Preferred Citation: Spiro, Audrey. Contemplating the Ancients: Aesthetic and Social Issues in Early Chinese Portraiture. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1990 1990.


Contemplating the Ancients

Aesthetic and Social Issues in Early Chinese Portraiture

Audrey Spiro

Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford
© 1990 The Regents of the University of California

For MES and JPS,
with gratitude

Preferred Citation: Spiro, Audrey. Contemplating the Ancients: Aesthetic and Social Issues in Early Chinese Portraiture. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1990 1990.

For MES and JPS,
with gratitude


This book is about portraits that were not intended to be physical likenesses of their subjects and about why they look the way they do. It began when, reading several studies of recent archaeological finds in China, I wondered why someone in the fourth century would want to be buried with portraits of men who had lived a century earlier. I had not expected that answering this question would be so time-consuming, so intricate—and so intellectually rewarding. Although I do not know who first created the composition of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi, studying these works of art from the other side, that of the patrons, has increased my appreciation of the artist's genius. As is proper for a rhetorical work, that creation has instructed, moved, and delighted me. I continue to be in awe of the artist's ability to translate ideas into an enduring work of visual art, precisely as Lu Ji, in his great third-century Rhyme-prose on Literature, had insisted for another art form. "The function of style is, to be sure, to serve as a prop for your ideas," he noted (in Achilles Fang's translation).

I first encountered Lu Ji's essay years ago in a seminar on early Chinese painting and aesthetics directed by Martin Powers, who introduced me to the important critical and aesthetic ideas of the Period of Disunion. Analyzing these ideas under his guidance, I came to understand that theories of the arts could not be divorced from practice, and that neither could be divorced from the social values of those who wrote about, created, or commissioned works of art. My greatest debt, therefore, is to my former teacher, Martin Powers. His unflagging encouragement and counsel when I, naive and blithe, first leaped into uncharted waters—and much later, when I was less naive and even less blithe—were the buoys that kept me afloat. Above all, he taught me the true meaning of style, for which I am most grateful.


Ellen Johnston Laing's fine studies of the Seven Worthies theme in Chinese art were the initial stimuli for my interest in their earliest known portraits. My own examination of the theme gazes up to contemplate the ancients and is offered as the parallel to her demonstrations of the patterns it bequeathed to the future.

I have incurred many other debts in the course of this research and regret that I can here acknowledge only a few. That which I owe to Richard B. Mather is evident throughout this book. I have learned much both from his published works and from his private communications. In addition, I should like to thank him for the pleasure I continue to derive from his wonderful translations, so copiously quoted in this work. May all his youtiao be crisp.

I am indebted also to Chi-yun Chen for his early guidance through the vast historical literature of the period. James F. Cahill first enabled me, long ago, to study good photographs of the Seven Worthies murals and to formulate some of the issues. His continued interest in my research has been much appreciated. Joanna-Woods Marsden thoughtfully recommended appropriate studies in the field of Renaissance portraiture; Sheldon Nodelman gave generously of his time for lively and stimulating discussions of the genre of portraiture.

Research in China in 1984–1985 was made possible by the award of a Dickson Fellowship from the Department of Art, Design, and Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. I was able to complete that research only with the help and encouragement of many friends and colleagues in China who patiently answered questions, opened doors, and offered important advice. I will always remember their generosity, and I cherish the friendships that transcend time and borders. Juanjuan wang xishi. I am grateful also to the authorities at the Nanjing Museum for their kind permission to photograph relevant artworks.

I owe much, personally and intellectually, to Thomas A. Metzger, Madlyn Millner Kahr, Sarah Handler, and Willis Barnstone. Suzanne Cahill suffered through many inchoate monologues and rough drafts of the manuscript. For her unwavering support, informed understanding, and criticism, I thank her. Harumi Ziegler's keen editorial assistance was invaluable and saved me from many an error. David Ziegler and his staff at the UCLA Slide Library offered important help in preparing some of the photographs that could be reproduced only from previously published sources. The poor quality of many of these publications was a challenge to Ron Reimers,the staff photographer, who labored to produce the best quality possible.


It is a pleasure to acknowledge the assistance of Jeanne Sugiyama, Amy Klatzkin, and Gladys Castor of the University of California Press. For their warm encouragement, eagle eyes, and high standards, I am especially grateful.

Finally, I wish to thank James Cahill, Nicholas Cahill, Amy Powers, and Martin Powers for their generosity in permitting me to reproduce many of their photographs of tomb reliefs. K. H. J. Gardiner kindly granted permission to reproduce the portrait of Dong Shou illustrated in his Early History of Korea, as did the Réunion des Musées Nationaux for Rigaud's portrait of Louis XIV.

For the sake of uniformity, the romanization of Chinese characters throughout the text conforms to the Hanyu pinyin system of phonetic transcription. Bibliographic citations, of course, appear in their original forms.



In things there is nothing more manifest than having results, and in argument there is nothing more decisive than having evidence.
Wang Chong (A.D. 27–ca. 100)

"I'm afraid we're pretty much the same thing, over and over," remarks a bald, chinless, hook-nosed gentleman of his ancestral portraits. Indeed, only the variegated clothing hints at generational, but not genetic, differences among the framed figures of Gahan Wilson's New Yorker cartoon (fig. 1). Confounding Mendel's Law, identical bald, chinless, hook-nosed faces stare down from the walls at their still-ambulatory replica.

The witty cartoon challenges the common view that a portrait is merely a record of one never-to-be-replicated being, the document, like a passport photo, warts and all, of a unique individual. It is a pictorial translation of a grander statement by Gertrude Stein:

People really do not change from one generation to another, as far back as we know history people are about the same as they were, they have had the



Drawing by Gahan Wilson;
© 1985 The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.

same needs, the same desires, the same virtues and the same qualities, the same defects, indeed nothing changes from one generation to another except the way of seeing and being seen . . . . The creator in the arts is like all the rest of the people living, he is sensitive to the changes in the way of living and his art is inevitably influenced by the way each generation is living.[1]

Alike we may all be; yet the commonplace view cannot be denied. For the portrait, by any definition, is always particularistic, your ancestors or mine. One function of portraiture, then, must be to document that particularity. However, its other functions—aesthetic and social—affect, and may even subvert, the depiction of that unique phenomenon. It is that very tension engendered by the necessity to serve multiple, often conflicting, functions that invests the study of portraiture with enduring interest.[2]


Recent archaeological finds in China offer an opportunity to investigate some of these tensions anew. If modern portraits, both literary and pictorial, are prime examples of Stein's insistence on the changing ways of seeing, so, I suggest, are these portraits of a different time and place. At the same time, they prompt a reexamination of old issues within the field of Chinese art history or of preconceptions firmly held—often most firmly when visual evidence was lacking. Drawing on new pictorial evidence, this study will consider the problem of early Chinese portraiture, its nature and functions.

The discovery of a brick tomb with portrait reliefs datable to the late fourth or early fifth century of this era was reported in 1960.[3] Accidentally unearthed near the Xishan Bridge outside present-day Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, the tomb contained relief-murals of eight figures, each named by inscription (figs. 2 and 3). Seven of the figures depicted are historical personages, famous in Chinese history and literature as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove (Zhulin qixian ). The eighth figure, one Rong Qiqi, is not historical but legendary, a famous figure in Chinese literature.

The reliefs, heralded as a unique find in both construction method and subject matter, were widely discussed—as the only examples of Jin–Liu-Song (A.D. 317–420, 420–479) portraiture, as compositions that differed dramatically in form and style from Han dynasty tomb art, and as authentic examples of the styles of various Jin-Song painters.[4] They ceased to be unique, however, when the finds from an imperial tomb excavated in 1965 in Danyang county, Jiangsu province, suggested that another portrait-mural of the Seven Worthies may have existed.[5] Although pictorial evidence had long since disappeared, its identification and location on the long walls of the main chamber were determined by the presence of a brick engraved in intaglio with the characters Xi xia xing, a reference to one of the Seven Worthies, Xi Kang.

The assumption of a second, similar, mural grew firmer when two more royal tombs excavated in 1968 in the Danyang area yielded pictorial evidence of the Seven Worthies as well as inscribed bricks naming the same personages (figs. 4–6).[6] Despite their poor and fragmented condition, it is clear that these Danyang depictions of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi follow the basic composition of the Nanjing mural, although we shall observe minor differences that are significant for this study. By consensus, all three of the imperial Danyang tombs are datable to the late fifth century—that is, to the Southern Qi dynasty (A.D. 479–502).



The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.
Rubbing of a brick relief from the south wall, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing,
Jiangsu province. Late fourth–early fifth century A.D.  Nanjing Museum.

With the discovery of three sets of portraits of the same personages spanning a period of some fifty to one hundred years (and the probable existence of a fourth at the time of entombment), we may conclude that we confront no idiosyncratic choice of tomb décor. Rather, we possess a set of portraits that testifies to a convention or fashion during that period known as Nanbeichao in a specific region of China.[7] In that sense, the set of three mural-portraits is unique and offers a fresh opportunity to examine, within narrow but detailed limits, a traditional category of art history, that of portraiture.


Although a much-studied art form in the West, portraiture has received comparatively scant attention in traditional Chinese art history, and Western scholars of Chinese art have rarely shown enthusiastic interest in the genre.[8] Few studies devoted exclusively to the subject have appeared in this century. In 1912 Berthold Laufer published a study of portraits of Confucius. William Cohn produced a slim volume devoted to portrait painters of East Asia in 1922, and S. Elisséev examined portraiture of the Far East in 1932.[9] Thereafter the pattern of once a decade dissolved. Only in 1960 did Max Loehr turn his attention to the subject of early portraiture, thereby barely anticipating the publication of the first Seven Worthies mural.[10] Loehr's paper thus truly stands as the seminal study for work that followed, most notably Ellen Johnston Laing's "Neo-Taoism and



The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.
Rubbing of a brick relief from the north wall, tomb at Xishanqiao,
Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Late fourth–early fifth century A.D.  Nanjing Museum.

'The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' in Chinese Painting." More recently Hou Ching-lang published a study of portrait painting of the early Western Han period.[11]

Compared with the body of scholarly literature on Western portraiture—even for any one period, say, Roman or Renaissance portraiture—these are scant gleanings. Yet extant historical documents attest to Chinese portraiture for the early periods, and extant pictorial documents affirm that the art of portraiture existed at least as early as the Han dynasty (206 B.C.A.D. 220). An inquiry into the nature of that portraiture for one period, the Six Dynasties, and one


place, the region of modern Jiangsu, seems therefore to be both in order and unlikely to exhaust the topic.

When, however, we turn for guidance to the literature of Western art for definitions and models we may experience bewilderment. For little consensus exists as to precisely what "portraiture" as an art form may be. Consulting the Encyclopedia of World Art, for example, we find that, in the broadest sense, portraiture is "the representation of an individual, living or dead, real or imagined, in drawing, painting, or sculpture, by a rendering of his physical or moral traits, or both." The key word, apparently, is "individual."[12]

The Encyclopedia further tells us that portraits offer a "veritable anthology of the ways of conceiving of man"; that the different



The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.
Rubbing of a brick relief  from the west wall, tomb at Wujiacun, Danyang county,
Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.   Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

portrait styles of, for example, Van Eyck and Titian may have been determined as much by different moral attitudes as by different artistic personalities. Moreover,

conventions of costume and gesture may loom as large as—or larger than—physiognomical fidelity. The attributes or signs used in a portrait must always be considered in their historical and social context, since [their] significance can vary with different epochs and cultural traditions. The new and more complex classifications of portraiture that are needed must be based as much on the varying functions of portraiture as on the changing fashions in iconography and style.


Are there, then, no limitations, other than that the work of art must depict, in some way, an individual? An exhaustive search of the scholarly literature for definitions of portraiture itself poses a topic for research. Yet a few selected comments may offer further guidance.

J. D. Breckenridge, for example, grapples with the problem of definition in his study of ancient portraiture and confesses that avoiding the issue may be the better part of valor.[13] Reviewing the literature, he examines the essential requirements for a "true portrait" set forth by Bernhard Schweitzer:

1) It must represent a definite person, either living or of the past, with his distinctive human traits. 2) The person must be represented in such a manner that under no circumstances can his identity be confused with that of someone else. 3) As a work of art, a portrait must render the personality, i.e., the inner individuality, of the person represented in his outer form.[14]

Recognizing the pitfalls of these criteria, Breckenridge suggests that, at least for studies of ancient portraiture, Richard Delbrück's definition may be more viable: a portrait is "the representation, intending to be like, of a definite individual."[15]

"Intending to be like" thus joins "individual" as a key word or phrase. However, "the criterion of the 'true' portrait . . . is in no sense merely literal accuracy or fidelity to optical appearances; on the contrary, the creation of a successful portrait . . . will call for some manipulation of visual appearances on the part of the artist."[16] Fidelity? Manipulation? One is reminded of Lysippus's remark that a good portrait depicts men not as they are but as they should be.

What then of "likeness" or resemblance—those presumably chief criteria for judging a contemporary "portrait"? E. H. Gombrich considers their meaning in a series of papers, the most notable being "The Mask and the Face."[17] Perceptions of resemblance vary, he reminds us in that paper. As he remarks in "Action and Expression in Western Art," the problem for the traditional arts is that they lack "most of the resources on which human beings and animals rely [for recognition] in their contacts and interactions. The most essential of these, of course, is movement."[18] The maker of the portrait must therefore find pictorial substitutes—schemata—for these resources if the observer is to recognize the individual portrayed. What Gombrich calls the correct portrait "is not a faithful record of a visual experience but the faithful construction of a relational model."[19]

The portrait, then, is a construction intended to be like an individual—in short, an illusion, that very illusion rejected by Plotinus



The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.
Rubbing of a brick relief from the east wall, tomb at Wujiacun,  Danyang county,
Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.    Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

for its irrelevance to reality. For the art historian, however, that illusion, that deliberate construction, "reaches beyond reproduction to metaphor whose possibilities can be explored and whose real meaning is to be extricated with the established techniques of formal and iconographical analysis."[20]

It is a beginning. The Seven Worthies murals are portraits intended to be like specific individuals. We know this, not because the viewer recognizes the figures at a glance (although he may), but because he recognizes the name attached to each figure. To put it more accurately: because a name is attached to each figure, the viewer recognizes it as a portrait.

The question then is, In what ways were these portraits intended to be like the eight individuals identified by inscriptions?

I shall use both formal and iconographical analysis to explore the metaphors from the Chinese point of view. For if we hope eventually


to place Chinese portraiture within a general rubric of Portraiture, we must first determine what it meant within its own specific rubric. What meaning and significance, that is, did the Seven Worthies murals have to the people who commissioned them or to those who viewed them? This we cannot know until we know much about the patrons themselves—their sensibilities, their tastes, and the conditions that formed those tastes. As Gombrich reminds us, "The form of a representation cannot be divorced from its purpose and the requirements of a society in which the given visual language gains currency."[21]

In the following pages I shall demonstrate that the few Nanbeichao portraits available for study are character portraits—portraits that render a man's moral traits—made for the purposes of admiration, identification, and emulation. Like their Han dynasty predecessors, they are exemplary portraits, and they employ surprisingly similar pictorial devices to convey their messages. But some of these messages have changed. What is new for this later period of Chinese history is not the depiction of character but the nature of the character depicted. What was its visual language and among whom did it gain currency?




The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi. Top left and right,  west wall panel;  bottom left and right,  east wall panel.
Rubbings of brick reliefs, tomb at Jinjiacun, Danyang county, Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.  Nanjing Museum. (From Wenwu  1980.2.)


Virtue Triumphant

The Sages established images in order to express their ideas exhaustively.
Da juan

The recently excavated portraits on which this study focuses have their pictorial roots in portrayals of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.A.D. 220). It is a truism that the latter were essentially "ideal" portraits. Requiring no less artistic skill than portraits made from life, as Max Loehr has noted, they relied for their expressiveness on gesture, pose, or action.[1] We may interpret this reliance on posture (rather than on the face, for example) as merely a stage in artistic development. However, we may equally well admire this reliance as a felicitous choice—for a society that judged the moral nature of a man by his conduct, the artistic emphasis on gesture, pose, and action seems singularly appropriate.

The portrayals of the fourth and fifth centuries, however, are so visually different from their Han predecessors as to prompt the initial


conviction of dramatic developments in the art of portraiture—from the use of stock figures to depict ideal beings to an emphasis on individualized images to depict real personages, pictorially distinct, as in life, from all others.[2]

As dramatic as these visual differences are, analysis of the portrayals of the two periods and their respective historical contexts reveals that the portraiture of both periods was "idealized," concerned, that is, with the depiction of persona, not personality. The Nanbeichao portraits, moreover, rely as much as their predecessors on gesture, pose, or action for their expressiveness. They do so because, in both periods, conduct was the key to a man's character. Depict a man's behavior and you have depicted him.

Pictorial devices changed very little. What changed dramatically was the audience that was targeted, its values, and therefore the way in which these devices were combined and presented. For both periods the subjects, as depicted, exemplified in their persons, which is to say by their behavior, qualities deemed worthy of emulation. Whereas in the Eastern Han period (A.D. 25–220), virtually all portraits, sacred and secular, depict culture heroes of a Confucian persuasion—whether the loyal Duke of Zhou, Confucius himself, or devoted sons of humble station—the later portraits, as we shall see, celebrate, if not quite the antithesis of Confucian virtue, at least a different kind of virtue.

In both cases there were political ramifications for the pictorial exhortations. And in both cases an important message to the viewer was that an individual, even in private life, by his example could affect the body politic. The transitional period that followed the fall of the Han dynasty in the third century is frequently cited as the period that saw the rise of "individualism" or of an "unflagging interest in the individual."[3] Like "personality," the Western concept of individualism is inappropriate to the period and place. Assuredly, however, in this post-Han era the attitude toward individual men—how they expressed themselves, what they stood for, and how they influenced others—was very different from Han views.[4] Nevertheless, the individual qua individual also played a vital role in Han thought—in that classic Chinese conviction that a single man, writ large as Man, was the mediator between Heaven and Earth. By proper behavior man maintained the harmonious balance between the spheres: hence the supreme importance of the human model, whose conduct inspired others to emulation; and hence the importance of portraiture in these early periods of Chinese art history.


The two pictorial examples from the Eastern Han that I shall offer for analysis demonstrate these points. In both sacred and secular art of the period, stock images are transformed by inscriptions into specific individuals, portraits of men whose conduct, whether in public or private life, exemplified the values celebrated by a society as Confucian.

Chinese portraiture, however, did not originate in Eastern Han. Whatever its earliest dates may have been, we now have available for study at least one indubitable portrait made probably a few years after 168 B.C. Although the portrait lacks an inscription naming the subject, the tomb in which it was found also yielded evidence which has to date accompanied no other portrait find—namely, a wholly preserved corpse, the subject of the painting. Because of its significance for Chinese art history, I shall examine this portrait in some detail to establish the historical antecedents to Eastern Han and succeeding portrayals.

Nagahiro Toshio has remarked of Han portraiture that "the invisible essence of a person's character was, so to speak, manifest in the visible symbol of his person."[5] In this earliest example, what were the pictorial symbols and what information did they convey? Of all the possible qualities—physical, psychological, spiritual—that make a person an individual, which of them could the contemporary viewer discern from the depiction? We shall observe how a few devices like pose, gesture, and clothing—the same devices employed in succeeding periods to convey different information—reveal what must have mattered most, the subject's station in life.

