An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Tongyin lunhua 桐陰論畫

Apr 17, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Tongyin lunhua 桐陰論畫 "Art discussions from Catalpa Shadow [Studio]" is a book on painting written during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Qin Zuyong 秦祖永 (1825-1884), courtesy name Yifen 逸芬, style Langyan Waishi 楞煙外史, from Jingui 金匱 (today part of Wuxi 無錫, Jiangsu). He was grand salt commissioner (yan dashi 鹽大使) of Bishen Saltern 碧申場, Guangdong, and was known for his expertise in old-style poetry and painting. Qin also wrote the book Huaxue xinyin 畫學心印.

The whole book consists of three parts, the first of which (chubian 初編) was finished in 1866, and the others (erbian 二編, sanbian 三編) in 1880. The first part discusses more than 170 painters of the late Ming 明 (1368-1644) and the Qing period. The text is arranged chronologically, but divided into two sections of 17 "grand masters" (dajia 大家) and 106 "famous masters" (mingjia 名家). An appendix includes discussions of the artworks of 4 female artists. The second and third collection are supplements providing insight into the achievements of 120 persons each. The rating of painters is made according the traditional four aspects "untrammeled" (yi 逸), inspired (shen 神), excellent (miao 妙), and competent (neng 能), and like old books, Qin added short biographies of all artists. In its style, Qin's book thus follows the image of Huang Xiufu's 黃休復 (fl. 1007?) Yizhou minghua lu 益州名畫錄, but Qin used the four aspects in a different way than older masters had done, and argues that individual persons could excel in more than one or them. Also, the huge number of persons rated as "untrammeled" (yi) shows that Qin's interpretation of the yi aspect was more general.

The first collection includes two appendices, namely the biographical Xu tongyin lunhua 續桐陰論畫 (also called Lunhua xiaozhuan 論畫小傳), and Tongyin huajue 桐陰畫訣 (also called Huishi jinliang 繪事津梁), "formulas" on landscape painting.

Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhongguo hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 321.
Xue Yongnian 薛永年 (1992). "Tongyin lunhua 桐陰論畫", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhonguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 820.
Qi Tinggui 戚廷貴, Liu Xiaoyan 劉孝嚴, Tang Shufan 唐樹凡, eds. (1992). Dong-xifang yishu cidian 東西方藝術辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 671.
Wang Guangxi 王廣西, Zhou Guanwu 周觀武, eds. (1998). Zhongguo jindai wenxue yishu cidian 中國近現代文學藝術辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 845.