong'an Commandery. It was therefore possible that court artists had been involved in the planning and execution of the paintings in his tomb.
Lou Rui was interred in a single-chamber, domed tomb with a sloping tomb passage and an entry corridor leading to a sealed door and the tomb chamber beyond. Almost every surface had originally been covered with paintings. many of which had deteriorated over time or were damaged when the tomb had been robbed early on. Nevertheless. over two hundred square meters of painting survive. The east and west walls of the sloping tomb passage were divided into three registers. On the east wall, figures and horses are depicted as if arriving at or returning to the tomb; the men are shown walking the horses. On the bottom register, closest to the tomb corridor, a grouping of four musicians holding their horns aloft lead the viewer to group of guards' standing at attention. The movement of figures in the two upper registers of the west wall is away from the tomb chamber. In the topmost register, groups of riders precede pack camels and attendants along the same base line. In the second register, pairs of riders are followed by groups of eight riders with saddled horses. The third register shows a grouping of four trumpeters preceding soldiers who stand at attention, mirroring the figures on the east wall.
Continuing down the tomb passage toward the corridor are guards standing amid trees, followed by auspicious symbols and evil-averting animals (bixie) among floral-scroll patterns and mani jewels painted in an air shaft. Two impressive officials stand on either side of the doorway. Inside the door, two more officials stand just before the entry to the tomb chamber. Again, floral scrolls swirl above them. In the tomb chamber proper, attendants are depicted in a setting of trees on either side of the entryway An oxcart heading outward(that is, toward the doors), followed by a group of figures, is depicted on the west wall On the east wall, a saddled horse is depicted with attendants carrying feathered fans and a canopy; the group also faces outward At the back of the tomb, the north wall is occupied by a seated depiction of Lou Rui and his wife. Above them is the serpent entwined with a tortoise representing the north, while the white tiger of the west and the green dragon of the east are on the west and east walls respectively. Immediately above them, although damaged, are depicted immortals separately leading a tiger and a dragon. In the next register up are the animals of the twelve branches and finally, in the dome of the tomb chamber is a star map with the sun and the moon placed in the east and the west respectively.
What is extraordinary about these paintings is the sense of naturalism in the groupings of camels and attendants and horses and riders as well as in the almost portrait-like images of standing officials The legs of camels and attendants in the upper register of the west passageway wall are shown moving in a syncopated rhythm that is unlike the stiff, angular movement encountered in the lacquer-painted screen panels found in the tomb of Sima Jinlong, dated to 484, and in early sixth-century stone sarcophagi and funerary couches The only similar2 movement survives in the scene of lady Ban in the handscroll Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies long attributed to Gu Kaizhi (ca. 344-406). The groups of horses and riders in the second register of the west wall exhibit a similar movement of legs and heads3 (fig.1). In the groups of eight riders, only the horses to the fore are shown. Like the camels, the horses overlap each other along the base line their heads are depicted in profile and three-quarter views. The riders, heads are clustered behind the figures immediately in front. These riders are also in profile and three-quarter views, as well as in full frontal views, and they look forward and backward to link the groups together. Their head are depicted in uniform, elongated oval shapes that impart a strong sense of pattern when repeated. The depiction of facial features-eyes, noses, and lips- also follows convention. Despite the use of these conventions, however, there is a strong suggestion of individuality. Overall, the horses and riders are imparted a weightiness that is created by their curving contour lines and by the artist's understanding of anatomy. In this respect, too, the paintings are unlike earlier pictures of horses and figures where the ability to move was conveyed through a manipulation of the silhouette. Similarly, the artist conveys an impression of the standing officials, bodies under their robes. The official in the corridor leading to the tomb chamber is sensitively depicted: his head is turned in a three- quarter position as he looks to the left. A high collar encircles his neck, creating the sense of its roundness. His mouth is slightly pursed, and his thin beard is executed in fine parallel lines (fig.2). These figures represent a clear change from depictions of the late fifth to early sixth century.
It was the high quality of the paintings from Lou Rui's tomb that immediately suggested two of the painters named by Zhang Yanyuan as active under the Northern Qi: Cao Zhongda and Yang Zihua4. Their recorded subject Inatter matches the horsesand riders and officials encountered in the tomb murals Cao Zhongda's rendering of drapery is described in a later text, Guo Ruoxu's Experiences in Painting (Tuhua Jianwen zhi) of 1074, where it was contrasted with that of the great eighth-century figure painter Wu Daozi.
Wu's brushwork gave the effect of revolving motion, and his robes billowed upward. Cao's brush gave compactly layered forms, and his robes were clinging and tight. Hence it came about that later generations spoke of Wu scarves as fluttering in the wind [ and] the Cao robes as coming out of water 5.