Revelations of Rank

Scholars are unanimous in their agreement that one figure depicted on the now-famous silk banner from tomb no. 1 at Mawangdui represents the deceased, although her precise identity remains to be established (fig. 7).[6] For present purposes, the abundance and quality of objects found in the coffin and the elaborate form of interment provide



Line drawing of the painted silk banner from tomb no. 1 at Mawangdui,
Changsha, Hunan province, and detail from the vertical section. Length,
205 cm; width of horizontal section, 92   cm; width of vertical section,
47.7 cm. Ca. 168  B.C.   (From Hunansheng bowuguan,  Changsha
Mawangdui yihao Han mu.


more than sufficient evidence that the Lady Dai (as many presume the corpse to be) was a member of the nobility. The superb quality of the painting on the silk banner, as well as on the nested coffins, gives ample testimony to the occupant's wealth.

Although the precise functions of the banner and the iconography of many of its specific images continue to be debated, scholars generally agree that the painting in toto represents the journey of the soul (hun ) from its earthly residence to its permanent abode in Paradise.[7] One image, among many, is recognized as the countess.

Standing slightly to the right of center in the composition and noticeably larger than the five figures accompanying her, the figure in question appears in the topmost composition of the vertical strip of the T-shaped banner. From the arrangement of the hair and from the jewels adorning it, we infer that the figure is a woman; Michael Loewe notes that the use of such jewels was limited to the nobility.[8] The elaborate patterning of her robe, in contrast to the plain garments of the accompanying figures, suggests wealth (and is comparable to the fine textiles buried in the coffin). The woman leans on a staff, an attribute that permits us to infer that she is aged. The Bohutong notes that "the stool and the stick serve to support the weak. Therefore the Wang chih [Wang zhi] says: 'At fifty one may carry a staff in one's home, at sixty one may do it in his village, at seventy in the capital, at eighty at (the Lord's) court."[9]

We have readily learned a good deal about the subject of the portrait. From the clothing and hairdress, from the posture and attribute, we observe that the image is a woman, elderly and wealthy. From her size, compared with the size of the other figures in the same scene, we know that she must be the most important person in the scene. These observations are confirmed by the tomb and its contents and by the female corpse, judged from medical examination to have been about fifty years of age.

From her relationship to other figures in the painting, we may infer more about the lady. Behind her and to her right, for example, stand three figures, echoing her profile.[10] Scholars interpret them as females and characterize as male the two kneeling attendants who face the countess and offer food. The gender differentiation is made, presumably, on the basis of hairdo (female) and caps (male). The slight inclinations of the attendants, their hands brought together and muffled in their sleeves, may be taken as the sign of submission.[11] It is reasonable to assume that this gesture of submission indicates that the Lady Dai


occupies a social position higher than those who attend her, whether they are servants or members of a younger generation of her family.

But the gesture of submission does not necessarily mean a lower social status on the part of the one who submits. The same inclination of the upper torso and the same ceremonial gesture of the hands are found in the two figures seated between the pillars (que ) in the horizontal section of the painting. Whatever their specific identities, they occupy supernal positions.[12] As celestials, their status is higher than that of the countess as she is depicted, for, on her journey upward, although she has risen far, she has not yet entered the celestial gates to effectuate her final transformation. We see her en route at the top level of the vertical strip, separated from the gates only by the canopy, and perhaps bidding farewell to earthly familiars. Still in transit, her status is lower than that of the figures who guard the gate. Yet the same gesture of "submission" is made by figures of both higher and lower status. I shall return to the significance of this gesture.

We may assume that the painting was commissioned by the deceased or by her family on her behalf, and that it would be seen by many during the funeral procession preceding interment or other rituals.[13] That it was made especially for the deceased (although it incorporates conventional pictorial symbols of contemporary beliefs about life after death) is clear from the specific representation, as affirmed by her corpse. It is corroborated by the discovery, in tomb no. 3 at Mawangclui, of another painted silk banner with similar iconography. Although damage to the counterpart scene in this latter painting does not allow for close analysis, the corresponding image appears to be that of a male, as befits the tomb of a male.[14]

The painting would also be seen by many invisible, nonterrestrial beings. It is perhaps a statement of fact that at the time of interment the deceased was ready and about to enter Paradise—or perhaps only a pious hope. In either case, the Lady Dai would be recognized from her portrait, which conveys some of her physical characteristics, her wealth, and her status. Had she been depicted in isolation, we might know her gender, age, and wealth. By showing her in context—the entire painting and her location within it, her relationship to other figures—the artist enables us to know her status, social and spiritual. The painting, I suggest, is a report to celestial authorities on the status of the lady's hun, as the wood documents found in tomb no. 3 are a report to underworld authorities on the state of the interred's other spiritual component, his po.[15]



Line drawing of the painted silk banner from
tomb no. 9 at Jinqueshan, Linyi county,
Shandong province. 200 × 42 cm.
Western Han (202  B.C.A.D.  24).
(From Wenwu  1977.11.)


Similar pictorial techniques can be found on another silk painting of early Western Han from Jinqueshan, in Shandong province (fig. 8).[16] One figure on the second register, larger than those opposed to it, is very likely the deceased. From the relationships of size, posture, and position in the painting, we are able to single out the most important figure, while the color of her robe and her hairdress notify us that the personage is a woman.[17] On the basis of the portrait of the Lady Dai at Mawangdui, we may assume that the seated figure is intended to be a representation of the deceased. It is, in short, a portrait.[18]

Aside from one basic characteristic, that the subject is female, any other information we might glean from this painting about the woman in question must come from examining the relationships just noted. Virtually all pictorial elements found in Han portraits can be interpreted only in terms of their relationships, to each other and within the general context, if we are to understand the "meaning" of the portrait. Even an attribute, such as the staff of the Lady Dai, may have more than one interpretation, depending on its context.

On the fourth register of the Linyi painting, for example, a profiled male figure to the right leans on a staff and faces a row of four erect figures. Although all are garbed almost identically, the seemingly minor differences in the robe of the right figure suggest that they are significant of rank.[19] Thus, the right figure's position vis-à-vis the others, and the small differences in clothing details, mark him as more important than them. His staff can hardly be a sign of age, since he is clean-shaven, whereas two of the males opposing him have moustaches. I interpret his staff, therefore, to be the symbol of mourning—and of his relationship to the deceased as well.

The Bohutong asks, "Why must (the chief mourner) carry a staff? The filial son, having lost his parent, was so afflicted with grief . . . that his body . . . became emaciated and ill. Therefore he carries a staff to support himself."[20]

Perhaps this small figure is a portrait, intended to be like the son of the deceased. Isolated, he could not be identified as such. Depicted in relationship to others, he can be tentatively identified.

Revelations of Character

Although the funerary portraits discussed above were not intended to be exemplary, we know that such portraits existed in the Western


Han. Indeed, the majority of references to paintings in both dynastic histories of the Han period note their explicitly didactic intent, the extolling of exemplary conduct or achievement. Of those individuals deemed worthy of depiction, the Han shu primarily mentions virtuous ministers, ladies of the court, heroes and generals of the dynasty, such sages and worthies of the past as the Duke of Zhou and Confucius. For the latter, the bibliography section even cites a work in two chapters, The Method for Picturing Confucius and His Disciples.[21]

The History of the Latter Han lists similar exemplars, depicted, like their predecessors, on palace walls and furnishings, but adds important new models, patrons, and locations. The governor of Yuzhou, for example, commended Chen Ji for his filial conduct and "ordered the [local official] to paint his image (xiang ) in a hundred towns [in order to] regulate popular customs."[22] When Yan Du died, his native village had his form (xing ) painted in the local Temple of Qu Yuan.[23]

Thus, from the texts alone we can wring a surprising amount of general information about subject, patron, audience, and purpose. What we cannot gain from these texts, as commentators have noted, is a sense of what these "portraits" looked like. The term so often translated as "to portray" (for example, by Drake) is usually the undifferentiated hua or tu, whereas the graphs translated as "portrait" are most frequently xiang or xing, which are more accurately translated as, respectively, "image" and "form" ("shape" or "contour").

Yet verbal description of the human figure occurs. Describing himself, for example, Dongfang Shuo announces that he is twenty-two years old, "measure(s) nine feet three inches, [has] eyes like pendant pearls, teeth like ranged shells."[24] As for descriptions of paintings, Wang Yanshou (ca. A.D. 124–ca. 148), recounting the paintings of the Lingguang Palace, mentions (among others) Fuxi's scaly body and Nuwa's snake-form. Yet, in his long list of rulers and other exemplars depicted, he supplies no description and notes only their admonitory function.[25]

In his list, however, Wang Yanshou makes one point that deserves our attention: clothing distinguishes officials (i.e., those with carriages and high caps) from commoners.[26] I know of only one other reference in which costume is specified. Concerning Qu, Prince Hui of Guangquan, Ban Gu remarks that his palace gate bore a painting of Cheng Qing (Jing Ke) wearing a short coat, huge breeches, and a long sword. Qu admired these accoutrements to the point of emulation.[27]

Changing mortuary customs and political conflicts alike affected


developments in finerary art of the Eastern Han.[28] Wall paintings and reliefs adorned brick and stone tomb walls and offering shrines; from the welter of remains, what impresses most are the regional varieties of subject matter, technique, and style.

Equally impressive, however, is the continued reliance on earlier pictorial devices to depict the human figure, including those representations intended to be like specific individuals. The Sage Kings of the Wu shrines, for example, are distinguished only by headdresses, postures, and attributes—but above all, it is the inscription accompanying each image that enables us to identify them.[29] Although each posture and gesture suggests general movement, only the bend of Shen Nong conveys a more specific action, that of plowing. Headdresses vary somewhat, but if the artist had interchanged them, we would not doubt their appropriateness. Similarly, the postures of the disciples of Confilcius depicted on stones from the same shrines are virtually interchangeable, as are costumes and caps. Only the Master's favorite, Zi Lu, is allowed the individuality of a distinctive headdress and an inscription of his own.

If, as all agree, Han portraiture was most often exemplary, one special set of portraits is especially helpful in delineating the character of the models and the lessons viewers might be expected to learn from them. A scene that appears in several regions during the Latter Han period, on the walls of offering shrines and tombs as well as on coffers, is that of the meeting between Confucius and Laozi. In his Shi ji, Sima Qian twice relates this encounter between the two great sages. In both cases Laozi warns Confucius of the futility, even the foolhardiness, of his behavior.[30] To meddle in politics—to criticize the ruler in an effort to modify his conduct—is a waste of time and can be dangerous. The pictorial representation occurs, painted or in relief and with the two sages named by inscription, in Sichuan, Shandong, and Jiangsu provinces and at Helingeer in Inner Mongolia (figs. 9–11).[31] On the basis of these, several uninscribed reliefs from Shandong are identified as depicting this scene, along with a stone from Shaanxi and perhaps two others from Henan.[32] None bears a secure date, although the stone from the Wu shrines in Shandong must have been made between A.D. 147 and 167, whereas two—from the brick tomb at Helingeer and the stone tomb at Yinan in Shandong—probably date from the end of the Han dynasty. The majority of depictions, however, were not found in situ.

In juan 17 Sima Qian is specific about this encounter. We learn that



Confucius Visits Laozi.
Detail, rubbing of a stone relief, Sichuan province. Eastern
Han (A.D.  25–220). (From Wen You,  Sichuan Handai huaxiang xuanji. )

Confucius went to Zhou to study the rites (juan 63 states that he went to study the rites with Laozi), that he traveled in a carriage, and that two disciples accompanied him.

The Grand Historian also tells us, immediately prior to relating this account, that Confucius was exceptionally tall. From another Han text we learn that Confucius had a mouth as big as the ocean, the back of a tortoise, the hands of a tiger.[33] The Laoziming, an inscription composed in A.D. 165 by Bian Shao at the command of Emperor Huan, says that at the time of the meeting between the two sages, Confucius was sixteen years old; Laozi was over two hundred years old and looked like an old man with long ears.[34] When we examine the scenes of this meeting, we find that no two stones are exactly alike, with the exception of two identical stones from Sichuan (one inscribed, the other not). One stone, from Shandong, is the most detailed, providing the two sages with carriages and attendants or disciples, while an unidentified child stands between them (fig. 10).[35] The Fengs described the boy as holding a broom and sweeping the ground as a sign of respect for Confucius. More recently, however, Michel



Confucius Visits Laozi.
Detail of a nineteenth-century woodblock copy of a stone relief from the
Wu shrines in Jiaxiang county, Shandong province. Second century A.D.
(From Feng and Feng,  Jinshi suo: shi suo  4.)



Confucius Visits Laozi.
Rubbing of a stone relief, tomb in Yinan county,
Shandong province. Eastern Han (A.D.  25–220). (From Zeng et al.,  Yinan. )

Soymié has argued that the child is Xiang To, who, according to the Han texts, at the age of seven was a teacher of Confucius.[36] On some of the depictions the two stories would seem to have been conflated.

Many depictions, however, are abbreviated. The Sichuan relief, for example, shows only Laozi and Confucius accompanied by a third figure, whose inscription cannot be read, but whom Wen You identifies as a disciple (fig. 9). The Shaanxi relief (as well as several of the Shandong stones) shows only two adult figures, with the child standing between them. The relief from Yinan, uninscribed, shows only two figures (fig. 111).

Regularities among these depictions are few. Scholars most frequently identify uninscribed scenes by the presence of the small child with the pull-toy, found on the stone from Jiaxiang (Shandong), where inscriptions identify both Confucius and Laozi. The Yinan depiction, however, lacks the figure of the child; its identification is based on the resemblance between its two figures and those on the Wu family stone.[37] In some scenes—for example, in Helingeer and Sichuan—the figure of Confucius is much taller than that of Laozi, a


reminder of the Shi ji description; in others they are the same height. In most scenes they are dressed alike, often wearing similar headdresses. In most, but not all, scenes, Confucius holds a small fowl, presumably as an offering. Confucius does not always stand to the right of Laozi, the child does not always face the same sage, and so forth. On the inscribed Yeshang (Jiangsu) rubbing, all three figures—Confucius, Laozi, and disciple—are exactly the same in every respect except for the volume held by the disciple.

In no scene are the two figures distinguished by all the physical characteristics affirmed by the texts. The Jinshi suo copy of the Jiaxiang relief, the most faithful to Sima Qian's account while adding the image of Xiang To to the scene, depicts the two sages as almost identical in physical appearance and clothing.

What marks, then, distinguish these two important figures from each other or, for that matter, from the countless other decorously garbed images of Latter Han? I can find only two. In most cases, the figure of Laozi holds a twisted staff, in this case the sign of age. And the figure of Confucius almost always makes the sign of submission, a slight bow with hands clasped to the chest and muffled by sleeves. Often, even the bow is not readily apparent; in the Yinan scene, for example, only the loose hump of collar and robe suggests a slight inclination of neck and waist. Laozi's hands are muffled when both hold the staff, otherwise one hand is raised in a gesture of welcome.

The two figures, in all cases, stand still, any sense of motion being conveyed solely by the arm of Laozi raised in greeting. Feet are together; arms are usually close to the body; robes show straight interior folds; hems and sleeves hang straight down as if weighted. Static, formal, tense—these figures are models of decorum. We see the same proper conduct in the postures of other Han representations—the Duke of Zhou or the disciples of Confucius, for example.

The version of the encounter related by Sima Qian, as well as that of the Laoziming, suggests more than strongly that one of China's greatest exemplars had to submit to another, often competing, exemplar for instruction—and, of all things, in the rites! Although it has been disputed, the Daoist bias of Sima Qian, at least in this story, seems to me undeniable.[38] Are we, then, to infer that these many depictions of the meeting are intended as a victory of the Daoists over the Confucians, and that the real hero of the scene is Laozi?

Perhaps some Eastern Han depictions were meant to signal just that. But for most of them, I think not. On the contrary, the por-


trayals emphasize Confucian values important in Han social and political life, as exemplified by the conduct of Confucius toward Laozi. Moreover, given the historical context for the production of these scenes, they may also be interpreted as a rallying cry, not necessarily for the historical Confucius, but for the standard-bearers of Han Confucianism.[39]

Some of the issues of the complex and often turbulent history of the Han dynasty bear upon this interpretation. The Han imperium accepted Confucianism as state orthodoxy in about 135 B.C. Perhaps even more important for understanding these scenes is the fact that by the Eastern Han the display of Confucian behavior characterized as "filially pious and incorrupt" (xiao lian ) had become an important qualification for holding public office.[40] "Virtuous and wise" and "upright" were other, related standards of behavior a man was expected, by imperial decree, to exemplify if he wished to carve out a bureaucratic career. Hence we must view the many mortuary depictions of such filial sons as Ding Lan consulting the statue of his deceased father, or Xing Qu feeding his aged father, in a social context broader than that of personal predilection, whether of the deceased or of his family. The placement in the Helingeer tomb—the tomb of a high official—of the encounter between Confucius and Laozi in the company of the former's disciples, as well as of an endless stream of men and women famed for their filial piety or their upright behavior, can leave no doubt about some association of the encounter with these other depictions, all of which extol Confucian Virtue.

Other historical developments are pertinent. The commentary to the Sanguo zhi, citing the Kongshi pu, states that the emperor Huan (r. A.D. 147–168) set up a temple to Laozi with an image (xiang ) of Confucius painted on the wall. No description of the painting survives, and I refrain from speculation. The commentary then states that a descendant of the sage, Kong Shou, when he was minister in Chen, erected a stele to his great ancestor in front of the image.[41] It adds that the stele was still in existence. The Shuijing zhu not only confirms that fact but also gives the date for the stele—the third year of Jianhe, A.D. 149.[42]

The possible motivations for the emperor's decision (actually, the decision of those who ruled in his name) to paint an image of Confucius on the wall of a temple dedicated to Laozi are, it seems to me, rather limited. Either it was intended as a sign of Confucius's subordination to Laozi, or it was an effort to placate everyone and link the two in harmony. The latter possibility is by no means unlikely, for by


this time many Confucian scholar-officials had come to tolerate—had even adopted—at least some Daoist doctrines.[43]

Kong Shou's behavior, however, is less ambiguous. The Kong family register notes the erection of the stele but makes no mention of a similar stele to Laozi. It was, at the least, a personal act designed to honor an ancestor. The ancestor, however, happened to be an exceptionally famous one, and it was a public act. Given the political struggles of the t:imes, and the shibboleths of the partisans, Kong Shou's piety must be interpreted as a political statement as well.

In the power struggles that grew ever stronger in this last century of the Han dynasty and that led to its ultimate downfall, the beliefs and ideas categorized as "Huang-Lao" and "Confucian" were joined to the battles. The "Daoism" sometimes espoused by the faction led by imperial consorts and their families, or by the faction headed by palace eunuchs, and the "Confucianism" upheld by the official-scholar faction had become, in addition to genuinely held beliefs, political stratagems.[44]

Returning to the mortuary depictions, we find that we cannot establish with any certainty either the status or the political affiliation of most of the occupants whose tombs they decorated. We know, however, that the Helingeer tomb belonged to a high-ranking official, and that the Jiaxiang relief was made for the scholar-official Wu family. The pictorial complexes from both sites provide compendia of Han themes that tell us much about the status, or would-be status, and the beliefs, or putative beliefs, of the respective occupants.

