An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huazhu 畫麈

May 3, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Huazhu 畫麈 "The duster of paintings" is a book on landscape painting written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Shen Hao 沈顥 (1586-1661), courtesy name Langqian 朗倩, style Shitian 石天, from Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu. He was a poet and excelled in the four writings styles of calligraphy. Apart from the Huazhu, he also wrote the books Huazhuandeng 畫傳燈 (lost), Zhenpiao 枕瓢 and Fenyan 焚硯.

The brief book Huazhu is composed of 13 chapters giving evidence of the main schools of painters, their historical background, strengths and characteristics, general rules for the use of brush and ink, composition, colouring, the application of details in landscape paintings, dedications, notes (kuanzhi 款識), copying by eyesight (linmo 臨摹) and appreciation. Some parts of the text are quotations or paraphrases of other authors, while other segments express Shen's own opinion. The author criticized the tendency of hobbyist painting and urged to focus on professional painting, whose creators were able to transform their thoughts and visions into "truthful" (shiyi 實詣) paintings on the canvas. In extreme cases, paintings were not copies of nature, but their elements were expressing ideas of landscape parts, even if they did not resemble them (bu si er si 不似而似). Shen compares the cliffs and mountain peaks with long ballads (gexing 歌行) and the rhythm of distance with five- and seven-syllable poems (wu-qiyan jue 五七言絕).

The text is included in the series Kuaishu 快書, Guang baichuan xuehai 廣百川學海, Xu shuofu 續說郛, Meishu congshu 美術叢書 and Hualun congkan 畫論叢刊.

Deng Qiaobin 鄧喬彬 (2001). "Shen Hao Huazhu xilun 沈顥《畫麈》析論", Suzhou Daxue xuebao 蘇州大學學報, 2001 (1): 88-92.
Jiang Jiling 蔣紀玲(2022). "Shen Hao Huazhu huihua sixiang xitan 沈顥《畫麈》繪畫思想析探", Mei yu shidai 美與時代, 2022 (10): 93-95.
Sun Xiaoli 孫小力 (1996). "Huazhu 畫麈", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 754.
Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhongguo hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 304.
Xue Yongnian 薛永年 (1992). "Huazhu 畫麈", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhonguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 320.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 472.