35) Chao Meng-fu (1254-1322)sheap and goat. Handscroll; ink on paper.yuang dynasty, about 1300. Chao Meng-fu was the greatest artist of the Yiian dynasty and one of the most important figures in the entire history of Chinese painting. A distant relative of the Sung royal house, he nevertheless agreed to serve as an official of the Mongol Ydan dynasty, a decision that remains controversial in Chinese intellectual circles even to this day. He was the first, and one of the few men ever in Chinese history, fully to live up to the code of literati aesthetic standards proclaimed in the Northern Sung by Su Shih: equal mastery of painting, calligraphy, and poetry. This painting is an allegory and meditation on the issue of dynastic loyalty, a difficult topic for Chao. The sheep (to the left) and the goat (to the right) stand for two Han dynasty generals, Su Wu and Li Ling, who were both captured by the nomadic Hsiung-nu tribes during their wars with the Han. Su Wu refused to acknowledge or serve the Hsiung-nu and was forced by them to herd sheep for almost twenty years. Li Ling, on the other hand, surrendered to them and was returned to the Han. The parting of the two men, Li Ling returning home to humiliation, while Su Wu remains in the dessert, stubborn and proud in his loyalty to the Han, is represented in the painting by the noble, haughty air of the sheep and the dejected, defeated bearing of the goat. Formal features reinforce this contrast. The sheep is painted in the "wet" manner: the brush is loaded with dilute, watery ink and applied in blobs and puddles that give the mottled effect of the sheep's body. The goat is painted in the "dry" manner: the brush is lightly loaded with thicker, slightly dried ink, and then applied in brisk strokes over the surface of the paper, much like in a modern pencil or charcoal drawing. The inscription at the left is by Chao himself and reads: I have often painted horses but have never before painted sheep or goats. So when Cliung-lisin asked for a painting, I did this playfully from life. Although it may not approach the old masters, it does capture something of the way they were (and I am). " The vigorous style of the calligraphy matches the ink values of the painting itself and reinforces Chao's claim to be making a new creation based on the ideals of the ancient masters. One may compare Chao's calligraphy with that of the Emperor Ch'i enlung (18th cent.) at the upper right to see a fine contrasting example of strong versus weak writing.

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