We might be surprised to see Laozi so decorous—in some cases looking exactly like his "rival" in posture, gesture, and clothing. But we should note that both Sima Qian and Bian Shao say that Laozi was an official, Keeper of the Archives, and that Confucius came to him to study the rites. Moreover, in his Han development as a savior, he appears to have incorporated a Confucian value or two. For example, in the Laozi bianhua jing, probably composed not long after A.D. 185, Laozi, promising eventual salvation, says: "In this present age I will choose the good people. / You must not select yourself; By [your] upright behavior and self control / I will recognize you."[45] It should therefore not surprise us that artisans depicted Laozi formally posed and formally clothed, for such posture and garb are signs of upright behavior. Thus, on the Wu family stone the Keeper of the Archive appears as a model of upright behavior and control. He looks, in fact, exactly like Confucius.

If both sages are posed and clothed alike, how do we distinguish


them? On some scenes, only by inscription; on others, by attribute and gesture. The staff of Laozi, as I have noted, signifies age. In the context of the times, Confucius's gesture of submission is not the gesture of an inferior to a superior sage—as we would infer if we noted only the accounts of Sima Qian or Bian Shao—but the gesture of virtue, the action of a younger man toward an older one. "Why," asks the Bohutong, "do people salute each other? To manifest their emotions, to show their intentions, to humble themselves, and to incline their bodies reverently to be at the disposal of others. Pai [bai ] 'to salute' means fu 'to submit to.'"[46] To those who would see these depictions, and there were many, of all classes, the most important message was precisely that of the virtue required of high and low for the ordering of the empire. Indeed, how else can one interpret Sima Qian's curious remark that following the return of Confucius from his visit to Laozi his disciples grew in number, except as the consequence of his act of virtue?[47]

The presence of the small child, Xiang To, in many of these scenes does not readily lend itself to interpretation. For the early textual references assembled by Michel Soymi—Huainanzi, for example—are vague and merely assert that one Xiang To, at the precocious age of seven, was the teacher of Confucius.[48] Only later texts offer further identification and explicit affirmation of his thoroughly Confucian teachings.[49]

One early Han reference, however, may refer to Xiang To and therefore shed light on the popularity of the small-child image in Latter Han. Ban Gu quotes Dong Zhongshu, who welded such a mélange of ideas into that system known as Han Confucianism, on the realization of virtue (de ). The most exquisite jade, he notes, requires no embellishment, for its beauty resides in the material itself. Similarly, Xiang To required no education, for his knowledge was innate. However, an ordinary piece of jade, if not ornamented, will not achieve distinction or brilliance (wen zhang ). Similarly, a (mere) gentleman who does not receive education will not achieve virtue.[50]

Dong Zhongshu understood the exceptional Xiang To's knowledge to be an innate understanding of correct behavior, for it was Confucian education of which he spoke. In the same vein, we may interpret a relief inscription cited by Soymié from Shandong province. In A.D. 179 a son of the family Feng died prematurely. The inscription recounts the abilities of this extraordinary child. He knew by heart, for example, the Shi jing and the rites. Indeed, so great were his abilities, he was a second Xiang To, who had been his model. Soymié


points to this inscription as evidence that Xiang To was a model for children, even for those who knew by heart the Confucian Classics.[51]

Soymié assumes that any teacher of Confucius, like Sima Qian's Laozi, must be seen as superior to the Master. Dong Zhongshu's reference to the child prodigy, however, surely cannot be interpreted that way. On the scenes where the child appears, he is most frequently, but not always, shown facing Confucius, and often with one hand raised in the gesture of welcome. In some cases, as on one of the recently found Jiaxiang reliefs, both elder sages are gazing at him rather than evincing any interest in each other.[52] The child is meant to be seen, not as an opponent, but as a Confucian prodigy, ready to discourse on the highest subjects.[53]

As such, Xiang To provided a model, not only for young master Feng but for all children. Perhaps the occupants of the tombs decorated with these scenes had themselves been prodigies, as talented and diligent as the Feng child. Perhaps, too, they were partisans of the Confucian-scholar faction, in which case the image of Xiang To in these scenes takes its place on the political agenda: Even the great sage listens to him—not because he is a child, but because he knows the texts and therefore understands correct behavior, as only the Confucian scholars could. One who understands correct behavior, though but a child, has the right, even the duty, to speak out fearlessly. And pace Laozi and his advice, he should be listened to.[54]

Physical likeness is irrelevant to the depiction of these figures. It is, of course, their behavior that the viewer is expected to recall, those acts that we may sum up as Virtue Triumphant. That evocation of behavior permits us to move from the most general definition of a portrait, one intended to be like a specific individual, to a narrower definition, for it is intended to be like only in certain ways, in terms of specific qualities. It is the moral nature of the individual, his character, that counts, and that nature is revealed by action. His gesture of submission to Laozi and his attention to the child are the acts that reveal the moral nature of Confucius. "The Master said, 'I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;—as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!—He is not stupid.'"[55] The pictorial representation is also a lesson to be heeded and acted upon. Conduct reveals the man.

The depiction of such a portrait inside the tomb or on the wall of an offering shrine was, in effect, a statement that the deceased and his family identified themselves with such virtuous behavior. The accom-


panying scenes of emoluments and homage are the consequences of that virtue—and the proof that virtue was by no means its own reward. In the context of Eastern Han history the conspicuous display and honoring of virtue was both a moral and a social statement. It was also a political statement.

Returning briefly to the texts on portraiture, I suggest, on the basis of the extant portraits themselves, that the texts fail to supply descriptions because none were necessary. The names of the exemplars sufficed to remind viewers of their actions. The schemata were known to all.

Wang Yanshou's remark (referring to palace paintings) that officials were distinguished from commoners by their clothing is a most important comment. "Why did the Sages institute [the wearing of] robes?" asks the Bohutong. "In order that by the cloth . . . the spiritual power [of the wearer] be displayed; it is to encourage the capable, and to distinguish between the high and the lowly."[56] If I interpret Wang Yanshou correctly, the wearer's clothing, which signified his social status, was most important in distinguishing the images. But the Bohutong tells us that clothing also signifies "spiritual" (read "moral") status—from which we may infer that official rank equals moral status. If we consider that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED ) offers as one of many definitions of character "recognized official rank; status; position," then clothing defines the man. Bundled decorously in their robes, with bands of trim and peaked caps to signify their scholar status, the disciples of Confucius make known their virtuous character. If they all look alike, it is because they are all alike, in the only way that counts.

The Power of Reputation

The portraits discussed above were both mortuary and public in nature. They cannot, of course, tell us what private or secular portraiture may have looked like. However, there is an example of secular portraiture that warrants comparison and brings to our attention an important social role that will occupy our attention throughout this book, that of the recluse.[57] Even one who had withdrawn from all public life could, by his exemplary reputation, exert influence—for by its moral nature a man's refusal to serve in office was an action that could move others to alter their conduct.


A small woven bamboo container no more than 39 cm long, 18 cm wide, and 22 cm high was excavated from the anteroom of a log tomb, believed to be the burial place of a minor Chinese official and his family, at Lelang (now North Korea) in 1931.[58] On both the container and its lid the Lelang basket bears lacquer paintings of some ninety-four human figures, many accompanied by inscribed names. Although the tomb itself probably dates from late Eastern Han, scholars assume the basket to be of earlier date and made elsewhere than in the Han commandery. Laurence Sickman, whose trenchant formal analysis of the paintings cannot be surpassed, has suggested that it dates from the first or, at the latest, the early second century.[59]

Yoshikawa Kojiro[*] has identified and discussed many of the figures on the basket.[60] The majority of those that can be identified are exemplars of filial piety or ancient worthies, many of whom are also found on the mortuary reliefs of Shandong or on the tomb paintings of Helingeer. Yet, for all the different individuals and events evoked by the inscriptions, at first examination the figures all look very much alike. Closer observation reveals small differences, however. Females, for example, are distinguished from males by their earrings, headdresses, and more voluminous skirts. Several of the male figures can be seen to wear the shou, that sign of the wearer's station in life (see n. 19). Many males have whiskers, and age is denoted by the contrast of white beard and black.

In this illustrious company, on one of the rebated short ends of the container, sit four figures identified as the "Four Graybeards of Mount Shang," who appear, in almost identical versions, in both the Shi ji and the Han shu (fig. 12).[61] Their story is interesting if seemingly tenuous in its connection to the text in which it appears (the Biography of Zhang Liang ). Sima Qian and Ban Gu tell us that the first Han emperor, Gaozu, planned to remove the rightful crown prince and replace him with the son of his favorite concubine. Distraught, the empress sought advice from the emperor's minister, Zhang Liang, who, although pessimistic, suggested that the crown prince invite the Four Graybeards to court. Miffed (and frightened, too) at what they considered the emperor's insults to scholar-officials, the team of four had righteously refused to serve him as ministers and taken refuge in the mountains. Yet the emperor admired and searched for them, to no avail.

Heeding the blandishments of the crown prince, the Four Graybeards accepted his invitation and came to rescue him. When the



The Four Graybeards of Mount Shang.
Detail from a basket excavated at Lelang (Anak, Korea).
Painted and woven bamboo. Late first–early second century A.D.
(From Rakuro[*] Saikyo[*]-tsuka. )

emperor recognized them and inquired, the four stated that they had fled because he had neglected and insulted the scholars (shi ) and failed in his reciprocal obligations to them (yi ). They returned, however, because they had heard that the crown prince was benevolent (ren ) and pious (xiao ). that he showed deference and respect to scholars. Moved by their criticism and awakened to his duties, the ruler begged the old men to watch over the crown prince and in sorrow changed his plans. "His feathers are already grown," Gaozu informed his favorite; "it would be difficult to [re]move him."[62] In the historians' telling, it is a cautionary tale: he who is virtuous enough to rally the support of righteous scholars is too powerful for the emperor to oppose. Moreover, it states baldly that the emperor lacked the virtue to attract worthy men, and thereby it calls into question his claim to supreme authority.

The presence of these powerful four on the small basket, in the


company of such filial paragons as Ding Lan and Xing Qu, leaves little doubt about the message. It is exemplary eremitism that is celebrated—the moral uprightness that leads a scholar to withdraw from official service rather than compromise his principles. Such principled behavior could lead to fame and thus encourage others to emulation. It could even, like filial piety, lead paradoxically to recommendation for office.[63]

That the artisan who painted these marvelous figures was himself aware of the full political import of the Four Graybeards—as Sima Qian and Ban Gu may have intended—is not likely. The texts describe their physical appearance when they returned to court: they were over eighty years old, their eyebrows and beards were white, their robes and caps impressive. Yet on the basket the clothing of the four seems no different from the clothing of other figures, and their wispy beards and eyebrows are black. In contrast, the artisan was certainly familiar with the story of the filial Xing Qu, whose father we recognize by his white hair and white beard. He surely knew the story of Ding Lan, for he has given us an interesting illustration of a sculpted wood portrait of Ding Lan's father.

This difference in accuracy of portrayal confirms Hamada's assumption that the lively and inventive paintings on the basket were "nothing more than the lacquer-worker's stock in trade."[64] As he notes, the artisan and his market would most certainly have been familiar with the subjects of the many tales of filial children in circulation at the time.

Everyone would have known those stories, so important were they for promoting domestic welfare and, sometimes, worldly success. But would an artisan necessarily have known, or understood the significance of, the righteous Graybeards and court intrigue? Perhaps not.[65]

For this form of art production, it does not seem to have mattered. They are stock images and much like all the others on the basket. They are portraits—because they are named; they are character portraits—because of the company they keep. They derive their significance, as Maribeth Graybill has remarked of Han figure painting in general, "not from individuation, but from membership in an elite group, which is visually expressed as a recognized stereotype."[66] For all the figures on the basket exemplify some aspect of propriety, not so much by their postures and gestures, which are here only generalized signs of motion (except for the gestures of Ding Lan and Xing Qu, which are object-oriented). They exemplify propriety to some extent


by their clothing, since all are dressed alike in robes of officials and with decorum.[67] More than any pictorial stratagem, however, it is the inscription—and the action it evokes in the mind of the viewer—that conveys the character of each figure.

By Latter Han, eremitism, as a consequence of the recommendation system, had become as fashionable as filial piety. The figures of the Lelang basket express popular themes of the period. They make no political statement; they are, rather, culture heroes, promoting shared ideals. In Han art righteous behavior was rampant.

It is of considerable interest for this discussion that of all the figures on the Lelang basket only one can be described as "at rest." From their postures and, above all, their gestures, all images save one can be interpreted as being in motion. The one exception is not the representation of a living human being; it is the statue of Ding Lan's deceased father. Motion—which is to say, action—is the sign of life. And what a man does is what he is. "The Master said, 'See what a man does. . . . How can a man conceal his character?"[68]

With surprising economy, utilizing pictorial devices of costume, attribute, gesture and posture, and spatial relationships, Han craftsmen depicted portraits—figures intended to be like specific personages. They were character portraits in that the action suggested by these techniques conveyed, as the OED defines the word, the "distinct or distinguishing character." See what a man does.


Portraits of Jin

The dark chamber, once sealed,
For a thousand years shall not again see dawn's light.
Tao Yuanming, "Funeral Song No. 3"

The fall of the Han dynasty in A.D. 220 marked the official end of the centralized state that had prevailed for over four centuries. The ensuing political and intellectual ferment led to the development of new institutions, ideas, and attitudes that were to mark China for centuries and to have a lasting effect on its literary and visual arts. The events of the third century will therefore occupy a prominent place in this study of portraiture. For the moment, however, I shall postpone discussion of those events and juxtapose to Han portraiture some portraits of the fourth century. In wrenching them temporarily from their historical context, I hope to sharpen the comparisons and contrasts.

The stone tomb at Yinan in Shandong province offers an example for comparison with later tombs. Opinions vary as to its precise date, although no scholar places it earlier than late second century, the date first proposed in the archaeological report.[1] Most architectural fea-


tures, tomb relics, and pictorial themes support the conclusion of its authors. Historical events also play a role in their considerations: A tomb of such lavish construction and décor, they argue, could not have been constructed after the fall of the dynasty, the consequent partition of the country into separate states, each striving to restore the empire at the expense of the others, and the general dislocation and impoverishment that ensued.[2]

In recent years an increasing number of archaeologically excavated stone tombs datable to Eastern Han have reinforced the argument for a Han date for the Yinan tomb.[3] I shall note here only its most salient characteristics.[4]

Constructed of dressed stone slabs, the tomb measures approximately 8.7 by 7.55 meters. Intended to resemble a dwelling, it is divided into eight rooms: three chambers on its longitudinal axis running north and south, three side chambers to the west, and two side chambers to the east. The post-and-lintel construction is especially notable for its use of octagonal columns and bracketing. The sophisticated corbeling for roof construction is also worthy of note, especially in the main chamber, where diagonal placement of corbels forms a Laternendecke.

Both façade and interior walls are covered with relief images whose subjects form a compendium of Eastern Han tomb iconography. The elaborate scenes of offerings, kitchen preparation, feasting, and entertainment tell much about life and death in Han China, as well as about the status—or would-be status—of the deceased. Supernatural images serve to protect the tomb; hybrid creatures signal auspiciousness. Historical or legendary figures—the Duke of Zhou and King Cheng, Duke Huan of Qi and the Virtuous Lady, Confucius and Laozi (fig. 11)—are the exemplars on whom the deceased most surely modeled himself in life.

The Yinan tomb is thus a model of Han funerary practices and conviction. Its pictorial décor, with its emphasis on status, righteous behavior, and protection of the tomb, may be read as a summary of late-Han values and beliefs. Although the reigning dynasty fell in A.D. 220, many Han values persisted.

Tombs of the Northeast

The sporadic control exercised by the Chinese over its commanderies in third-century Korea ceased, presumably, with the conquest of


north China by various tribal groups in 313. In 1949, however, archaeologists unearthed a stone tomb at Anak (the former Han commandery of Lelang) that bore an inscription in Chinese referring to one Dong Shou.[5] The inscription states that Dong Shou died in A.D. 357 and that he was governor of Lelang. It adds several other official titles, all of which are purely Chinese.

Many architectural elements of the Yinan tomb, such as the octagonal pillars, corbeled ceilings, and Laternendecke, are found in the Dong Shou tomb. Its plan, moreover, is similar to Yinan's, with a front and a back room lying on an axis and asymmetrically arranged rooms, one on either side of the main chamber.[6] Still other architectural elements of Yinan, which need not concern us here, are found in northern tomb constructions of the early Six Dynasties period.[7]

Like the Yinan tomb, the stone walls of the Lelang tomb are covered with pictures, as are the ceilings. Here, however, the pictures are painted rather than carved. Su Bai links both the method and the style of the paintings to third-century tomb paintings at Liaoyang.[8] Except for the motifs painted on the ceilings, the subjects of the paintings—domestic scenes, attendants, mounted processions, the tomb occupant and his wife—are, as Su Bai remarks, the stone images of Han.[9] These subjects are also found in the Liaoyang tombs.[10] The scenes of history and legend, however, do not appear in these later tombs of the northeast.

I shall discuss the portrait of Dong Shou (fig. 13) in conjunction with another, recently excavated, portrait from a tomb at Chaoyang in present-day Liaoning (fig. 14).[11] Although both tombs are of stone, they differ architecturally. The newly unearthed tomb has only one main chamber and one side room and is considerably smaller than the Dong Shou tomb. Construction is simple, with none of the architectural refinements of the Yinan and Lelang tombs.[12] Portrayed on its plaster-coated walls, however, are numerous scenes, many of whose themes—such as food preparation, processions, officials, attendants—are similar to those of the Lelang tomb. The authors of the report conclude, because of similarities of construction, relics, and style of the paintings to other tombs both in the same region and elsewhere, that the tomb was constructed in the first half of the fourth century.[13]

A portrait of the deceased appears on a wall in a niche of the main chamber of the Chaoyang tomb. It is virtually identical with the portrait of the Lelang tomb. Although the portrait is badly damaged and difficult to see in reproduction, the report confirms this. Both men are frontally seated, cross-legged, on a platform surmounted by a canopy



Portrait of Dong Shou.
Drawing of a wall painting from a stone tomb at Lelang
(Anak, Korea). Ca.  A.D.   357.  (From K. H. J. Gardiner,  Early History of Korea. )

and backed by a screen. The faces of both are long ovals that show thick dark eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes, a long nose, and so forth. The Chaoyang report confirms that there are traces of a beard, as in the Dong Shou portrait, although one is not visible in the reproduction. Robe lapels are wide, sleeves are broad. Each man grasps in his right hand an object identified in the reports as a fly whisk, held upright in front of the right shoulder. According to the Chaoyang report, the fingertips of the left hand touch a cup held in front of his waist. The published illustration, however, shows the left hand in the same gesture as Dong Shou's, but touching the wearer's belt, to which is attached the shou, his sign of rank. The men wear identical hats. The broadly painted interior strokes of their upper robes and the lack of any definition of bodies underneath clearly suggest the heavy cloth that, visible on the Dong Shou drawing, fully covers and hides the



Detail of a wall painting from a stone tomb at Yuantaizi, Chaoyang county,
Liaoning province. Fourth century A.D.  (From Wenwu  1984.6.)

lower torso and legs. Its wide, scalloped contours are the only evidence of the subject's seated, cross-legged posture.