The compact forms and the clinging nature of the clothingled to speculation about Cao's possible role in the execution of the tomb paintings and about the very definition of “robes coming out of water Cao's contemporary Yang Zihua was also a candidate He held high court status under the Northern Qi and permission for him to paint for outsiders had to be granted by special imperial decree. Zhang Yanyuan had recorded anecdotes about people hearing stamping and whinnying after Yang had painted horses on a wall. Zhang also quoted the great seventh- century painter Yan Liben on Yang Zihua.
In all the time since the human form was first portrayed, was it not only Zihua who could utterly exhaust its subtleties and simply and easily display its beauty, so that from his abundance nothing can be subtracted and to his paucity nothing can be added6?
The vivacity of the horses in Lou Rui's tomb and compactness of the human forms particularly suggest the skill of a Yang Zihua. Yang's position at court and his recorded presence painting in the secondary capital of jinyang, where Lou Rui s tomb is found, all suggest that he might have been involved in the creation of the tomb.
The high level of painting in tombs of the Jinyang area was confirmed with the excavation of the tomb of Xu Xianxiu from 2000 to 2002. Xu died in 571. One year after Lou Rui. He, too, held high rank at court he was Grand Guardian and had been enfeoffed as Prince of Wulan. His tomb is of similar construction to that of Lou Rui; despite inevitable damage, over three hundred square meters of wall paintings are preserved. Their compact figural Types are similar, although not all of the heads are as elongated as those in Lou Rui's tomb. The decorative program is also similar; the main difference lies in the passageway leading down to the tomb of Xu Xianxiu-lather than three registers there is only one row of standing guards-and in the ceiling of the tomb chamber, where no paintings have been preserved.
A major tomb discovery in the area of the Northern Qi capital at Ye had preceded the discovery of the Lou Rui and Xu Xianxiu tombs. Between 1987 and 1989, a large tomb at Wanzhang in Cixian, Hebei, had been excavated. Although undated, the scale of the tomb suggests that it must be imperial The level of its painting confirms that assumption even though not as much survived as in either of the above-mentioned tombs. The figural types are similar in the three tombs: the drapery is compact, and the heads are painted with the same oval shape and facial conventions.
These Northern Qi tombs appear to show a hybridization of Xianbei customs and Chinese beliefs in an afterlife. Both the Lou Rui and Xu Xianxlu tomb murals include a saddled horse and an oxcart. Both are visual tropes of Chinese funerary art, serving as vehicles for the deceased and his spouse In the initial discussions of Lou Rui's tomb, the upper registers of the tomb passageway had been interpreted as representing the nomadic lifestyle of the Xianbei. Given the cosmological fixing of the deceased in the tomb chamber and suggestions of the ascension to immortality in the figures leading a dragon and a tiger, however, it is possible to interpret the wall paintings of the passageway as the arrival of the deceased at the tomb and the subsequent journey of the hun soul away from the tomb. Beliefs from at least late Zhou times saw death as occurring when the hun and the po, the twin components of the “soul,“ separated. The po remained closer to the tomb and had to be propitiated with grave goods while the hun could journey away and return10.
Little is known of northern Zhou painting. Few tomb paintings comparable to those of the Northern Qi survive, as might be surmised from Zhang yanyuan's mention of only one painter for the period11 . Recent excavations of stone funerary couches connected to foreigners in China, however give important evidence for pictorial compositions of figures in landscape12.
The tomb of Kang Ye (501-571), a descendant of the kings of Kangju (Samarkand) who had held the position of grand Heavenly Master under the Wei, was excavated in 2004.13 His single-chamber brick tomb contained a stone funerary couch on which the body of Kang was laid supine. Four stones engraved with a total of ten individual scenes resembling panels of a screen comprise the three walls of the couch. (Fig 3) Each panel depicts figures in a landscape setting. The majority of the scenes show male and female figures seated on low daises accompanied by attendants. All of the figures are under tall trees rising almost to the top of the panel. A sense of space is created be a foreground of rocks and grasses, a middle ground defined by the parallel perspective of the dais, and a far distance represented by a row of mountains at the top. Such compositions are known from an undated early sixth-century stone couch excavated in Luoyang and from the scenes of exemplars of filial piety on stone coffins of the same period, such as the now in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City14.
Thus, the compositions from Kang Ye's couch follow a tradition of placing figures in landscape settings that had begun in the late fifth to early sixth they are better integrated. The figures do not float in space. Unusual among the scenes are two panels on either side of a male figure, presumably Kang Ye, seated in a hip-and-gable-roofed Chinese-style building in the fifth panel from the left on the back the couch In the panel to its right, a riderless horse is seen from the rear while the head of a second horse enters the space on the right. The second horse is met by a foreign groom. Paralleling the movement of the horse back in space at an angle to the picture plane is an oxcart unharnessed from the ox appearing in the panel to the left. Saddled horses without riders and oxcarts have been seen already in painted form in both Lou ruis and Xu Xianxiu's tombs.
