An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

ti-ba 題跋, accompanying words

Feb 23, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Ti 題 and ba 跋 are forewords and afterwords when accompanying books, but they are also used to introduce and annotate paintings, calligraphic works, and rubbings of inscriptions. In all cases, ti have the character of prefaces or introductions, and the somewhat shorter ba are placed at the end of a text or an artwork. Scholars discern between different contents of prefaces, like titles (biaoti 標題), ratings (pinping 品評), critique (kaoding 考訂) or remarks to the idea, content and background (jishi 記事). They might be written in prose or in poetry style. Titles of books written in calligraphic style instead of typesetting are also called ti.

The use of ti and ba for artworks began during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). Prefaces might have a substantial length, as that of Wang Mian's 王冕 (1287 or 1310-1359) painting Dianshui meihua tu 點水梅花圖 with a length of nearly thousand characters which includes a biography of "Master Mei" (Mei Xiansheng zhuan 梅先生傳). Other examples of long prefaces are the artworks of Bada Shanren 八大山人 (1626-1705) and Shi Tao 石濤 (1641-c. 1707) of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). From the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) on, it was common to add poems to paintings.

Gao Kegong 高克恭 (1248-1310), "Qiushan mu'ai tu 秋山暮靄圖" (Evening haze in autumnal hills), from Zhongguo meishu quanji bianji weiyuanhui 中國美術全集編輯委員會, ed. (1992), Zhongguo meishu quanji 中國美術全集, Huihua bian 繪畫編, Vol. 5, Yuandai huihua 元代繪畫, (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe), no. 10. The scroll includes a poem of Deng Wenyuan 鄧文原 (1258-1328) especially written for this painting (tishi 題詩). Another, much longer text (tiji 題記) has been added much later by the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆帝 (r. 1736-1795).
Beijing Dongfang Shoucangjia Xiehui 北京東方收藏家協會, ed. (1996). Zhonghua shoucang da cidian 中華收藏大辭典 (Beijing: Beijing Yanshan chubanshe), 50.
Cui Erping 崔爾平, ed. (1990). Shufa zhuanke shuyu cidian 書法篆刻術語辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 390.
He Xilin 賀西林 (1993). "Tiba 題跋", in Zhongguo xiaoxue jiaoxue baike quanshu 中國小學教學百科全書, Vol. Meishu 美術卷 (Shenyang: Shenyang chubanshe), 267.
Liu Yunguo 劉運國, Liang Shipeng 梁式朋, eds. (1992). Gongwen da cidian 公文大辭典 (Beijing: Dianzi keji daxue chubanshe), 348.
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), 670.
Qiao Changfu 喬長阜 (2003) "Ti 題", in Bian Xiaoxuan 卞孝萱, ed. Tangdai wenxue baike cidian 唐代文學百科辭典 (Beijing: Hanyu da cidian chubanshe), 1043.
Yan Jinghan 閻景翰, ed. (1990). Xiezuo yishu da cidian 寫作藝術大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 646.
Wang Zhibin 王志彬, ed. (2002). Xinbian gongwen yuyong cidian 新編公文語用詞典 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 327.