Virtually identical, wholly interchangeable, these are official portraits. The frontal, static posture, the accoutrements of office (hats, fly whisk, the heavy robes with wide lapels, canopy, screen, flanking attendants) tell us no more than that they are officials. It is their status that counts, their membership in an elite group. All else is irrelevant. That they served well is confirmed by the accompanying scenes that attest to the abundance and prosperity of a well-ordered domain.

No inscription remains in the Chaoyang tomb to identify the incumbent. Nor is it clear, despite the inscription, that the Lelang tomb was built for the governor of Lelang.[14] If it is his tomb, who appointed him, under whom did he serve?

We read of Dong Shou only once in the Jin shu, in connection with


the Murong Xianbei chieftain Huang, in whose domain Dong apparently resided.[15] Embroiled in the civil wars that engulfed the domain after the death in 333 of Huang's father, Hui, the faction to which Marshal Dong Shou belonged was defeated by Huang. Offered sanctuary by the king of Koguryo, many of the defeated, including Dong Shou, fled east and south.

We can thus account for the presence of Dong Shou in Lelang. But it is not clear who actually controlled the territory. It is unlikely, as K. H. J. Gardiner points out, that it was still a Chinese commandery, in terms of any actual administrative control. Evidence in the form of inscribed bricks, however, suggests that as late as 404, Chinese were settled there.[16] Dong Shou therefore governed Lelang either as the appointed official of the king of Koguryo or as an independent warlord.

Arguing for the latter, Gardiner notes that the string of titles on the tomb inscription are official Chinese titles, although without foundation in fact. "By these titles," he notes, "Tung Shou [Dong Shou] signalized his independence of Koguryo and gave himself the appearance of a loyal officer of the Chin [Jin] dynasty in China."[17] Moreover, they served to increase his prestige by linking him to earlier, legitimate governors of Lelang. Assessing the arguments, Gardiner concludes that the tomb was built for Dong Shou and that the portrait is intended to be like him.[18]

In fact, however, we do not know who the incumbents of the Lelang and Chaoyang tombs were or whom they served. Chinese architecture, Chinese pictorial subjects, and Chinese titles are not in themselves clear evidence that the patrons were Chinese: they merely tell us that the patrons wished to be seen as Chinese. The grandiose titles of the Dong Shou inscription, such as "General Pacifying the East," "Commander-Protector of the Barbarians," are Dong Shou's wish, his soi-disant rank. So also may have been the characteristics of the portrait.

For the purpose of this argument, therefore, neither the origins (ethnic, social, etc.) of the subjects of the two portraits nor the actual masters they served matters; what matters is that they wished to be portrayed as Chinese. The specific Chinese pictorial traditions they chose reveal much about what they valued, about their soi-disant character, as it were.

It is therefore of considerable interest that these two tombs of the fourth century perpetuate architectural (in the case of the Lelang tomb) and pictorial traditions of a much earlier period, the late Han


dynasty. The many paintings that adorn the stone walls depict some of the same scenes found in the Han tombs at Yinan, Helingeer, and so forth, such as a kitchen scene, stables, officials, processions. However, there are no depictions of historical or legendary figures exemplifying filial piety, uprightness, incorruptibility. Status and wealth are depicted for us; Confucian virtue is not, or, at least, not in the same way, for, as I have noted in the previous chapter, status and wealth are themselves evidence of virtue.

The incumbents of the Chaoyang and Lelang tombs wished to be portrayed as ones who administered a state and served an empire—and with the same conduct and values publicly espoused by those who had, in reality, served the Han empire. It is therefore not surprising that artisans utilized Han pictorial traditions to convey these specific values. The two portraits differ little from the many Eastern Han finds of depictions of officials. Whether it be the Master of Records portrait painted on the brick tomb at Wangdu in Hebei, the homage scene of the brick tomb at Helingeer, or the homage scene in relief in the stone tomb at Zhucheng in Shandong, the chief subjects of these paintings are depicted as serving (or as having served) the state.[19] Large figures, seated frontally, cross-legged and motionless on a platform, formally robed and capped, their attendants at the ready—these are portraits that denote rank.

They are the pictorial counterparts of the various inscriptions that appear in these tombs. The Master of Records at Wangdu is named by the office held, not by personal name; the incumbent of the tomb at Helingeer is referred to by offices held, not by personal name; the inscription at Lelang names Dong Shou and follows with a long list of putative offices held. In the broadest sense of the definition, the pictorial depictions, albeit stock images, are portraits because they were intended to be like specific individuals. Conventions that had not yet lost their significance told all that counted, a man's rank or status in life. As I have remarked of earlier images, if the subjects of the Chaoyang and Lelang portraits look exactly alike, it is because they were alike, in the only way that mattered. Chinese artisans residing in the Han dynasty settlements throughout the northeast transmitted these traditions, which were refreshed by the influx of Chinese fleeing the turmoil of the early third century.Their continuance is seen in the tomb paintings, datable to the Three Kingdoms–Western Jin period (A.D. 220–316), at Liaoyang, in Liaoning province.[20] The tradition of the Han "official" portrait, however, did not survive merely as a result of later artisans' pictorial bankruptcy. Other paintings in the


Chaoyang and Lelang tombs, for example, are clear evidence of the emergence of new themes and of a large stockpile of images and scenes for funerary art. The portrait of rank persisted because it was wanted. It continued to have meaning for patrons and viewers.

The Nanjing Tomb

The tomb excavated in 1960 in the vicinity of the Xishan Bridge, south of present-day Nanjing, seemed at first little different in either construction or contents from other Six Dynasty tombs previously unearthed in the area.[21] It had been broken into at an early date, but damage was confined largely to the corridor. Constructed of gray brick, the oblong tomb's interior, measuring 6.85 by 3.1 meters, comprised a narrow corridor and a single burial chamber. Its wall construction of three rows laid horizontally to every vertical row of bricks was characteristic of fourth- and fifth-century tombs, as were the herringbone-patterned brick floor, tunnel-vaulted roof, and stone doors topped by a stone lintel embossed with a design shaped like the letter A. The report refers to a neighboring tomb, dated A.D. 369, with similar characteristics, while a tomb dating from 384, excavated east of the city, featured a similar drainage system of sump pits connected to drainage lines under the floor.[22] A few bricks utilized in construction and distributed randomly throughout the tomb were inscribed with floral designs.[23]

Mortuary objects scattered in the burial chamber were the usual array of metal coins, clay utensils and vessels, glazed stoneware. The pottery horse and rhinoceros were common, and the small stone pigs were ubiquitous in known tombs of the period. The three clay effigies, of which a male and a female remained intact, resembled others found in the region.[24] The low brick platform filling the latter two-thirds of the room (exclusive of the apse at the rear) was another characteristic feature. On this platform sat four stone slabs intended to be the base for two wood coffins, their only remaining traces being the iron nails scattered on the floor.

In sum, only one feature of this tomb was unique, the two relief murals on the long walls of the burial chamber (figs. 2 and 3). Beginning approximately halfway into the room, and one-half meter above the floor, each mural measured 2.4 by 0.8 meters. Each was composed of many dozens of gray bricks set in the same pattern as the rest of the


wall, namely, three horizontal rows of bricks to every vertical row. The sides or ends of the bricks bore inscriptions that were obviously guides to their positioning.[25]

The very intricacy of the composition was without parallel in previous tomb finds. The technique of stamping a design in clay could, after all, be traced back to late Neolithic times and was commonly used for tomb walls of Western Han.[26] Multiple-brick designs datable to the Six Dynasties had been found earlier in the Nanjing area.[27] One of these was a small stag in fine-line relief and composed of two bricks; the other composition required three bricks to depict a tiger, again in fine-line relief.[28] Many of these bricks, including the multiple-tile compositions, have floral or animal designs—sometimes complete, sometimes partial—on other facets of the bricks, including the narrow sides and short ends. Each brick design, in short, is a mass-produced module.[29]

No one had anticipated the technical complexity of the new finds. The excavators posited a complicated process of manufacture: The mural designs were first drawn on wood boards, which were then carved and pressed into wet-clay bricks. After firing, the bricks were assembled as integral parts of the tomb walls.[30] The method, as Akiyama Terukazu has remarked, is sophisticated, and the Xishanqiao murals are surely not the first to have been constructed in this manner.[31]

Complexity of construction, however, was not the only surprise for the excavators. Both the subject of the murals—for the pair constitute one subject—and its treatment were to astonish. Quite simply, nothing like them had been previously excavated.

Each mural is composed of four male figures and five trees. The variegated trees, which stretch the full height of the panel, separate and frame each figure. Like their Han predecessors, these images are accompanied by inscriptions. Beside each figure a brick supplies a name in relief. The murals, therefore, are portraits. The subjects, however, are new. Seven of the eight men in the composition are historical personages who lived in the third century. The eighth figure, also a man, is known from at least one story circulating in their time. Let us see how they were depicted approximately a century later, in a region of China far from their homes.

On the south wall, as one enters the burial chamber, a tree with broad, scallop-edged leaves rises behind a frontally seated figure whose head turns slightly, in three-quarter view, to the west (the rear of the room).[32] His moustache and whiskers are visible; his hair is tied



Xi Kang.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Xi Kang.
Detail of figure 2.

in tufts at the top of the head. He wears no cap or hat. The back is rigidly erect, and the arms extend down, with both hands resting on a long, stringed musical instrument, the qin. The fingers are poised, as if ready to pluck the strings. The upper portion of the robe reveals the chest; the bunched right sleeve bares the arm. The left leg, resting on the fur mat that separates the figure from the ground, bends at the knee, where the robe folds back, to uncover the calf and foot. The right knee, covered by his robe, is raised, while the foot lies flat on the mat. His garments drape in folds and flutter behind his bared arm and at his feet (figs. 15 and 16).



Ruan Ji.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )



Ruan Ji.
Detail of figure 2. (Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

The inscribed brick tells us that he is Xi Kang (A.D. 223–262), poet, musician, and seeker after immortality. Related by marriage to the royal family of Wei, he was executed for political intrigue.[33]

To the west of Xi Kang, separated from him by a tree, a figure drawn partly in profile, partly in three-quarter view, faces him (figs. 17 and 18). A soft, puffed cloth covers part of his head. The palm of his left hand rests behind him on the mat, as if to support the leaning torso. The right elbow perches on the right, raised knee; the arched fingers are close to the puckered lips and suggest that the man is about to whistle. The left leg extends out on the mat, the foot is relaxed. Here, too, the robe bunches, drapes, or flutters to reveal the chest, arms, and bare foot. To the left of the figure appears a large-handled, footed bowl and saucer. It is a wine bowl, typical of many found in



Shan Tao.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )



Shan Tao.
Detail of figure 2.  (Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

tombs of the period. I interpret the small object discernible inside the bowl to be a dipper.[34]

We learn from the inscription that the figure is Ruan Ji (A.D. 210–263). Like his friend Xi Kang, he was a poet and a musician.[35]

The next figure, depicted in three-quarter view, faces the west wall and gazes in the direction of the figure who follows after him (figs. 19 and 20). His head is covered by a cloth wrapped loosely as a turban. He sits erectly; his left arm is raised from the elbow, his hand holds a wine cup. Both sleeves are pushed back to reveal the lower arms, while the right hand reaches around the raised right knee to clutch the gathered sleeve of the other arm. The left leg is bent at the knee, its calf and foot tucked behind the right leg. The chest and feet are bare. A wine bowl, similar to Ruan Ji's, appears at the right of the figure.



Wang Rong.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Wang Rong.
Detail of figure 2. (Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)

Shan Tao (A.D. 205–283) is the name on the accompanying brick. He occupied a high position under the Sima clan, founders of the Western Jin dynasty (A.D. 265–316).[36]

The mural on the south wall terminates in a figure, again in three-quarter view, who faces Shan Tao (figs. 21 and 22). His hair, like Xi Kang's, is tufted, and a slender ribbon or lock of hair hangs down his back. He slouches in a curious posture that few, if any, can imitate: the front of his left thigh lies flat on the mat, the leg rotates up at the knee, rotates again at the ankle. The sole of the foot thus faces up, while the toes rest lightly on the raised right knee, whose foot rests on the mat. The elbow of the left arm, muffled in cloth, rests on a rectangular box.



Xiang Xiu.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Xiang Xiu.
Detail of figure 3.

The lower arm extends up, the palm opens, and the fingers curve sinuously. A long wand, a ruyi, perches on the very tips of the fingers.[37] A wine bowl, similar to the others, appears to the figure's left. The duck swimming inside is actually, I believe, a tiny dipper with a bird-shaped handle. A crescent-shaped, footed wine cup sits above (behind?) the bowl.

By now the insouciant figure's bare limbs should not surprise us. It is, rather, a surprise to learn that it is Wang Rong (A.D. 234–305), who held the highest office in the land.[38] It is unlikely that he is performing his official duties in this scene. The mural on this wall terminates in a gingko tree fanning out above Wang Rong's head.



Liu Ling.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Liu Ling.
Detail of figure 3.

On the north wall, as one enters the room, the first, frontally depicted figure slumps against a tree, identical to the gingko that accompanies Wang Rong on the opposite wall (figs. 23 and 24). He wears a cloth cap; his eyes are closed; and one short, downward-curving line hints at a wrinkled forehead. His inclined head and left shoulder suggest utter relaxation, as the left sleeve of his robe falls and crumples from his shoulder to bare his chest and upper arm. His right hand rests on his naked thigh; the bent knee and calf weight the swirls and scallops of his tumbled robe—an interesting contrast to the scallops of cloth that float out and up from behind his right arm. His left leg, fully covered, is raised at the thigh and bends at the knee.



Ruan Xian.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Ruan Xian.
Detail of figure 3.

The inscription informs us that he is Xiang Xiu (A.D. 228–281), the author of a now-lost commentary on the Zhuangzi.[39]

The figure to the right of Xiang Xiu faces in his direction (figs. 25 and 26). His left hand, held close to his waist, holds a wine cup. His bare head is inclined in the direction of his right hand, which he holds up, fingers curled, in front of his chest. One finger extends down and into the wine bowl. His right leg is raised, his bared knee bends so that the foot rests on the mat. The left leg lies flat on the mat and curls behind the other. His loose garment gathers and folds to reveal his bare chest, lower right arm, and leg.



Rong Qiqi.
Relief detail, tomb at Xishanqiao, Nanjing.
(From Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu. )



Rong Qiqi.
Detail of figure 3.

This is Liu Ling (third century), lover of wine and known primarily as the author of a hymn to its virtues.[40]

The third figure in the row turns his face to the entrance (figs. 27 and 28). Wearing a billowing, kerchief-like cap, he directs his gaze to the frets of the stringed musical instrument he holds in front of his chest. His left hand cups around the fingerboard and, with the pluck in his right hand, he touches the strings of the sounding-board. He sits cross-legged on the mat.

The inscription names the figure as Ruan Xian (A.D. 230–281), musician and tippler.[41] He was the nephew of Ruan Ji, who appears on the opposite wall.


According to tradition, the seven figures named and depicted in the murals formed a group known as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove. The eighth figure, however, is an outsider.

This final personage also faces the entrance to the room (figs. 29 and 30). Capless, his long hair falls over his shoulders. Three short arcs furrow his brow. He sits with his knees together, his feet tucked under his robe. The hands rest on either end of a stringed musical instrument in his lap, his fingers arch. He is garbed like the other figures, save for a twisted belt, the ends of which depend from his waist. The mural, like its counterpart on the south wall, terminates in a gingko tree.

The inscribed brick names this last figure as Rong Qiqi, a legendary creature. Huainanzi tells us that when Rong Qiqi plucked one chord of his lute, "Confucius, moved by its harmony, rejoiced for three days."[42]

Eight images, with no background or spatial setting, divided between two walls, are nevertheless united into one composition. They are united by repetition of depiction—one figure, one tree; by repetition of attributes—wine bowls, musical instruments, fur mats; by repetition of forms that are variations on a theme—lounging en déshabille. They are united, finally, by one fact: seven of the eight figures in the composition were known, at the time this Nanjing tomb was constructed, to at least some people in the Nanjing region, as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove.[43] The mural is, as I shall argue, a collective portrait, in which all eight men personify—and celebrate—the same values. Its significance was to endure for centuries—indeed, to the present day.

What astonished the excavators was its difference, as we have observed, from Han-period and even later portrayals. Alternating trees and human figures were not an innovation; they appear on countless Western Han stamped tiles. Here, however, the human figures do not stand, like their predecessors; they sit. They do not sit, however, on elevated platforms in the formal, motionless pose of the Dong Shou portrait. They lounge, they loll, on fur mats on the ground. They are not decorously bundled in official robes like the seated, gesturing figures painted on the Lelang basket. Rather, their garments fall around them to expose bare chests, bare feet. There are no robe lapels, no braids dangling from belts to signify a person's station in life. No headgear or attribute supplies clues to rank or status. No two images are exactly alike, and the stock figures of Han are replaced by individualized figures.

Like those of the earlier, painted basket, the Nanjing figures are all


the same size and are seated at the same level, with no hint of hierarchy. All the basket figures, however, are depicted, by their postures and gestures, in relationship to at least one other figure. In contrast, each relief figure is isolated from his compeers by a tree. Although some of the eight men face each other, no gesture of any one can be interpreted as specifically directed to another figure in the mural. Each of them, limbs close to the body, seems self-contained.

The stretching and turning, the reaching and gesticulating of the Lelang figures create a sense of lively animation. Muscles are not apparent, but we know, from posture and gesture, that they are tense. One may point also to the violent and agitated postures of many relief figures at Yinan, which contrast so strongly with the still poses of Confucius and Laozi in the same tomb.[44] The lounging limbs and self-contained gestures of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi, however, are relaxed. Even Xi Kang, his back and head erect, his fingers positioned as if to play (like the other musicians), manages to convey a relaxed feeling, by virtue, perhaps, of his bared limbs. About this lolling and self-containment there is a curious air of calm, of quiet. Yet, as I shall discuss below, the forms are not static like Dong Shou's, nor are they stately and measured like Confucius's and Laozi's.

The subjects could not, of course, have been depicted before the third century. If we knew nothing about them, we would know from their postures, garb, and attributes that no pious Confucius confronts us; no filial Ding Lan reminds us of our obligations; no servant of the empire trumpets, like Dong Shou, service, duty, or rank.

No inscription, save those naming the figures in the murals, was found in the tomb.[45] Comparing the Xishanqiao find with dated tombs in the area, the authors of the original excavation report proposed a date of either late Eastern Jin or early Liu-Song. Although its characteristics have been repeatedly discussed and evaluated in the ensuing years, no firmer dating has been agreed upon.[46] The occupants of the tomb, presumably husband and wife, remain unknown to us. In the years following the discovery of the Nanjing tomb and its Seven Worthies portraits, three more tombs were unearthed with evidence for the portrayal of the same individuals. The sites of all three are in present-day Danyang, not far from Nanjing. The remains of large stone animal sculptures at each of the sites confirm that all were royal burials.[47] During the Six Dynasties period, Danyang, known then as Southern Lanling, was the home of a branch of the Xiao family, which ruled in the south from 479 to 502 as the Southern Qi dynasty. Thus, although no inscriptions with dates or names were found


at these Danyang sites, it is clear that all three tombs were made for members of the Qi imperial family and that all were constructed during or immediately following the reigning years of the dynasty.