A second couch, decorated in low, slightly modeled relief with much of its original painting surviving, had been excavated earlier, In 2000 from the tomb of An Jia (518-579), a Sabao of the Sogdian community in Chang'an (Xi'an), at a site close to the tomb of Kang Ye.15 In subject matter it appeared to show much of the life of an official in charge of the foreign community in the Northern Zhou capital.16 Although the low-relief technique is different from that of the Kang Ye couch, many of the panels have compositions conceived in a similar way: the foreground is defined by scattered rocks and shrubs and sometime animals, the middle ground by a grouping of figures and or buildings, and a far distance by rows of mountains or clouds. Typical of this type of composition is a panel in which a group of standing figures in the mid-ground look toward other figures seated both outside and inside a yurt with tall trees behind them and mountains on the distant horizon. The foreground is defined by an animal among rocks (Fig 4). A second type of composition is also encountered on the An Jia couch: a composition divided between a lower and an upper half17.
Even if conservative for the 570s, both the Kang Ye and An Jia couches offer solutions to problems of org anizing figures in space that go beyond the depictions on early sixth- century couches and coffins and beyond Zhang Yanyuan's characterization of early landscape painting Of the famous early works he had viewed, Zhang writes:
In their painting of landscape, the appearance of crowding peaks resembles hair ornaments or horn comb…sometimes human beings are larger than mountains. Almost always trees and rocks are inserted to encircle areas within the paintings], and the shapes of these ranked plantings are like the spread fingers of outstretched arms.18.
The carved screens of these funerary couches reveal a level of pictorial composition not yet encountered in tomb wall paintings and not known to Zhang Yanyuan in the ninth century.
1 See the initial tomb report, Shanxi sheng Kaogu Yanhusuo (Shansi Provincial Institute of Archaeology) and Taiyuan Shi Wenwu guanli weiyuanhui (Taiyuan Municipal administration Commission of Cultural heritage), Taiyuan shi Beiqi i. ou Rui mu fajue jianbao” [Brief report on the excavation of the Northern Qi tomb of Lou Rui in Taiyuan city], Wenwu [Cultural Relics] 1983.10:1-23: the series of articles by Jin Weinuo, Tao Zhenggang, Tang chi, and Xiao Wang in meishu yanjiu [Art Research] 19841:37-69; Tanyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo (Taiyuan Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and archaeology),ed, Beiqi lou rui mu [Northern Qi tomb of Lou Rui], (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2004); and the final tomb report, Shanxi sheng kaogu yanjiusuo (Shanxi Province Institute of Archaeology)and Taiyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo (Taiyuan Municipal Administration Commission of Cultural Heritage),ed, Beiqi dong'anwang Lou Rui mu [Northern Qi tomb of Lou rui,the Prince of dong'an] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2006)
2 The lacquer screen panels from the tomb of Sima Jinlong are published in Zhongguo meishu quanji Huihuabian yi, Yuanshi shehui zhi nanbeichao,huihu EH [Compendium of Chinese art: Paintings, vol. Paintings from primitive society to the Northern and Southern dynasties], no. 100, pp. 153-63 For early sixth- century stone sarcophagi and funerary couches,s sixth-century stone sarcophagi and funerary couches, shike xianhua Ji [Collection of Northern Wei Secular Intaglio Stone Carvings from Luoyang](Beijing: Renmin meishu chubanshe, 1987)
3 See Appendix c-1. The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies, traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi, is well published. For the scene of Lady Ban, see also Shane McCausland, first Masterpiece of Chinese painting: The Admonitions Scroll (New York: George Braziller,2003), Pp 54-58
4 See Jin Weinuo,“ Caojiayang yu Yang Zihua fengge [The Cao school and the Yang Zihua style], Meishu yanjiu, 19841137-53.
