Tung Ch'i-ch'ang

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Tung Ch'i-ch'ang

(do͞ong chē-chäng), 1555–1636, leading painter, calligrapher, connoisseur, and critic of the Ming dynasty. A high official in various public offices, was also regarded as the greatest art expert of his day. He was the leader of the group that formulated basic principles of the so-called wên-jên or literati school of painting, which exerted a lasting influence on Chinese and Japanese painting and aesthetics. In his landscape paintings, executed mostly in ink with occasional touches of color, painting and calligraphy were joined harmoniously. Examples of his works may be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Cleveland Museum, Ohio.

Bibliography

See W. Ho and J. Smith, ed., The Century of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang, 1555–1636 (2 vol., 1992).

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Elegant works by Dong Qichang (1555-1636) revisit traditional aesthetics and took calligraphy to new heights of refinement.
In his discussion of High Qing scholarship, Roddy focuses on Dai Zhen and his insistence on the gradual accumulation of knowledge; in his discussion of literature he notes a growing interest in an individual creator in the writings of Ye Xie and Yao Nai; in his discussion of painting he contrasts Zheng Xie with Dong Qichang and notes Zheng's emphasis on technique; and in his discussion of baguwen studies he traces a development from scholars who championed the examination essay as a vehicle of ethical perfection (represented by Lu Liuliang) to scholars who stressed its formal features (represented by Jiao Xun).
What united these calligraphers, who specialized in running and cursive script, was their commitment to an artistic tradition dominated by towering figures such as Wang Xizhi (303-61), Mi Fu (1051-1107), and Dong Qichang (1555-1636).