There is nothing to suggest that the earlier Nanjing tomb housed royalty, whether a Sima of Jin or a Liu of Song, and no scholar believes that it did. If the earlier portrait began as nonimperial art (perhaps even as an idiosyncratic choice), as the earliest of the four tombs known to us suggests, what about it was so compelling that some fifty to one hundred years later it was adopted by men who ranked highest in the land? Why were a few playful poets and tippling officials so important to anyone, let alone to members of the imperium? Whatever happened to filial piety, to uprightness, to incorruptibility, to rank and wealth? Where was Virtue?

I shall first attempt to ascertain the meaning the Seven Worthies portraits may have had for the earliest tomb incumbent known to us, someone in the late fourth or the early fifth century, who lived in what is now Nanjing. Establishing that, I shall then compare them with the later portraits to demonstrate that they have risen in the world.


Patterns to the Future

Ideas should be cleverly brought together;
language should be beautifully commissioned.
Lu Ji, Rhyme-prose on the Fu

To understand what replaced the Han dynasty pictorial celebrations of Virtue, we must turn to the third century and to the events that destroyed the unity of China. Large-scale events of history and small-scale events of men's lives during this period of disunion enable us to discern the conquest of new values and tastes. If we can never fully account for the appearance of new pictorial forms, we must at least be able to suggest why new forms were found pleasing, and to whom.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no extant portraits from the third century, except for those few uninscribed paintings from tombs at Liaoyang, perhaps datable to the Wei dynasty (220–265). Tomb master and spouse, formally seated and formally clothed, look no different from their Han predecessors.[1]


Nor do surviving texts from the third century suggest innovations in either subject matter or function. Cao Zhi, for example, is said to have extolled the moral benefits of looking at pictures of the Sage Kings, virtuous wives, and so forth.[2] The History of the Three Kingdoms and the later works included in its commentary refer to images (xing, xiang ) of Confucian scholars and high-minded officials;[3] He Yan (ca. 190–249) praises the foresight of the emperor Ming (Cao Rui, r. 227–239), who ordered images (xiang ) painted to serve as examples to the ladies of the court. The list is standard and includes such worthies as the mother of Mencius and the Lady Pan. "Morning and evening one must examine [the paintings]."[4] The exemplars are familiar, with one possible exception:

The ninth-century Lidai minghua ji records that Shi Daoshi, who may have flourished toward the end of the third century, painted a picture of the Seven Worthies (of the Bamboo Grove?).[5] If so, this is an innovation, for I cannot imagine, from the biographical and literary material I shall discuss below, that the images in this painting could have looked much like loyal ministers or Confucian scholars. It is a new subject, and in this chapter and those that follow I shall seek to understand why someone might have wanted to paint a picture of the Seven Worthies.

The transfer of power that marked the end of the Han dynasty in A.D. 220 was but the de jure whimper of the bang that some thirty years earlier put a de facto end to centuries of relative unity. The factional struggles of Eastern Han had passed the bounds of containment when, in 189, open warfare broke out between the eunuchs at court and their opponents—a tenuous alliance of local magnates, dissident scholars, and generals. Although no faction could win a decisive victory for decades, the Han empire truly ended in 190 when the general Dong Zhuo sacked the capital of Luoyang and forced his puppet emperor to move to Chang'an.[6]

The devastation and dislocation that flowed from the ensuing warfare are more important to our story than the dry recital of battles won or lost. It was a civil war like all civil wars: the personal and social horrors they beget are universal. The Han world of shared values had collapsed into chaos. It was a time of grief for many—and of opportunity for some.


The Three Kingdoms and Western Jin Periods

By the early third century China was divided into three kingdoms, each controlled by a warlord. Each sought to restore the empire; each thought he could become emperor.

The southwest, the kingdom of Shu-Han, was controlled by Liu Bei from his capital, modern Chengdu. He claimed descent from the first Han emperor and, in his effort to restore the dynasty, successfully lured the famous recluse Zhuge Liang to serve as his minister.[7]

In the southeast the military Sun family, claiming descent from the fifth-century Sun Wu, founded the kingdom of Wu.[8] In 229 the king, Sun Quan, established his capital at Jianye, modern Nanjing.

Finally, the central region, the heartland north of the Yangtze River, was held by Cao Cao (155–220), whose father was the adopted son of a highly placed eunuch. And although the lands he actually controlled may have been fewer than those usually shown on maps, he held something far more important to his ambitions—the last emperor of the Han dynasty.[9] Disclaiming all ambition to the throne, Cao Cao avoided putting the lie to his avowal by dying beforehand. It remained for his son and heir, Cao Pi (187–226), to mount the throne in 220 and establish the Wei dynasty, with its capital at Luoyang.

Amidst continuously shifting borders and alliances, the three kingdoms contended to gain the empire. In 263 Shu fell to Wei. In 265 the Sima clan officially supplanted the Cao rulers of Wei and established the Western Jin dynasty. By 280 the kingdom of Wu had fallen to the Sima, who thus succeeded in uniting the country.

The new empire was short-lived. Weakened by decades of civil war, China was too vulnerable to the nomadic tribes on its northern and western borders. By 316 they had overrun the entire north China plain. Luoyang fell to the Xiongnu in 311, Chang'an in 317. The country was not to be unified again until 581.

With the collapse of the north, remnants of the imperial family, officials, members of the aristocracy, and many of their retainers—indeed, anyone who could flee—fled south and east to establish a new stronghold in the Yangtze Basin. In 318 the king of Langya, Sima Rui, became the emperor Yuan (r. 318–322), the first emperor of the Eastern Jin dynasty, with his capital at Jiankang, formerly Jianye.[10]

The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, our new exemplars, were born in the first half of the third century in the kingdom of Wei. Collectively, their lives spanned almost the entire century, and they, like others of their time and place, were confronted with political and


moral choices that were later to become part of the traditions about them. Their world was very different from the old world of Han, and new social arrangements profoundly affected Art.

The Art of Governing

When the great general Cao Cao became the ruler of the kingdom of Wei, he was, for all that, chief minister to the last emperor of the Han dynasty. He thus ruled in the latter's name, but with an army loyal to his own person. He both served and ruled, that is, because he had the military power to do so. A kingdom, however, is not a military camp. Moreover, the Eastern Han system of civil administration had collapsed, for all practical purposes, long before the final years of the dynasty. For Cao Cao and his successors the first requirement was to restore centralized power.

One way was to systematically develop a strong military class loyal to the ruler. Civil administration, however, was another matter. The old system of selection of civil servants, in total disarray, could not be reimplemented under the new conditions. Important avenues to selection and promotion in Eastern Han had for long been controlled at the local level by landed families, who, aided often by Confucian scholars seeking refuge from persecution by eunuchs at the court, eagerly recommended and promoted each other.[11] To wrest power from this old elite while avoiding its concentration in the hands of the new (those who had backed Cao Cao) required, therefore, a new system of appointment and promotion, one that could ensure loyalty to the central government.

For that Cao Cao required not only new institutions but a new ideology.[12] The old Confucian ethic had failed, and even some Confucians, those who had not tightened into self-righteousness as their world slipped away, perceived that the old order could not be restored.[13] Confucianism could no longer provide the Cao family with the philosophical underpinnings for its new order.[14]

For thoughtful men, therefore, it was a time of intense intellectual search. Old Legalist and Daoist ideas, as well as those of Confucianism, were reexplored and revised.[15] Wang Su (195–256) edited (or forged) an edition of the Kongzi jiayu in which Confucius emerged anew as a mere mortal.[16] Wang Bi (226–249) produced commentaries on the Dao de jing and the Yijing, and Xiang Xiu wrote a commentary on the Zhuangzi, now lost.[17] These were not idle speculations but


serious attempts by intellectuals of the governing class to forge a metaphysic whereby to understand the catastrophes of the recent past and to form a rationale for future action. The metaphysical concept of ziran, self-so-ness or spontaneity, that so occupied the commentators of the Daoist classics was not without political (and social) resonance.[18] Eulogizing the Wei dynasty, for example, He Yan, a favorite of Cao Cao's, urged:

Embody Nature in enacting the forms of government; accord with the seasons in establishing the acts of governance. . . . At a distance, comply with the spontaneity of Yin and Yang; near at hand, base oneself on the true natures of men and things. . . . Abolish offices that have no useful function. . . . Do away with the accumulation of varied custom in the complex rites, and return the people's mentality to the pristine simplicity.[19]

Of course, there must be an enlightened ruler to accord with the seasons and comply with spontaneity (as well as to abolish offices), and the Wei rulers seem to have found in these contemporary interpretations the philosophical basis for their innovations.[20]

According with the season, the Wei instituted a new system of appointing officials at the local level, the jiupin zhongzheng.[21] An attempt to avoid the collusion between powerful local families and native officials that had subverted Han civil administration, the new system was designed to link officials of all grades to the central regime. Examiners (the zhongzheng, the Impartial and the Just), appointed by the central government and dispatched to provinces other than their own, were to rank (in nine grades, jiupin ) and recommend suitable men for appointment to office.[22] Strangers to the districts and commanderies, they would, at least in theory, avoid favoritism and be objective in their recommendations. The system thus carried the seeds of its own destruction. Lacking familiarity with the local populace, examiners were forced to rely on reports from local officials, who were as readily loyal to their own families, or as readily suborned, as in the old days.[23] To accomplish old ends, however, new tactics were required, as we shall see.

On what basis were the Impartial and the Just to grade and recommend? Sweeping away the old, Cao Cao had enunciated it clearly in 210: "I shall promote talent (cai ) only; when I find it, I will use it."[24] No favoritism, then; no concern for wealth or status. Not filial piety, nor uprightness, nor incorruptibility—only talent.[25] But what was that? And how did one identify it? So nebulous a concept was open to ready subversion.[26]


The Art of Knowing Men

Identifying the new criterion was a problem that seems to have occupied many. Of the several works known to have been written on the subject, only one has survived, the Renwu zhi (The Study of Human Abilities), by Liu Shao.[27] Talent (cai ), he averred, is a mental trait that can be observed only through its manifestation in behavior: "The manifestations of firmness, docility, illumination, vitality, purity, and constancy are visible in the form and features, appear in the voice and looks, and issue in the passions and tastes. All are indicated by their symptoms [xiang ]. Observing the manner (rong ) we may judge: "The capacities [neng ] come from the innate abilities. Innate abilities differ in quantity. Therefore, since innate abilities and capacities are different, so their proper employment in government is also different." To assess a man's abilities one should observe him when his feelings are changing:

What is meant by observing a man's feelings at a moment when they are changing, in order to examine his principles?

A man may ordinarily have a thick face [poker face] and deep feelings. If one wishes to understand him, it is necessary to observe the meaning of his words and to examine his replies and the things of which he approves. Observing the meaning of his words is like hearing the beauty or ugliness of the sound. Examining his replies and the things of which he approves is like observing the capacities and deficiencies of his wisdom. Therefore observing his words and examining his replies is sufficient for each to check the other.[28]

Finally, "of all wisdom, there is nothing more valuable than to know men, and those who know men are certainly wise. In this way, all the abilities are put in their proper order, so that merit will prosper." Ability shines in a man's appearance, words, and actions—in short, in his manner, which is to say, in his style. The ability to judge these manifestations of ability is as important as all others.[29]

Note that Liu Shao states that talent is inborn, it cannot be learned. The new philosophy for selection of administrators corresponds with the new metaphysic: "Base oneself on the true natures of men and things," He Yan had advised the ruler. "Whether one is a ruler or a servitor, a superior or an inferior . . . follows from the spontaneity of Natural Principle (t'ien-li chih tzu-jan ). affirmed Guo Xiang (d.312).[30] Ability is biologically determined; one's lot in life flows from the natural order and should therefore be accepted as natural—and inevitable. This is a very different view from Dong Zhongshu's in the Han dynasty. For him, the child Xiang To, with his innate knowledge,


was the exception, the flawless piece of jade. Most of us, although ordinary stones, could, if only we were rubbed and polished enough, achieve brilliance. Now, however, that virtual invitation to social mobility is withdrawn: the have-nots are doomed by nature to remain the have-nots. "It is analogous to the . . . head being naturally on top and the feet occupying naturally the inferior position."[31]

Even though talent is innate, Liu Shao does not discard learning as unnecessary. On the contrary, natural talent can be cultivated; learning, although it can never reverse natural talent, can increase its bias.[32] By its expression, one may judge: "When the substance of the mind is clear and straightforward, the bearing is strong and firm. When it is vigorous and decisive, the bearing is aggressive. When it is rational, the bearing is calm and leisurely."[33] Liu Shao leaves much room for interpretation, but the emphasis is always on a man's behavior (rather than on his physiognomy, for example) as a guide to his innate ability. The system is not, however, one of objective criteria; it is, rather, a proposal for artistic investigation, concerned with the aesthetics of talent and behavior.[34] Both the expression of talent and its interpretation (itself an expression of talent) are art forms.

Although written in retirement, Liu Shao's guide to the perplexed was not ignored.[35] Art and Politics formed a new and enduring alliance that was to affect many of the important social and aesthetic developments of the following centuries.

Let us return to the new system of recommending candidates for office. The examiner is a high official who, every three years, must judge and rank at the local level a group of candidates with whom he is not, in theory, personally acquainted. If he interviews the candidate, the interview will be brief. If he does not himself see the candidate, or even if he does, he must rely on brief written reports from local officials who are personally acquainted with the man.[36] The recommendation submitted to the capital by the Impartial and the Just must itself be brief. Brevity requires of the candidate quick thinking and quick action to make a quick impression. In turn, it requires of the examiner quick judgment and the ability to sum it all up in a quick but telling phrase.[37]

The Art of Conversation

Thus was qingtan, Pure Conversation, born. It did not spring full grown from the womb of the new system of recommendation, of course. Its seeds lay in the Eastern Han phenomenon of qingyi, Pure


Criticism, a form of verbal judgment employed by Confucian scholars to attack their political opponents.[38] A short jingle or a witty metaphor with one's enemy as the butt was easily remembered and easily spread, whether at the village level or in the palace. Using it judiciously, a man could build a reputation—or destroy another's. So effective was the game that almost everyone learned to play—everyone, that is, with the requisite education to grasp the allusions, puns, and metaphors that drove home the message.

Originating in politics, the new art form was commemorated much later, in the fifth century, in a book titled the Shishuo xinyu (A New Account of Tales of the World).[39] By that time qingtan had come to be associated with the fourth-century philosophical debates known as xuan xue, or Mysterious Learning.[40] Its original function, however, and one it was always to retain, was practical. If talent could be expressed in words, then the bon mot or quick retort stamped the candidate as a man of distinction, one destined for advancement and renown. Hearing of his fine reputation, for example, Grand Marshal Wang Yan visited Ruan Xiu and asked him, "'The Laozi and the Zhuangzi on the one hand, and the teaching of the Sage (Confucius) on the other—are they the same or different?' Ruan replied, 'Aren't they the same (jiangwu tong )?'" The ambiguity, and therefore the adroitness, of the response so pleased the grand marshal that he promptly appointed Ruan his aide.[41] Liu Shao's prescription, cited above, had been filled to the letter.

A brief examination of the most salient aspects of this incident reveals much about the period and the new values that came to the fore. If the encounter actually occurred—a matter of far less importance to this discussion than the fact that the fifth-century editors of the Shishuo xinyu believed that it did—then it took place between members of two prominent families of the third century, the Wangs and the Ruans. The grand marshal held the highest of offices. He did not know Ruan Xiu except by reputation, which is to say that someone had recommended him to Wang. The question Wang asked him was by no means frivolous, for it concerned the important philosophical and political battles of the century. The purported exchange occurred toward its end, by which time the issues had, in a general way, sorted themselves into two fundamentally opposed points of view: ziran, associated with the newly revised teachings of Laozi and Zhuangzi, and conformity to the Moral Teaching, ming jiao, associated with Confucian thought. By mid-century the former point of view had come to be identified with the Cao family and their rule, the latter with the


family who supplanted them, the Sima. The grand marshal's question, therefore, hints at important, and dangerous, loyalties and commitments. Ruan Xiu's cleverly evasive response was, for the grand marshal, a clear sign of his talent, the ability to survive politically.

There is more—for the question implies not only innate talent but also learning. To respond successfully, Ruan Xiu must have grasped the philosophical tenets of the two schools of thought: he must, that is, be educated. The disingenuous reply, moreover, relies not only on Ruan Xiu's knowledge of the issues but on a highly educated use of language, in which subtlety and ambiguity are conveyed by the phrasing (jiangwu ).[42] It was not Ruan Xiu's talent that earned him his appointment; it was his cultivated talent, his refinement. Whatever Cao Cao's democratic hopes for talent and its employment in government were, one form that came to be important for its expression, qingtan, was available to very few.

There were other expressions of talent whereby a man could promote his career. In 236, for example, the Wei emperor, Ming, issued a proclamation: "I desire to recruit those who have talent, wisdom, literary distinction . . . those who are pure (qing ) and cultivated (xiu ), refined (mi ) and tranquil (jing ). regardless of age or social standing."[43] Once again we note innovations. Moral virtue, as expressed, for example, by filial piety or respect for elders, can be found in persons of any age or social standing, and perhaps that is what Ming Di meant by his requirement of purity.[44] Wisdom might possibly refer to knowledge of the Classics, to erudition, and thus include the Confucian scholars. Literary distinction, cultivation, refinement, however, are another matter.

We cannot know the precise meaning of the emperor's stated qualifications. Perhaps by pointing to one who we know did not fit his requirements, we may be able to refine our understanding of his meaning. He Yan, for example, was famous for his sharp mind, talent, beauty, and erudition. Yet he was found wanting. The son of a consort of Cao Cao's, raised in the palace and later married to an imperial princess, he was eventually executed for plotting treason against the Sima family.[45] Another source states that he was vain, always carried white powder, and looked back at his shadow when he walked.[46]

He Yan dressed and ornamented himself like a crown prince, leading Emperor Wen (the crown prince Cao Pi) to refer to him as the Phony Prince.[47] We learn, furthermore, that the emperor Ming considered Yan and his friends superficial and showy (fu hua ). Therefore,


he did not employ them.[48] Thus, for all his talent and education, He Yan lacked two crucial qualities the emperor sought in his officials, profundity and refinement. Cao Cao required talent only; his grandson required something more.

The Art of Literature

The Jian'an era (196–219) is a benchmark period in the history of Chinese literature. Poetry flourished, and, although it did not abandon the public functions of much Han poetry, it added to them concerns of a more private nature. In addition, a new interest in formal issues emerged. Cao Cao himself wrote poetry, as did his sons, Cao Zhi (192–232) and Cao Pi (187–226), the first Wei emperor.

