An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Guochao huazheng lu 國朝畫徵錄

Apr 11, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Guochao huazheng lu 國朝畫徵錄 "Veritable records of painters of our dynasty", also called Hanyuan fen shuhua zhenglu 翰苑分書畫徵錄 or Qingchao huazheng lu 清朝畫徵錄, is a book on contemporary painting compiled by Zhang Geng 張庚 (1685-1760), original name Zhang Tao 張燾, courtesy name Fushan 浦山, style Guatian Yishi 瓜田逸史, Baizhu Sangzhe 白苧桑者 or Mijia Jushi 彌伽居士, from Jiaxing 嘉興, Zhejiang. He was erudite literatus (boxue hongci 博學鴻詞) at the Hanlin Academy (Hanlinyuan 翰林院) and later took over a post in Sichuan province. Zhang was famous for his paintings of landscapes (shanshui 山水), flowers and grasses (huahui 花卉), and also of persons. Glimpses of his literary theory are found in his book Pushan lunhua 浦山論畫. His collected writings, mainly poems, are called Qiangshuzhai shiwen ji 强恕齋詩文集 and Guatian cichao 瓜田詞鈔. Traces of his life are found in Jiang Baoling's 蔣寳齡 (1779-1840) Molin jinhua 墨林今話.

The book of 3 juan length is enlarged by a supplement of 2 juan. It was finished in 1735 and includes notes on no less than 467 artists of the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) from both genders and all social groups. The supplements adds 168 further persons. For all of them, Zhang wrote short biographies and criticized their artworks, thus describing the origin of their skills, their strengths, and careers.

The book records of the process and methods of painters. In some cases, the biographies of the artists are followed by a commentary by Zhang Geng, offering insight into their (implicit) theory of painting. Depending on the availability of information, some painters are unified in combined (hezhuan 合傳) or supplementary biographies (fuzhuan 附傳). The commentaries are generally fair, but there are also some biases, such as the overwhelming praise of Wang Yuanqi 王原祁 (1642-1715) and the unfair critique of Wu Li 吳歷 (1632-1718), as well as the omission or errors concerning individual painters. Despite some shortcomings, Zhang Geng's book is, after all, the earliest history of painting in the Qing period.

The text is included in the series Zhaodai congshu 昭代叢書, Huajinlou congshu 花近樓叢書, Huailu congshu 槐廬叢書 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.

Shu Shijun 舒士俊 (1996). "Guochao huazheng lu 國朝畫徵錄", 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), 834.