An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shanjingju hualun 山靜居畫論

Apr 12, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Shanjingju hualun 山靜居畫論 "Discussions on art from Mountain Repose Studio" is a book on painting written during the high Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Fang Xun 方薰 (1736-1799), courtesy name Lanshi 蘭士, style Landi 蘭坻, Lanru 嬾儒, Ling'an 欞盦 or Yu'er Xiangnong 御兒鄉農, from Shimen 石門, Zhejiang. His collected poems are called Shanjingju shigao 山靜居詩稿. Fang also wrote a poetry critique called Shanjingju shihua 山靜居詩話.

The book was finished in 1795 and discusses the styles, skills, history, and peculiar achievements of painters and painting schools ("lineages") from the Jin 晉 (265-420) to the early Qing period. The text is written in "brush-notes" style (biji 筆記) and divided into 244 brief chapters, but along four great topics, namely general issues of painting, painting techniques, critique of individual artists, and lists of important artworks. Fang Xun focuses on literati painting, emphasizes the right use of brush and ink with "ancient elegance" (guya 古雅) and "a master's energy" (shiqi 士氣). He emphases "vitality of rhythm" (qiyun shengdong 氣韻生動). In his eyes, there four bad styles (siji 四忌) among painters, namely vulgarity (su 俗), old-fashioned (fu 腐), dullness (ban 板), and "kitschy" (tian 甜). A good painter would pay attention to similarity and right proportions, the transmission of the spirit embedded in the artwork, the respect for rules and methods, as well as talent and interest in his/her work.

Fang's book is transmitted in versions of 1 juan (only 140 chapters) and 2 juan (the common version). It is included in the series Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書, Piyuncaotang congshu 披雲草堂叢書, Sitongguzhai lunhua jike 四銅鼓齋論畫集刻, Shenzhou lunhua lu 神州論畫錄, Lidai lunhua mingzhu huilun 歷代論畫名著彙論, Meishu congshu 美術叢書, Hualun congkan 畫論叢刊 and Zhongguo hualun leibian 中國畫論類編. A modern single edition was published in 1963 by the Renmin Meishu Chubanshe 人民美術出版社.

Huang Libo 黃利波 (2021). "Fang Xun Shanjingju hualun zhong de xingshenguan 方薰《山靜居畫論》中的形神觀", Mei yu shidai 美與時代, 2021 (1): 71-73.
Shu Shijun 舒士俊 (1996). "Shanjingju hualun 山靜居畫論", 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), 867.
Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhongguo hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 315.
Wang Qingxiang 王清香 (2010). "Qiantan Shanjingju hualun zhong de bimo 淺談《山靜居畫論》中的筆墨", Dazhong wenyi 大眾文藝, 2010 (1): 68.
Zhao Lizhong 趙力忠 (1993). "Shanjingju hualun 山靜居畫論", in Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Shijie baike zhuzuo cidian 世界百科著作辭典 (Beijing: Zhongguo gongren chubanshe), 359.