In a letter dated 217–218 Cao Pi remarks that "there are only two ways of attaining immortality: the better way is to establish one's virtue and become famous; the next best method is to write books."[49] Something old, virtue as the road to fame, is here joined to something new. The Cao brothers also essayed literary criticism, in which various writers were compared, which is to say that they were judged and ranked, not in terms of erudition, but in terms of style, rather as if they were candidates for office. It was the first systematic emphasis on the creative in literature, and in a famous passage Cao Pi stressed the innate character of a writer's creativity (qi ), as Liu Shao was later to do for all abilities:

In literature, the main thing is ch'i [qi ]. The purity (or lightness, ch'ing [qing ]) or impurity (or heaviness, cho [zhuo ]) of this ch'i has substance, and cannot be achieved by strenuous efforts. To draw an analogy with music: though the tune may be the same and the rhythm regulated the same way, when it comes to the drawing of breath (ch'i ), which will be different (from person to person), or the skillfulness or clumsiness, which depends on natural endowment, even a father cannot pass it on to his son, or an older brother to a younger brother.[50]

In addition to a new valuation for literature, Cao Pi presented a new ambience, especially for poetry. Lamenting friends who had died during a recent epidemic, the crown prince reminisced in a letter to a friend:

We would ride out in our chariots one after the other, and sit together with our mats touching [defying protocol]: not for an instant could we be separated! We would fill our wine cups and pass them to one another and then, when the strings and winds played together and our ears were hot from the


wine, we would raise our heads and chant poetry. How unconscious we were then, not knowing our own happiness![51]

Perhaps the reader will give his fantasy free reign and conjure a picture or two, or three, or eight—for here, in the first half of the third century, we find the tentative beginnings of a new stereotype.

This experience, so yearned for by Cao Pi, can have nothing to do with literary celebrations of dynasties, with splendors of capitals. There is no hint of lament or of quest for the transcendental to strike a serious note. Riding out to some wooded or rural setting, sitting on the ground informally, drinking wine, making music: these are moments of friendship, of leisure. In this passage, literature takes on very special associations and a new, private and personal, function.

The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and One Other

I turn now to the lives of the men whose portraits were of such significance to someone, much later, in the southern capital of Jiankang. Their collective lives were to be paradigmatic for the conflicts of the third century.[52] As future paradigms, their lives and literary remains will enable us to tease out yet other values that became prominent in this century. The individuals are the nodes, as it were, on which important ideas converge and from which new ideas will radiate.

There are two issues: fact and tradition. If we wish to know what fourth- and fifth-century portraits meant to those who commissioned or saw them, then the facts of their subjects' lives are irrelevant. What matters are the traditions that later developed and are known to have been in circulation at the time and in the place where the portraits were made. What the patrons and audience of the fourth and fifth centuries believed to be true, that is, is more important to the purpose than historical truth. Yet the roots of fact must be considered, for they will help to trace the branches of tradition that grew from them and that eventually interlaced into stereotype.

I shall treat with traditions in their appropriate places; here I shall be concerned only with what may reasonably be accepted as fact.[53] The sources for these facts are, above all, the literary remains of the Worthies, as well as two slender passages in Chen Shou's History of the


Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi ). In addition, there remain fragments from several now-lost works of the very late third and early fourth centuries.[54]

Xi Kang (figs. 15 and 16) wrote both poetry and philosophical essays, and many of his works have come down to us.[55] The historian Chen Shou praises his writing and goes on to say that he liked to discuss the works of Laozi and Zhuangzi. Chen adds that Xi Kang was interested in the occult. In his final remark, Chen says merely, and cautiously, that Xi Kang became involved in "an affair" and was executed in the Jingyuan era (260–263).[56] Elsewhere, the historian remarks that the execution of Xi Kang and others was plotted by Zhong Hui (225–264), then in a position of power.[57]

Some years later, Xiang Xiu wrote that he, Xiu, had been a close friend of Xi Kang's and Lü An's, both men of great talent, who died because of "an affair." Kang, he says, excelled in all the arts, especially music. Poignantly, Xiang Xiu recalls Xi Kang's final moments when, turning his head to see his shadow (and thus knowing his mortality), he drew close his qin and played a tune.[58]

Neither of these near-contemporary sources alludes to the cause of Xi Kang's execution, and it may have been politically unwise to do so. For by the time of his death, the Wei emperor was but a puppet of the general and minister Sima Zhao, whom the partisans of the Cao family, in spite of years of struggle, had been unable to overthrow. Later texts, cited by Pei Songzhi (372–451) in his commentary to Chen Shou's history, state that Xi Kang was married to a great-granddaughter of Cao Cao's.[59] As a member of the royal family, he was likely to have opposed the Sima faction (supported by the old, landed families whose power was threatened by the political innovations of the Cao). There is thus reason to suspect that political considerations played a part in Xi Kang's death, and he may well have been involved in one or more of the Cao supporters' plots. The Sima's de jure accession to power in 265 undoubtedly made it unwise for survivors to discuss "the affair" in detail.

An important letter from Xi Kang to Shan Tao attests to their friendship.[60] It also tells us something about the political system and the clubby way it worked. It states, for example, that Tao had recommended his friend to his (Shan Tao's) uncle, the prefect of Yingquan. Moreover, the writer had learned from mutual friends that Shan Tao, upon receiving a promotion, had recommended Xi Kang to the authorities as his successor in office. "Nothing came of it, but your proposal made it obvious you really did not understand me at all."[61]


Xi Kang then proceeds to enlighten his friend by explaining his character and its unsuitability for a holder of office.

It is not my purpose to offer yet another interpretation of this famous letter breaking off with his friend. Subterfuge, security for himself or his friend, unsullied principles—these are not the issues here. Of concern, rather, are the ideas he uses, whatever his intent. Like his poetry and essays, the letter is filled with ambiguities. In all his writings, however, similar ideas are expressed, and I shall use the letter to Shan Tao to exemplify a few of these.

He speaks of himself as lazy and arrogant, spoiled young, one who never studied the Classics.[62] "I was already wayward and lazy by nature, so that my muscles became weak and my flesh flabby."[63] He neglected washing and other bodily functions. Moreover, "my disposition became arrogant and careless, my bluntness diametrically opposed to etiquette." Worse, "I am always . . . running down the Duke of Chou and Confucius. If I did not stop this in society, it is clear that the religion of the times would not put up with me."[64] If the portrait is true, one wonders what could have led Shan Tao to recommend him for office.

The letter makes it clear that Xi Kang had earlier retired from official life. He gives many reasons for wishing to remain so. First, he says that he now believes that there are people "resolutely above the world. One can be so constituted that there are things one cannot endure; honest endorsement cannot be forced."[65] He implies that his retirement is based on abjurement of a regime he cannot condone, and he sounds little different from the Four Graybeards of Mount Shang. He adds other reasons, however.

Because Laozi and Zhuangzhou are his teachers, his taste for independence (fang ) has increased: "Any desire for fame or success [has grown] daily weaker, and my commitment to freedom increasingly firmer." He likes to sleep late, for one thing; for another, he could not bear to dress up in formal robes and bow to his superiors, if only because he is infested with lice and scratches all the time. Moreover, he likes to wander among hills and streams, "to walk, singing, with . . . lute [qin ] in . . . arms, or go fowling or fishing in the woods." To his desire for freedom and leisure he adds yet another reason for retirement: "Of late I have been studying the techniques of prolonging one's life, casting out all ideas of fame and glory, eliminating tastes, and letting my mind wander in stillness: what is most worthwhile to me is Inaction."[66]

It has been suggested that there were four basic motives for eremit-


ism in the Han dynasty: There were the motives of those who, going off to the mountains, simply shunned society altogether; of those who dabbled in the occult, to achieve immortality or to prolong life; of those who wished to live inconspicuously but who did not abandon society; and of those who hoped to transform society by setting an example for "conspicuously virtuous conduct."[67] In his letter to Shan Tao, Xi Kang offers all these reasons, to which he adds a new purpose, leisure—not merely leisure to sleep late or scratch his fleas, of course. As his letter reaches its close, he tells his friend, who has recently been promoted:

Today I only wish to stay on in this out-of-the-way lane and bring up my children and grandchildren, on occasion relaxing and reminiscing with old friends—a cup of unstrained wine, a song to the lute [qin ]: this is the sum of my desires and ambitions.[68]

Friends, wine, music: these are the new dimensions of leisure that Cao Pi so missed. Here, in Xi Kang's letter, they mingle with old activities to form a new role, the cultivated recluse.

Music is mentioned by both Cao Pi and Xi Kang, but where the crown prince uses only the generic term, Xi Kang refers specifically to the qin. Although often translated as "lute," it is in fact a zither. Difficult to play, requiring considerable technical skill, it is no ordinary instrument, and it occupies a rather special role in Chinese culture.

By early Han the qin was already viewed as a "civilized and civilizing instrument of special importance."[69] By the fourth century it had become "the nucleus of a Way, . . . as such, it was the symbol of the aesthete, relating to his need for self-cultivation, to his need for communion with friends and with nature, and ultimately to his potential for triumph over the limitations of ordinary men."[70] I move ahead of my story with this quotation only to make the point that Xi Kang was instrumental in the development of this aesthetic. His essay on the qin, although written to the formula of the period, is considered the most beautiful—and still the most influential—on the subject. He devotes much space to the actual construction of the instrument, the proper woods, where to find them, and so forth.[71] Music and technique are discussed, as are the proper times and places for playing the qin. Once again the notes of private enjoyment and leisure are struck:

Clad in the elegant garb proper to [the] season, together with some good friends one sets out for a pleasant excursion. They wander through fragrant gardens, climb hills, rest under old trees or sit under gaily decorated sunshades. They walk along clear streams, composing new poems. They


admire the leisurely movements of water creatures, and enjoy the verdure.[72]

The qin, however, is not for everyone, nor for just any group of friends:

Truly, those who are not free and detached cannot find pleasure in it; those who are not profound and serene cannot rest quiet in it; those who are not liberated cannot abandon themselves to it; those who are not of the utmost refinement will be unable to discern its principles.[73]

Detached and liberated, profound and serene, refined—such is the superior man. And only to him is true understanding of the qin possible.[74] Thus, developing Cao Pi's depiction of leisure, Xi Kang adds to it requirements that limit the activity to a special few. To pursue that which is newly valued—the private sphere of a man's life—requires precisely what was newly required in the public sphere, as exemplified by qingtan—namely, profundity and refinement. These are the very qualities sought by Emperor Ming in his call for worthy officials.

Other activities of the men who moved in the highest circles may have played a part in the new emphasis on leisure and the private life. The Shishuo xinyu includes an anecdote in which He Yan remarks that whenever he takes a five-mineral powder (wushi san ), "not only does it heal any illness I may have, but I am also aware of my spirit and intelligence becoming receptive and lucid."[75] Citing a fifth-century work, the commentary states that this drug, known also as cold-food powder (hanshi san ), was made popular by He Yan, who "first discovered its divine properties. . . . From his time on it enjoyed a wide currency in the world, and those who used it sought each other out."[76]

This temporary restorer of vitality had an important influence on fashions of the day. To ensure efficacy and avoid negative effects, the user had to consume heated wine and to exercise after taking it. The resulting fever required the wearing of thin, loose clothing. Skin lesions, among the many negative consequences of this drug (which may have contained arsenic), also dictated the necessity for loose clothing.[77] For the same reason, close-fitting shoes or slippers that exacerbated the lesions could not be worn, and they were replaced by clogs.

It is obvious that the use of five-mineral powder required a specific regimen, one clearly not appropriate for attendance at court. Strolling


in clogs and drinking wine, the wide robe loosely belted—some men dressed and behaved this way because they took the powder. Others of their class, eschewing the powder, nevertheless adopted the lifestyle. It became, in short, the fashion.[78]

There is no evidence that Xi Kang was a devotée of the five-mineral powder. The required style of clothing, moreover, differs from his "elegant garb proper to the season." Yet, drug taking provided another dimension of that leisure which some found compelling in the third century; eventually it became part of the new aesthetic.

Many of the ideas expressed in Xi Kang's literary works were not original; they circulated in the intellectual dialogues of his time. In his poetry one finds many of the same conceits found in other works of the period, the most notable, perhaps, being the poetry of the Cao family. What seems to be original is the degree of subjectivity of his poetry.[79] It is clear from a reading of the poetry of the period that "self-expression" has become a new theme in Chinese literature and that Xi Kang is one of its most important exponents.[80] "If the heart is tranquil and the hands able," he writes, then "the touch of the fingers will respond to the thoughts, and the [qin ] player will be able to express himself in his music."[81]

As for the substantive issues, Xi Kang's ideas are ambiguous and do not readily mark him as an adherent either of philosophical Daoism or of philosophical Confucianism.[82] On the contrary, they suggest an attempt by Xi Kang to harmonize the two schools of thought. Far easier to achieve in literature than in life, it was a harmony that sanctioned, even imposed, both service and retirement.

The biography of Ruan Ji (figs. 17 and 18) in Chen Shou's admirable history is as brief as Xi Kang's.[83] He was a son of Ruan Yu (d. 212), who was secretary to Cao Cao and a member of the famous literary group, the Seven Masters of the Jian'an period.[84] Like his father, Ruan Ji was a poet, and his literary works, the historian adds, were exceedingly beautiful. He was, however, unrestrained and reckless. A man of few desires, he took Zhuangzi as his model. His title of office, infantry colonel (bubing xiaowei ), is the final phrase of the biography.

There is little else by way of information. We know, however, that he was acquainted with Xi Kang, for in the famous letter to Shan Tao, Kang refers to him:

Juan Chi [Ruan Ji] is not one to talk about other people's faults, and I have tried to model myself after him, but in vain. He is a man of finer character than most, one who never injured another. Only in drinking does he go to


excess. But even so the proper and correct gentlemen . . . hate him as a mortal enemy, and it is only thanks to the protection of Generalissimo Ssu-ma Chao [Sima Zhao] that he survives.[85]

Ruan Ji drinks and is hated by the Confucians. His official rank was not very high (fourth grade); yet he was known to, and protected by, the de facto ruler.[86] It is an interesting point, for it suggests that official rank and social status were not necessarily equivalent. Moreover, the Sima, as we know, upheld the Confucian position, yet protected Ruan Ji from their allies. Whatever his convictions, he must have been an important man in his day.

In addition to Xi Kang's testimony, a lengthy letter from one Fu Yi, otherwise unknown, to Ruan Ji is published by Yan Kejun.[87] Donald Holzman also accepts it as authentic and summarizes its ideas. Fu Yi's commitments are orthodox: "The only way we can rejoice in our integrity and develop our nature is to be moved by the desire for glory and fame."[88] One therefore follows the way of the Confucian sages. Yet Fu Yi can also understand and appreciate the way of the Daoist sages, who turned their backs on a parlous world. He is exasperated with Ruan Ji, however, whom he cannot classify. He hears, on the one hand, that Ji roars and sobs, ignoring all others; on the other hand, that he is refined and studious[89] —he pleads with Ruan Ji, in effect, to make up his mind (preferably in the right direction).

Fu Yi bases his assessment, not on Ruan Ji's literary works, but rather on the conflicting stories he has heard about him. Ji's oeuvre, however, is just as ambiguous. We cannot, that is, classify him according to the philosophical conflicts of the time. He seems to have declined Fu Yi's plea, and the only clear point in his reply is that he considers Yi too stupid to understand him. As for the poetry, in one poem he turns his back on the world; in another he seeks to transcend it; in yet another he accepts orthodoxy, fame, and glory.[90] Perhaps the ambiguities are evidence of his own uncertainty. Or perhaps, as Donald Holzman has movingly argued, he was an anguished man, a satirist who masked his grief with foolery and ambiguity.[91] If it is difficult to discern in the evidence the basis for later stereotypes, we should nevertheless recognize how readily this protean material could be co-opted for later purposes, as we shall see. His refusal to choose, so exasperating to Fu Yi, marks him as a man ahead of his time, for, as we have observed, the same refusal, at a later date, earned his kinsman an official appointment.

If Ruan Ji leaves us in doubt about the correct interpretation of his


poems, there can be little doubt about the originality of the generic title he gave them: "Poems That Sing of My Innermost Thoughts" (Yonghuai shi ).[92] Like the works of Xi Kang, the suggestion of self-expression is the truly innovative aspect of his oeuvre.

The remaining Worthies survived into the Western Jin period, and their biographies were not included by Chen Shou in his history. We first hear of them in texts of the fourth century, to which I shall turn in the next chapter. Some of their own writings, however, have survived.

We have met with Xiang Xiu (figs. 23 and 24) as a friend of Xi Kang's. Later sources report that he wrote a commentary to the Zhuangzi (now lost); in the fourth century it was widely believed that the later commentary by Guo Xiang (d. 312), still extant, drew heavily on Xiang Xiu's ideas.[93] In addition to his memoir of his friend, there exists a refutation of Xi Kang's essay on Nourishing Life, as well as Xi Kang's response to the refutation.[94]

In his essay Xi Kang argues that life can be prolonged by following a specific regimen—namely, the abstention from meat, grains, and wine while cultivating tranquillity and the lessening of desires. "He cultivates his nature to protect his spirit and calms his mind to keep his body intact. Love and hate do not dwell in his feelings; anguish and delight do not stay in his thoughts. Quiet is he and unmoved, his body and breath harmonious and still."[95]

Rubbish, replied Xiang Xiu. The sages, such as the Duke of Zhou and Confucius, "who 'thoroughly understood the principles and exhausted their natures,'" did not live especially long—certainly not because they neglected Xi Kang's principles, but because "the appointment given by Heaven has a limit; it simply is not something things can increase." His friend is mistaken in his endeavors and will accomplish little. "Thus, to look at your shadow and sit like a corpse with rocks and trees as your neighbors is [like] imprisoning yourself while having no crime. . . . To nourish life in this way—I have never heard it was fitting."[96]

There is no record of Liu Ling's life, family, or official rank (figs. 25 and 26). His dates are unknown, and only one work by him has come down to us, his Ode to the Virtues of Wine. It celebrates that elixir and nothing but:

At rest he grabbed a goblet or a cup,
And moving, always carried jug or pot.
For wine, and wine alone, was all his lot.
How should he know about the rest?[97]


To all entreaties, whether from those at court or scholars in retirement, the singer responded by merely draining his cup, after which he "shook out his beard and sat, legs sprawled apart / Pillowed on barm and cushioned on the dregs."[98] Free of all desires (except, presumably, for wine), "lighthearted and carefree," he has turned his back on the world and found his Way.

Of Shan Tao (figs. 19 and 20) we know only from the letter above that he was a friend of Xi Kang's and that he served in office under the Sima rule, as did an uncle.[99] In his fourth-century Jin shu, Yu Yu says that Shan Tao, during the Western Jin period, held successively the offices of president of the Board of Civil Office, vice-president of the Imperial Secretariat, junior tutor to the crown prince, and director of instruction—the latter one of the three highest offices in the land (san gong ).[100] He was, in short, extremely powerful and did not turn his back on the world. He seems to have been famous for his recommendations to office.

There are no literary remains by Ruan Xian (figs. 27 and 28) or Wang Rong (figs. 21 and 22), nor are any said to have existed. The fourth-century Mingshi zhuan says that Xian was the son of Ji's older brother, and that he held office as junior chamberlain (sanji shilang ).[101] Another early text speaks of his musicianship.[102] Yet another says that Wang Rong came from Langya (in Shandong province) and that he eventually held (like Shan Tao) the post of director of instruction.[103]

No extant text from the third century mentions the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove. We do hear, however, of the eighth figure in the Nanjing mural, Rong Qiqi (figs. 29 and 30). Dwelling afar on Mount Tai, wearing a deerskin gown belted with a rope, playing a zither and singing, he is visited by Confucius. The Sage is puzzled and asks him why he is so happy. For so many things, he replies:

Heaven created the myriad things to be obedient to humans—it is my good fortune to be human. . . . Among humans, men are superior to women—it is my good fortune to be a man. . . . As for long life, I've already lived ninety years. . . . Poverty is common among men and death the end for all. Living like most and awaiting my end—why shouldn't I be happy?[104]

Xi Kang offered many reasons for his desire to withdraw from the world, including righteousness. Summoned from retirement by Liu Bei, the famous Zhuge Liang, by his authority as an exemplary recluse, legitimized Liu's claims to the throne by responding to the call. Rong Qiqi, however, suggests no such virtuous conduct. Happy with


his lot, sharing Xiang Xiu's fatalism, his reclusiveness exemplifies the concept of ziran, a concept sufficiently flexible, as we see, to serve as rationale in both public and private life.

