An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huashi huiyao 畫史會要

Mar 17, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Huashi huiyao 畫史會要 "Important facts in the history of painting" is a history of painting written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Zhu Mouyin 朱謀垔 (1584-1628), courtesy name Yinzhi 隱之, style Bagui 八桂 or Yanyuan Shanren 厭原山人. He was a member of the imperial family and thus held the nobility title of "supporter-general of the state" (fengguo jiangjun 奉國將軍).

The title of the book was inspired by Tao Zongyi's 陶宗儀 (1322-1403) history of calligraphy, Shushi huiyao 書史會要. Zhu wrote a supplement to Tao's book, Shushi huiyao xubian 書史會要續編 (also called Xu shushi huiyao 續書史會要), and was also the author of a study on bronze inscriptions, Zhongding kaowen 鐘鼎考文.

Many Ming- and Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) editions of the book like that in the Peiwen shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜 attribute authorship of the main part of the book to Jin Lai 金賚, while Zhu is said to have just compiled a supplement. The manuscript edition of the Songnan Shushe 松南書舍, however, proves that Zhu Mouyin was the author of the whole text.

The book of 5 juan length was finished in 1631. It imitates the structure of earlier books by providing a historical overview of painting in a biographical way, which means that chapters are arranged according to social status of artists, from emperors to the landed gentry (jinshen 縉紳), commoners (weibu 韋布), clerics (Dao-Shi 道釋), and females (nüliu 女流). To a certain extent, Zhu's book is a critical review of earlier writers and amends errors in their texts. The first four fascicles of the book are thus a history of painting and painters from the beginnings to the Ming period. Juan 1-3 follow the statements of earlier classics on painting like Xie He's 謝赫 (459?-532?) Gu huapin lu 古畫品錄, Zhang Yanyuan's 張彦遠 (early 8th cent.) Lidai minghua ji 歷代名畫記, Guo Ruoxu's 郭若虛 (fl. 1071) Tuhua jianwen zhi 圖畫見聞志 or Xia Wenyan's 夏文彥 (fl. 1365) Tuhui baojian 圖繪寶鑒.

Juan 4, covering the Ming period, is Zhu's own contribution to the field. The last part of the Huashi huiyao (Huafa 畫法) is a theoretical discussion of painting, and covers a vast array of aspects, from the use of paper and mounting and presenting the finished work to the skill of using the brush in the right way in order to express energy (qi 氣) and rhythm (yun 韻). It is difficult to determine which parts of this chapter were written by Zhu Mouyin himself because he did not provide sources for the many theoretical and technical statements on painting. It seems, however, that Zhu tried to achieve an overview of all aspects without giving prominence to individual topics over others, and without developing his own hypothesis. Yet because the information gathered in this chapter is very rich, the compilers of the Peiwenzhai shuhua pu made use of it as an excellent source.

The Huashi huiyao is found in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 中國書畫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1809.
Shao Qi 邵琦 (1996). "Huashi huiyao 畫史會要", 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), 760.
Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhonggu hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 302.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Chanchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 473.
Xue Yongnian 薛永年 (1992). "Huashi huiyao 畫史會要", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 323.
Zhou Ying 周穎 (2022). "Huashi huiyao zuozhe kaobian 《畫史會要》作者考辨", Chongqing shehui kexue 重慶社會科學, 2022 (12): 117-127.