5 For another translation, see Alexander Coburn Soper Kuo jo-hsui's Experiences in Painting(tu-hua chien-wen Chih) (Washington, DC: American Council of Learned Societies, 1951 ) p 17
6 See William Reynolds Beal Acker, Some t'ang and Pre-Tang Texts on Chinese Painting, vol. 2 (Leiden: E. Brill 1974),pt.1,p.191
7 See Beiqi xu Xianxiu mu [The northern Qi tomb of Xu Xianxiu], ed Taiyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2005)
8 Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan kaogu yanjiusuo (Institute of Archaeology. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)and Hebei sheng wenwu yanhusuo (Hebei province institute of Cultural Relics), eds, Cixian Wanzhang Beichao huamu [Northern Dynasties pictorial tomb at Wanzhang in Cixian] (Beijing:Kexue chubanshe, 2003)
1 See the initial tomb report, Shanxi sheng Kaogu Yanhusuo 山西省考古研究所 (Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology) and Taiyuan Shi Wenwu guanli weiyuanhui (Taiyuan Municipal administration Commission of Cultural heritage) 太原市文物管理委 员会“, Taiyuan shi Beiqi i. ou Rui mu fajue jianbao”太原市北齐娄睿墓发掘简报 [Brief report on the excavation of the Northern Qi tomb of Lou Rui in Taiyuan city], Wenwu 文物 [Cultural Relics] 1983.10:1-23: the series of articles by Jin Weinuo 金维诺, Tao Zhenggang 陶正刚, Tang chi 唐池, and Xiao Wang 萧望 in meishu yanjiu美术研究 [Art Research] 19841:37-69; Tanyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 太原市文物考古研究所 (Taiyuan Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and archaeology),ed, Beiqi lou rui mu 北齐娄睿墓 [Northern Qi tomb of Lou Rui], (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2004); and the final tomb report, Shanxi sheng kaogu yanjiusuo 山西省考古研究所( Shanxi Province Institute of Archaeology)and Taiyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 太原市文物管理委员会 (Taiyuan Municipal Administration Commission of Cultural Heritage), ed, Beiqi dong'anwang Lou Rui mu 北齐东安王娄睿墓 [Northern Qi tomb of Lou Rui,the Prince of dong'an] (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2006)
2 The lacquer screen panels from the tomb of Sima Jinlong are published in Zhongguo meishu quanji Huihuabian yi, Yuanshi shehui zhi nanbeichao,huihu 中国美术全集: 绘画编一, 原始社会至南北朝 [Compendium of Chinese art: Paintings, Vol. One, Paintings from primitive society to the Northern and Southern dynasties], no. 100, pp. 153-63 For early sixth- century stone sarcophagi and funerary couches, see Sixth-century stone sarcophagi and funerary couches, shike xianhua Ji 洛阳北魏世俗石刻线画集 [Collection of Northern Wei Secular Intaglio Stone Carvings from Luoyang](Beijing: Renmin meishu chubanshe, 1987)
3 See Appendix c-1. The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies, traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi, is well published. 详见顾恺之《女史箴图》 For the scene of Lady Ban, 其中有关“班婕辞辇”这一节，亦见 see also Shane McCausland, first Masterpiece of Chinese painting: The Admonitions Scroll (New York: George Braziller, 2003), Pp 54-58
4 See Jin Weinuo 金维诺,“ Caojiayang yu Yang Zihua fengge 曹家样与杨子华风格 [The Cao school and the Yang Zihua style], Meishu yanjiu 美术研究 19841137-53.
5 For another translation, see Alexander Coburn Soper Kuo jo-hsui's Experiences in Painting (tu-hua chien-wen Chih) (Washington, DC: American Council of Learned Societies, 1951 ) p 17
6 See William Reynolds Beal Acker, Some T'ang and Pre-Tang Texts on Chinese Painting, vol. 2 (Leiden: E. Brill 1974), pt.1, p.191
7 See Beiqi xu Xianxiu mu 北齐徐显秀墓 [The Northern Qi tomb of Xu Xianxiu], ed Taiyuan shi wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 太原市文物考古研究所 (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2005)
8 Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan kaogu yanjiusuo 中国社会科学院考古研究所 (Institute of Archaeology. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)and Hebei sheng wenwu yanhusuo 河北省文物研究所 (Hebei province institute of Cultural Relics), eds, Cixian Wanzhang Beichao huamu 磁县湾漳北朝壁画墓 [Northern Dynasties pictorial tomb at Wanzhang in Cixian] (Beijing:Kexue chubanshe, 2003)
Hangzhou University, Jiao Tong University Shanghai
Years of experience: 30. Registered at ProZ.com: Aug 2005.
Excellent communication skills in both English and Chinese, written and verbal. Extensive background as translator and interpreter.
Specializing in art, culture, design, fashion trends and related fields, I started translating for magazines and publishers in 1986. My recent translation projects include the exhibition "Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art" at the China Institute in New York (Feb-Jun 2010), and a book on Chinese jade collection from Neolithic to Qing published by Marquand Books, Seattle.
Professionals in museums, the textile and fashion industry, artists and designers are my usual clients/friends. I also have a good record of working with theatrical productions.
As an English major, I worked as a professional translator for the China National Academy in the Office of Foreign Affairs before immigrating to the US in 1989. Since then I have worked as an interpreter for the following US universities: Univ. of Minnesota, UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco Art Institute. Currently I live on the central coast of California and work on my translation projects.
My most proud experience was interpreting for CBS News, "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt," aired May 14, 1989, interviewed by Estella Popkin and Bill Geist, CBS News, New York.
Updated: May, 2010
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