The same story told by Huangfu Mi is found in Taiping yulan, where it is attributed to a now-lost work by Xi Kang, the Shengxian gaoshi zhuan zan.[105] Xi Kang also refers to Rong in his essay on the qin: "Here [on the lofty ridges of steep mountains] it is that wise men fleeing the world, worthy companions of a [Rong Qiqi] . . . , together ascend high mountain arches and cross deep-cut vales. . . . Then they realize the constraining shackles of worldly life."[106]

The story of Rong Qiqi as an exemplar of a natural and spontaneous way of life seems to have been well known at the time. In a poem to his good friend Xi Kang, Ruan Kan, best known for his disagreement with the former on the efficacy of geomancy, refers to one Rongzi, without doubt the happy recluse under discussion.[107] Ruan Kan's disagreements with Xi Kang are often couched in traditional Confucian terms, but in the poem he approves of Rong's fatalism, and indeed, with hindsight, it reads as almost a warning to his friend. Tranquillity, he stresses, is the foundation of the Way—Laozi hated violence and Rongzi knew what brought peace.

Thus, there appears to have been no ambiguity about Rong Qiqi and the ideas he represented. He was, after all, a fictional character, presumably created, or later adorned, to represent a position. Our other Worthies, on the contrary, were human beings, as complex, perhaps as confused, as mortals tend to be. If, therefore, we find in the bare facts of their lives and in their writings ambiguities, even contradictions, we may conclude, and with reason, that we are encountering them as they may once have been—not as the stereotypes they were to become.

There is no evidence that they all knew each other, although their own prominence, or that of their families, makes it likely that they did (Liu Ling, about whom we know nothing, is excluded from the discussion). Sun Sheng (ca. 302–373), however, writing long after the events could have taken place, states that the seven men were good friends and used to gather in a bamboo grove at (or near) Xi Kang's home in Henei, north of the capital. They were called, he says, the Seven Worthies.[108] The fifth-century commentator to Shishuo xinyu reports that Yuan Hong's Eminent Gentlemen (Mingshi zhuan ) had three divisions: famous gentlemen of the Zhengshi era, of the Central Court, and of the Bamboo Grove. The seven men were named in this last section.[109]


It is only much later, however, that wealth of detail creates a sense of historical reality. Li Daoyuan (d. 527), citing earlier works, presents the specifics: In Shanyang prefecture, a few kilometers from White Deer Mountain, to the southeast, where Xi Kang had his home (and where, at that time, there was a grove of bamboo), summer and winter, without fail, Xi Kang, Ruan Ji, Shan Tao, Xiang Xiu, Ruan Xian, Liu Ling, and Wang Rong gathered; men of the time called them The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove.[110] Natal lands and official titles are supplied for all the men.

Perhaps it was so.[111] What we may accept as really so is that at least some of the men did indeed know each other, were present at the capital, and moved in court circles. Through marriage, friendship, or political appointment, they were highly placed, members of the governing elite. Some—Xi Kang, Ruan Ji, and Xiang Xiu—were intellectuals who addressed themselves to prevalent philosophical issues. Two, Xi Kang and Ruan Ji, were famous for their literary ability, and the former was also devoted to that most difficult of musical instruments, the qin. One, Xi Kang, appears to have dabbled in well-known techniques for prolonging life or attaining immortality, which his friend Xiang Xiu considered futile.

They differed not only in their philosophical stances but clearly also in their political and social choices. Xi Kang desired to retire from the world, for a variety of reasons, but not to isolate himself. Liu Ling, if we accept his words at face value, turned his back on everything but the fruit of the vine. Shan Tao and Wang Rong remained firmly and well positioned in the world. I can discern no single position, commitment, or role from this array. On the contrary, the differences among them seem to outweigh the similarities.

It is possible, however, to see some of the new values at work as others begin to assess them. Chen Shou, for example, mentions the literary talent of Xi Kang and Ruan Ji. He praises, however, not their erudition (that hallmark of the Confucian scholar), but the form and style of their works, which are elegant and beautiful. He judges them, that is, by the new standards manifested in Cao Pi's private reminiscences and criticism and later in the emperor Ming's public call for officials. This is the reverse of the Han situation, in which the scholars first promulgated, and the ruler later accepted, the values of Confucian orthodoxy. These new criteria emanate from the highest circle, the imperial family, not from loyal ministers or virtuous scholars.

Once generated in court circles, the new values are adopted by others, such as Chen Shou in his assessment of the works of Xi Kang


and Ruan Ji. Others, moreover, adapt and refine them, applying them to new situations or experiences. Xi Kang, for example, yearns for the same leisurely ambience as did the crown prince. He elevates it, however, to a new status, one appropriate only to those who are refined, detached, and serene.

Here then, associated with Xi Kang and Ruan Ji, is the new cluster of talent, literature, and refinement: wrapped in a new life-style and tied with a new aesthetic. If the other five Worthies do not as yet fit into the new picture, perhaps men of a later period will arrange that.

If Shi Daoshi did paint a picture of the Seven Worthies in the third century, then it seems reasonable to suggest that the painter may have thought of his subjects rather less as virtuous and rather more as refined. What constituted refined behavior, however, remains at this point somewhat shapeless, its components dangling like loose threads. As I at last face south, toward the new capital, I shall try to weave the threads together.

Crossing the River

In the closing years of the third century, nature's wrath—droughts, floods, famine, and epidemics—and man's rage—wars of succession, banditry, and tribal incursions—became insupportable. A sizable portion of an already decimated population fled the north of China to safety in the south.[112] Perhaps as many as one million people sought refuge in a sparsely populated region of lush, largely uncultivated lands and networks of waterways.[113] In time, the émigrés prospered as vast tracts were opened for development, trade and commerce flourished, and shipbuilding and seaports assumed a new importance.[114]

It was undoubtedly the expanding economy that enabled the new dynasty to survive for a full century, amidst a host of contending forces: northern émigrés and southern aristocrats competing with each other and among themselves for lands, privileges, and power; nominal rulers vainly scheming to play off contenders and wrest control; peasants fired by ecstatic visions and crushing taxes to futile revolts. At the apex, successive Sima puppets occupied the throne (except for a brief interlude in 402–404 when Huan Xuan usurped it) until 420, when the general Liu Yu officially supplanted the emperor Gong to found the Song dynasty. That dynasty, in its turn, fell to another


general, Xiao Daocheng, who, in 479, established the Southern Qi dynasty.

Eastern Jin rule was for all practical purposes a rule by oligarchy, in which a few chief ministers, supported by their own and allied clans, fought each other to hold actual power while serving their respective puppet-emperors. In never-ending rivalry, the clans maneuvered to outwit their opponents and attain political power, perhaps even the throne itself.

The Nanjing tomb, with its mural of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, was unquestionably constructed for one who himself, or whose family, belonged to one of the many factions that bubbled at the court in Jiankang. In the chapter that follows we shall see that memories of the Seven Worthies played a role in the political intrigues of this "world of emperors and princes, courtiers, officials, generals, genteel hermits, and urbane monks."[115]

The Eastern Jin period is often referred to as the period of the Great Families. To understand who they were, how they achieved political power, and how they retained it, we must turn back to the third century.

The wars that ended the Han dynasty impoverished the country.[116] An ever-increasing burden of taxation forced many small landholders to abandon ownership and seek refuge as tenant-serfs on the estates of those more fortunate than them. Others—such as those deprived of home and livelihood by war, scholars out of office—joined them to swell the populations of these manorial estates, which thus became important foci of economic and military power.[117] Their owners were a potential support for and constant threat to any centralized government.[118]

Efforts to contain the growing power of these landed families were futile. Any generalissimo (Cao Cao, for example, or Sun Quan, king of Wu) who won the day had to reward his supporters with ennoblement, enfeoffment, or official appointment, which is to say, with more lands (including the tenants thereon). Tax rolls were never accurate, of course; distortion, by time-honored and universal means, was always in favor of the estate. Above all, the landed families' access to the system of public administration sealed their power.[119]

An individual did not need to hold public office to gain economic power; to retain it, however, was another matter. Wealth accruing from whatever source was most frequently invested in land, the productivity of which was best safeguarded by the holding of office. One who held office, for example, was, with his family and those to whom


he had given his patronage, exempt from certain taxes.[120] Moreover, one's official rank determined the number of dependents he was entitled to lodge on his estates, as well as the size of his land allotment. In addition, commercial opportunities not possible for private individuals were available to those who served in a public capacity, as part of the state apparatus. Thus, it was not wealth per se, nor the mere possession of vast estates, that made a family politically and socially powerful.[121] Private opportunism joined with the old Confucian tradition of public service to reinforce the importance, even the necessity of holding office. One owed it to one's family.

Whatever the selection system for appointment, those with landed power prevailed. At the state level they held the most powerful administrative posts; at the local level they knew the right people and how to impress them with their "talent." Indeed, they were the right people (the grand marshal Wang Yan, whom Ruan Ji's nephew so impressed, was a member of the powerful Langya Wang clan from modern Shandong). So effective were they that, under the Western Jin dynasty, the families with power bases at the local level succeeded in converting some posts to hereditary appointments.[122]

Having abandoned their lands and their official posts, the northern families might be thought to have lost all, to have become pitiful refugees, like thousands of others who swarmed across the great river. Their arrival, moreover, was greeted with something less than compassion and hospitality by the old southern families, their counterparts who had migrated to northern Anhui and the coastal region during the Han dynasty. They had prospered, and when that great dynasty fell, to ensure peace in the region, retain their landholdings, and even extend them, they joined forces with the Sun warlords. Families like the Gu, the Lu, the Zhu, and the Zhang had done well in the kingdom of Wu, serving as chief ministers and marrying into the royal family.[123] They saw the northern incursion as a threat to their status and power and resented it. Refusing to accept them as their equals, the southern swells considered the northern swells vulgar and called them worse.[124]

But the pitiful refugees were to outnumber and outmaneuver the southern aristocrats. Skillful leadership, headed by another Langya Wang, Dao (276–339), succeeded in winning allegiance to a new emperor.[125] To that end, he wooed southern families with honors and appointments at court while acceding to the demands of the northern families for the restoration of their old privileges, as well as for lands to replace those they had lost.[126] With the need to establish quickly an


administrative apparatus for governing, almost any educated man could gain appointment as an official.[127] High-level positions, however, at least at the beginning, were awarded to those whose families had held them in the north and who claimed their continued right to them as the price of allegiance.

It is not surprising that in these chaotic times the establishing of claims to hereditary privileges and status assumed such importance. If one's ancestry entitled one to official rank, to land allotments, to tax exemptions, then proof of that ancestry was necessary. Registers of geographical origins (tu duan ) and genealogies were compiled and became increasingly important over the centuries.[128] The world was divided into those who, by virtue of education and ancestry, were entitled to govern (the shi ) and those whom they governed (the shu ).[129] The members of the shi class, however, were by no means a homogeneous group. Linked by a tradition of education, they were divided by differential wealth, access to high office, and social status.[130] A family that for several generations failed to produce high-ranking officials (regardless of the reasons for this) obviously lost benefits determined by rank, leaving their scions to rely on their talents or to sink further into oblivion. Political adroitness, such as Ruan Xiu had manifested in his interview with the grand marshal, could win a patron; military prowess, as the founder of the Liu-Song dynasty was to demonstrate, was another avenue to success.

It was, therefore, most certainly not a closed system, and talent could take one far. Still, in a social class where impeccable ancestry could be used to divide the ins (the Great Families: haozu, guizu, menfa ) from the outs (the Families of the Cold Gate: hanmen ). a solid genealogy was a comfort, and more. If it did not of itself always bring wealth or high appointment, it could give social standing and access to powerful people. In this new land to which the northerners had come, their records destroyed and their families scattered, it was not uncommon to forge a genealogy or to insist on a dubious ancestry. In the fourth century, for example, the Huans, who rose to prominence through military talent, claimed descent from a Han official. When, however, Huan Xuan briefly usurped the throne in 402, he was unable to fill the imperial ancestral temple with the seven required manes, because the names and ranks of ancestors prior to his great-grandfather were "not illustrious."[131] In a poem to his sons, Tao Yuanming traced a distinguished ancestry as far back as the legendary emperors. In reality there is little of certainty about the Tao family prior to Yuanming's great-grandfather.[132]


For the governing elite life in the south was more than a daily jostle for power and status. On their vast country estates the wealthy delighted in the idyllic existence afforded by a mild climate and gentle landscape. With their like-minded friends, they strolled and drank wine and composed poems. In this leisurely setting, the philosophical debates known as xuan xue became even livelier as a new philosophy and religion, Buddhism, was added to the yeast of arguments about Lao-Zhuang and the Yijing. A man's wit and learning were as prized in these discussions as was the substance of his argument, and indeed the way in which something was said was often far more admired than what was said. In the same manner, the way in which a poem was written down, the calligraphy, could be valued as highly as the poem. It might be remarked that the process—the way in which something was made, the style of the argument, the style of the calligraphy, the style of the poem—took on a new valuation.

Nor was painting neglected by the elite. The emperor Ming, albeit sketchy with regard to form and coloring, was nevertheless "rather successful in getting the spirit."[133] Gu Kaizhi was greatly admired for his paintings, and private collectors sought them.[134] It is in this period of Eastern Jin that we first hear of private art collections. One of the first recorded collectors of paintings and calligraphy, for example, was the nouvel arrivé and usurper of the throne Huan Xuan.[135]

Thus the arts, in several media, flourished at this period. The new aesthetic begins to take a firmer shape and to impose itself, not merely on the production of art, but on the lives of men. From that realliance of Art and Politics forged by the upheavals of the third century and tempered by the realpolitik of the fourth will emerge a new ideal-type, an exemplar liberated but refined: the cultivated gentleman.


Contemplating the Ancients

Yu Yuanzhi once asked his uncle, Wenkang, about [the meetings in the Bamboo Grove]. The latter replied, "I never heard of it while I was [in the north]. If this story has suddenly showed up here, some raconteur just made it up, that's all."
Zhulin qixian lun

Humiliated by defeat, transplanted to a strange land, the northern émigrés yearned (at least in public) for the Heartland. It is not surprising that, as they struggled for a foothold in their precarious new world, stories about "home" began to circulate—to be embellished and written down, often merely to amuse, but just as often to instruct. The stereotype of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove took form in this, the fourth century, far from the site of their alleged revels and colored as much by the political realities of Eastern Jin as by the misted landscapes of the south.[1]

By the end of that century and the first half of the fifth, the Seven Worthies, as a group and as individuals, were celebrated in literature, history, and painting.[2] Poets alluded in their own works to poems written by Xi Kang and Ruan Ji; statesmen quoted from their literary


works; emperors and courtiers created paintings illustrating their poems. Anecdotes about their purported exploits proliferated; it is said that their portraits (xiang ) were painted.[3] Finally, the men of Eastern Jin and later often compared their contemporaries to the Seven Worthies. They were, in short, famous. And more: they had become models, deemed worthy of emulation by at least some men of the new world—for the benefit of society and for the benefit of oneself and one's family.

The task is manifold: First, to determine from the wealth of extant documents the traditions about the Seven Worthies (as well as Rong Qiqi) that were known to the elite of the fourth and fifth centuries.[4] Comparing these traditions with the Nanjing mural, I shall attempt to place the mural within one of these traditions. For its full significance, however, we must then turn our attention to those who admired that tradition, to those who might have wanted to rest eternally with the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.

Traces of Fame

Although New Tales of the World states that the Seven Worthies gathered in a bamboo grove, "letting their fancy free in merry revelry," there are no specific accounts of these revels.[5] In one anecdote Wang Rong says that long ago he frequented a wine shop with Xi Kang and Ruan Ji, and "in the outings in the Bamboo Grove I also took a humble part."[6] He offers no details, however. The specifics, rather, appear in stories about individual members of the group: Ruan Ji, hearing that the commissary stored several hundred hu of wine, requested appointment as the commandant; Liu Ling was always accompanied by a man with a spade, who was ordered to dig his grave wherever he happened to drop; Wang Rong was so parsimonious that he gave his nephew only an unlined gown as a wedding gift and later billed him for it.[7]

It is clear, however, that by the fifth century traditions for the Seven Worthies as a group were well established. Although commentators drew on the same anecdotes and literary works, they interpreted them in varying ways that fall roughly into two opposing categories.[8] The first characterized them as a raunchy, immoral crew, carousing and defying all propriety. The second, conversely, depicted them as serious, contemplative men, whose defiance of convention masked


their distress over the political events of the day and expressed their criticism of a Confucian ritual-behavior grown sterile. A few examples give the flavor:

Criticizing a later band of revelers, Deng Can blamed the Seven Worthies: "Hsieh K'un [Xie Kun] . . . and other companions of Wang Ch'eng [Cheng] emulated the 'Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove,' and with their heads dishevelled and hair falling loose, would sit around naked, their legs sprawled apart. They called themselves the 'Eight Free Spirits.'" Dai Kui, however, insisted that, unlike the spirit of their models, "the spirit of those later imitators of the Seven Worthies was not genuinely transcendent. . . . They were merely taking advantage of it for self-indulgence and nothing more."[9] Neither commentator denied the behavior; it was the interpretation of that behavior, decadent or transcendent, on which they differed. For both Deng Can and Dai Kui "truth," or reality, was to be found beyond appearance, in the characters of the men and in their intent. Behavior, for both commentators, required interpretation and judgment.

Referring to stories that Ruan Ji had violated the mourning rites, Gan Bao caustically remarked that "if ever there was a case of letting the hair fall loose, or acting in an unrestrained or contemptuous manner, or turning the back on the dead and forgetting the living, while claiming on the contrary to be fulfilling the rites, Juan Chi [Ruan Ji] was such a man."[10] Sun Sheng denied the charge. Ruan Ji, he said, was "by nature extremely filial. While he was in mourning, even though he did not follow the ordinary prescriptions, nevertheless he was so wasted away that he nearly lost his life."[11]

Xi Kang's outstanding ability, said the emperor Jianwen (r. 371–372) harmed the Way.[12] Yan Yanzhi (384–456), agreeing that he was not like others, defended him for that very reason. Praising that outstanding ability, Yanzhi exulted, for, although one may sometimes hobble the phoenix, "who can subdue the dragon's soul?"[13]

Liu Ling appears in the Shishuo xinyu as thoroughly dissolute:

On many occasions Liu Ling, under the influence of wine, would be completely free and uninhibited, sometimes taking off his clothes and sitting naked in his room. Once when some persons saw him and chided him for it, Ling retorted, "I take heaven and earth for my pillars and roof, and the rooms of my house for my pants and coat. What are you gentlemen doing in my pants?"[14]

But he was not really a coarse and idle lout, Yan Yanzhi explained. He was merely hiding his grief in daily drunkenness. Ling's "Ode to


Wine," he claimed, was actually a very profound work that revealed his deep mourning.[15]

As for the carefree recluse Rong Qiqi, he too found a place in the new world across the river. Lidai minghua ji records, for example, that Gu Kaizhi painted a picture of the ancient worthy, while his meeting with Confucius is reported in the Liezi. In this version, however, the Master has the last word. Pleased with Rong Qiqi's expression of joy, Confucius adds, "He is a man who knows how to console himself." To which Zhang Zhan (fl. 370) commented that Rong Qiqi is "unable to forget joy and misery altogether; Confucius merely praises his ability to console himself with reasons."[16]

Rong Qiqi appears also in poems by Tao Yuanming, who twice couples him with virtuous recluses and refers to him as "cold and hungry." He wonders if such deprivation was worth it, and, as is so often true of the great poet, comes to differing conclusions. He ends one poem affirmatively: "They had to be firm in adversity / For their names to live a thousand years." In the second poem, however, Tao Yuanming decides that fame is no consolation after death. It is best to please oneself: "A man should go beyond accepted views."[17]

The fourth-century embellishments of the exemplar of ziran intimate a poignancy not apparent in the earlier literary image, a suggestion that one is never completely free or that a price is always paid. The fictional character is seen as more complex and thus as more human.

The literature is rich and the stories are delightful. However, when we compare the anecdotes and their interpretations with the images of the Nanjing reliefs, we are nonplussed. Where are the nakedness, the sprawling, the flouting of convention of which we have just read? Where are the Ruan family's convivial pigs, Ruan Xian's nubile slave girl, Xi Kang's lice?[18] Do three wine cups and three musical instruments make a debauch, a "merry revelry" even? No figure, in fact, is "noticeably tipsy," nor are the men really depicted together, in a group.[19]

Of course, anyone who saw the murals (those who attended the funerals of the two tomb occupants) would be reminded of the many stories that circulated in the fashionable world.[20] Knowing them, and the deceased, they might interpret the portraits as those of men who were "free," or whose antics hid their grief. Or they might see it as a cautionary tale, a lesson for survival. After Xi Kang's execution, for example, his friend Xiang Xiu was recommended for office. Arriving


at the capital, he was interviewed by Sima Zhao (who had ordered Xi Kang's death).

[The Generalissimo] asked him, "I heard you had the ambition of retiring to Chi Mountain; What are you doing here?"

Xiu replied, "Ch'ao Fu [Chao Fu] and Hsü Yu [Xu Yu] were timid, pusillanimous men, not worthy of much emulation."

[Sima Zhao] heaved a great sigh of admiration.[21]

Yet, the pictorial and literary depictions seem ill-matched. Nor can we seriously consider the possibility of skill-deficiency for artist or artisans. Careful examination of the forms leads, on the contrary, to admiration and to the assumption that greater pictorial and literary correspondence was certainly possible, if wanted.[22]

Perhaps further probing of the traditions will reveal a closer correspondence. In addition to the many anecdotes about the men portrayed, the Seven Worthies were often characterized. That is, they were judged —pithily, wittily, quite as if they were candidates for office (as indeed they once were). Gu Kaizhi, for example, averred that Shan Tao could not be described. "Pure, deep, mysterious and silent—no one saw his limits, yet all agreed that he had, indeed, entered upon the Way." Zhong Hui had recommended Wang Rong to the ruler, saying, "He is unceremonious and keeps to the essential." Pei Kai had said of him that "his eyes flash like lightning beneath a cliff." Wang Gong once remarked that "in Juan Chi's [Ruan Ji's] breast it was a rough and rugged terrain; that's why he needed wine to irrigate it."[23]

Xi Kang had "the beauty [zi ] of a phoenix, the grace [zhang ] of a dragon." Some characterized him as "serene and sedate, fresh and transparent, pure and exalted!" Still others said of him, "Soughing like the wind beneath the pines, high and gently blowing."[24]

In contrast to Xi Kang, Liu Ling was said to be short, ugly, and dissipated-looking. Ruan Xian possessed a "divine understanding" of music. Shan Tao had once recommended him for a government post by characterizing him as "incorruptible [qing ] and honest, with few desires; the myriad things of the world cannot budge him."[25]

Although we may intuit a correspondence between such characterizations and the v:isual forms, can we objectify that correspondence? The instrument held by the figure of Ruan Xian may indeed signify his divine understanding of music (fig. 31).[26] The erect back and poised fingers of Xi Kang may well be interpreted as a calm serenity (xiao xiao ) His tumbled garments and exposed flesh, however, are hardly



Ruan Xian.
Detail of figure 3.

signs of a sedate, or decorous (su su ), figure. Indeed, such characterization is more appropriate to the image of Dong Shou in the tomb at Anak. Nor can we discern a distinction between the beauty of Xi Kang and the ugliness of Liu Ling. The faces of both men, for example, are identical (figs. 32 and 33).[27] Differences in height are not evident. It is possible that Xi Kang's erect head and posture reflect a dragon-grace or a phoenix-beauty. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that Liu Ling's bent head is meant to reflect ugliness.



Xi Kang.
Detail of figure 2.


Liu Ling.
Detail of figure 3.


Wang Rong's flashing eyes (fig. 34), capable of direct depiction, are no more visible than that which cannot be depicted objectively—Ruan Ji's rough and rugged inner terrain. The wine pot beside the latter may, however, be its external sign.

In short, when we search for physical characteristics whereby to identify the seven historical individuals whose portraits confront us, we cannot find them. When we rummage among the many anecdotes about them, we discern few pictorial forms that jog the memory—a wine cup here, a musical instrument there. Checking literary characterizations, we are unable to apply them to the various figures and say with certainty that the depiction of each corresponds to individual descriptions of their character.

With but one exception, we cannot, in fact, identify the individuals depicted pictorially from the literary texts. Only the gesture of Ruan Ji, his fingers close to his pursed lips and puffed cheeks, reminds us of his adventure in the Sumen Mountains and enables us to identify him with any certainty.[28] As for the others, were we to exchange the musical instruments and remove the names from the bricks, Xi Kang and Ruan Xian could each pass for the other. Were we to remove the wine bowl from the one and give it to the other, Liu Ling and Xiang Xiu could not be distinguished. Although each figure differs slightly from all others in posture, in the way the drapery folds curve and fall around them, in their headdresses, fundamentally they are all alike. In my opinion, they were intended to be so. The eight figures are a collective portrait, in which the forms and their placement in a single, but bifurcated, composition convey a specific character, an ideal-type, one both admired and denigrated by many men of the fourth century and long after.

The texts, for example, reveal that all the Seven Worthies had in common certain character traits, regardless of their individual life trajectories.[29] The comments and opinions about them focus on two dimensions of character: ability and its expression.

All Seven Worthies are characterized as men of outstanding ability. "Just as [Xi Kang] was, in the midst of a crowd of other figures, one would know unmistakably that he was a man of no ordinary capacity." All the little boys, spotting by the road a laden plum tree, ran to gather the fruit. Wang Rong, however, stood still: "If the tree is by the side of the road and still has so much fruit, this means they must be bitter plums." And so they were. Because of this incident, the seven-year-old was "acclaimed for his divine intelligence even in his youth."



Wang Rong.
Detail of figure 2.

"Because his capacities were ample, Shan T'ao [Shan Tao] was looked up to by the court . . . Youths from noble families all sang his praises."[30]

This ability was expressed in several ways. Ruan Xian's subtlety (wei ) could be discerned in his musicianship; drunkenness hid Ruan Ji's brilliance (zhao ) and Liu Ling's refined essence (jing ).[31] Having twitted Xiang Xiu for devoting his time to a commentary on the Zhuangzi, his friends Xi Kang and Lü An later read it. "K'ang remarked, 'Have you actually beat us again?' An cried out in surprise, 'Chuang Chou [Zhuang Zhou] isn't dead!'"[32] "Shan T'ao's selections for public office which he had made throughout his career had practically run the gamut of the various offices. . . . In every case where he had written an estimate of a candidate's ability, it proved to be exactly as he had stated."[33]


Literature, philosophy, music, and that most important art of the times, knowing men—these were the refined expressions of their innate abilities, and the men were famous for them.

All the Seven Worthies are characterized as free, unrestrained, or unceremonious. "Xi Kang despised the world, remaining unfettered [bu ji ]."[34] Ruan Ji was criticized for violating the rites by visiting his sister-in-law. "Were the rites established for people like me?" he demanded.[35] When Shan Tao recommended Ruan Xian for office, he knew, said Dai Kui, that the emperor could not use him. "It seems he simply did it because he admired the strength of his freedom [kuang ] from the world."[36] Liu Ling treated his body like so much earth or wood.[37] Indulging his fancy, "he let himself go (fang dang )."[38] Wang Rong was unceremonious (jian ), Shan Tao was free (hui da ).[39]

Similarly, such words as "pure" and "remote" are associated with the unfettered Worthies. Xi Kang and Shan Tao are "pure" (qing, chun ).[40] Xi Kang is "like a solitary pine tree standing alone."[41] One who read Xiang Xiu's commentary to the Zhuangzi felt "released, as if he had emerged beyond the dust of the world to peer into Absolute Mystery. For the first time such a one understood that beyond sight and hearing there is a divine power and abstruse wisdom which enables one to leave the world behind and pass beyond all external things."[42] Looking at Shan Tao, said Pei Kai, is like "climbing a mountain and looking down, far, far from the world."[43]

Rejection of ritual behavior, purity, remoteness: those Worthies who turned their backs on the world and those who chose to remain firmly in it were thus characterized. It is an inner detachment of which we read, a quality of character one retains even amidst the dust of the world, and discernible, even there, by those truly capable of knowing men.

Perhaps it was their inner detachment and purity that led so many to refer to the Worthies' self-possession, the ability to retain composure under all circumstances. Liu Ling was "always in good spirits, the most self-possessed man [zide ] of the entire age." "On the eve of Xi Kang's execution . . . his spirit and manner showed no change." Wang Rong announced that he had "never seen an expression of either pleasure or irritation on his face." Criticized for his failure to abstain at a party although still in mourning for his mother, Ruan Ji "continued drinking and devouring his food without interruption, his spirit and expression completely self-possessed [shen se ziruo ]." When a tiger broke loose and all others fled in fear, Wang Rong (then seven years


old) "remained placid and motionless, without the slightest appearance of being afraid."[44]

Outstandingly able and refined, untrammeled and pure, self-possessed—this is the Eastern Jin–Liu-Song literary characterization of the Seven Worthies, and it is the pictorial characterization as well.

Judging the Manner

"We would fill our wine cups and pass them to one another and then, when the strings and winds played together and our ears were hot from the wine, we would raise our heads and chant poetry." The scene invoked by the Wei emperor had long since become the preferred life-style for the elite, and no educated courtier in Jiankang could fail to remember his words when beholding the mural.[45] How simply and efficiently the artist/artisan transforms a literary image into a pictorial one: eight informally dressed figures, seated on mats, and ten trees suffice to inform the viewer that the dust of the world (the city, the court) has been left behind. Three wine bowls, three cups, three musical instruments are the attributes that economically convey the happy pursuits. It is not a debauch; it is a moment of leisure, in which wine and music play their appropriate and refined roles. The inscriptions naming two of the famous figures as Xi Kang and Ruan Ji affirm beyond question the "presence" of poetry, while the inscription naming the recluse Rong Qiqi forces the conclusion that this is what it means to be free, to be an adherent of ziran. If its pictorial expression struck the viewer as a rather tame, even somewhat restrained, spontaneity, yet how forceful must have been its antiritualistic, anti-Confucian implications. The viewer could perceive no hint of hierarchy, no apparent decorum, when confronting eight carefree, lounging figures en déshabillé, all the same size, all seated at the same level.

How simple it all seems, and how delusory the simplicity! For if the roots of the composition lie in Cao Pi's literary depiction of conviviality, why are the eight men not depicted in a group?[46] Mats do not touch and wine cups are not passed from hand to hand. Each figure, rather, is self-contained and isolated from all others by trees (fig. 35). It is precisely this compositional isolation that expresses the men's remoteness and purity—each like a solitary pine tree—ascribed to



Xi Kang and Ruan Ji.
Detail of figure 2.

them in the literature. It also objectifies, at least in part, that sense of composure or tranquillity intuited by the viewer.

Paradoxically, these lolling, whistling, drinking figures, with their robes in disarray and their partial nudity, are dignified. Wang Rong carefully, delicately, balances his ruyi on his fingertips, his posture and clothing asserting utter relaxation.[47] The insouciance, the composure, are elegant. Xi Kang sits with ramrod-straight back and fingers gracefully poised above his zither, his bared limbs and tousled robe adding that touch of casualness that suggests complete and natural mastery of his instrument. A pictorial convention traceable to Han dynasty art, the qin placed across the lap not only enhances the sense of


remoteness, but hints at a decorum not apparent at first glance, for the instrument cannot actually be played in this position, but must be placed on a firm table for performance. In the context of death, this qin seems not only one of music without sound but a "silent comforter."[48] Similarly, the isolation of each figure whispers at decorum. "He who is in mourning should sit on a single mat," the Rites instruct.[49]

Casual yet controlled, relaxed but restrained—the very style of the figures reinforces the message. Firm, continuous lines form slender bodies, as well as robe contours that gently curve inward to define, for example, Ruan Ji's leg, Xi Kang's knee, or Wang Rong's arm, and to suggest, not only weight of cloth, but a slight tension of the muscles beneath. The relatively few interior lines—long, smooth curves evenly spaced—of the robes where the body is covered add to the sense of repose. They form a strong contrast to the many curves of drapery that fall to the ground in scalloped swirls or flutter to the sides in loops, as if weightless and in motion.[50] The combination of firm, unmodulated, slow curves of body outline with drapery curves that break into swirls and points effectuates the sense of tranquillity in action, of utter composure under all circumstances. Moreover, the absence of texture or pattern in the garments (such as we see, for example, in the ribbons attached to Ruan Xian's balloon-guitar) virtually forces the eye to focus on this combination.

The absence of spatial setting, the absence of texture, the absence of any sense of weight or of volumes in space—what is missing from the composition is as important as what is there. For these figures are beyond time and space. Reality is not in their appearance but in its interpretation. As Dai Kui claimed, they are transcendent.

Each figure is accompanied by an inscribed brick that names it. By definition, then, each figure is a portrait, a picture intended to be like an individual. Yet., as I have demonstrated, all eight figures are depicted in exactly the same way: they are all alike. Physical likeness cannot, therefore, have been intended. The act of naming, of course, is itself a literary device; each name is an allusion that evokes in the knowledgeable viewer a host of historical and literary events and traditions associated with each image. The pictorial devices, however, are more selective; by virtue of their presence (and the absence of others, clearly available), only certain events or traditions should come to mind. It would be absurd, for example, to suggest that the figure of Xiang Xiu (figs. 23 and 24), slumped against a tree, is a pictorial allusion to his reply to Xi Kang: "To look at your shadow and sit like a


corpse with rocks and trees as your neighbors . . . I have never heard it was fitting."[51]

Composition, imagery, and style conspire, rather, to evoke in the viewer associations that confirm these depictions as character portraits, the external expression of inner qualities, innate and unalterable. The very absence of any spatial setting that might, for example, define a man's wealth or status (such as we see in many Han-period depictions) imposes the conviction that the most important information about these men lies within them alone.[52] It is from their behavior, from their style, as Liu Shao warned, that we may know the men in the reliefs.[53] All eight are seen to have the same character. From their attributes, their postures and gestures, indeed from the very lines that form the figures, we know their inner qualities: outstandingly able and refined, untrammeled and pure, self-possessed.

With no spatial setting, by posture and gesture, and by style, the many Han portraits of Confucius and Laozi, of filial sons and dutiful officials, of exemplary recluses, all preached the importance of Virtue. With similar devices, the Jin-Song portraits of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi preach less obvious, and very different, values: ziran, spontaneity, detachment, freedom; and yaliang, restrained, or elegant, composure.[54]

The controversial issues of the third century reached pictorial fruition in the fourth. The reader may recall that Cao Cao sought only talent, but that his grandson demanded something more. The Nanjing mural is the earliest extant pictorial expression of a social ideal, the cultivated gentleman.

Style and the Man

"Truly, those who are not free and detached cannot find pleasure in it; those who are not profound and serene cannot rest quiet in it; those who are not liberated cannot abandon themselves to it; those who are not of the utmost refinement will be unable to discern its principles."

Xi Kang's words make it clear that the joys of the qin are not for every man. Only those with special inner qualities are capable of appreciating it. Such were the qualities of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi as they were portrayed on the walls of the tomb in the capital city. How different from those countless Han portrayals of virtuous creatures great and small! For Virtue was the supreme, universal


value of the Han era, its demands and expression clear to everyone. High and low, men of all classes could practice it, praise it, even gain by it if they chose: it was inclusive. Peasant and courtier, eunuch and scholar—none could fail to grasp the significance of Han portraits.

The Anak and Liaoning portraits, some two hundred years later, were equally clear and universal in their messages. This was not so for the Seven Worthies' collective portrait. Profound, serene, imperturbably untrammeled: who could aspire to be a cultivated gentleman, to appreciate the qin, to chant the poetry of the past or create his own, to impress with his witty allusions? And who but only another cultivated gentleman could have the perspicacity and experience to recognize such a one when he met him? The new portrait was, indeed, not for every man. It was art for the elite and meant to exclude.

I have presented many accounts of the Seven Worthies to establish what the men of Jin-Song thought of them. I turn now to the men themselves. From this small exercise in social history, I shall attempt to identify, among the many competing political factions, those who admired the Seven Worthies and upheld the social ideal they had come to represent. We shall find that in the world of Eastern Jin there were some who modeled themselves on the Seven Worthies as they were depicted in the Nanjing tomb, and who, in their turn, became exemplars for their contemporaries and successors. We shall find, too, that others attributed to the new exemplars the same characteristics they saw in the Seven Worthies. Finally, we shall see that the traditions that developed about the men of the Bamboo Grove were put to rhetorical use, and that the Nanjing portrait(s) had political resonance. Thus does life mirror art.

The tradition of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove belonged to the northerners, to be embellished and circulated by those who crossed the river. That it became an ideal to be used in the rivalry between the northern and southern aristocrats is evidenced by one anecdote:

Hsieh Hsüan [Xie Xuan] held his elder sister, Hsieh Tao-yün [Xie Daoyun], in very high regard, while Chang Hsüan [Zhang Xuan] constantly sang the praises of his younger sister, and wanted to match her against the other. A certain Chi Ni [Ji Ni] [visited both families]. When people asked him which was superior and which inferior, he replied, "Lady Wang's (i.e., Hsieh Tao-yün's) spirit and feelings are relaxed and sunny; she certainly has the manner and style of (the Seven Worthies) beneath the (Bamboo) Grove. As for the wife of the Ku [Gu] family (i.e., Chang Hsüan's sister), her pure heart gleams like jade; without a doubt she's the full flowering of wifely virtue."[55]


Let us note first the emphasis on a pervasive activity of the period, the comparing and judging of people. The otherwise unknown Ji Ni is not recommending the ladies for official appointments. The issue, rather, is one of social status, in which the Lady Wang, daughter of a prominent émigré family and married into another such family, is pitted against one connected with two equally prominent southern families. The northern contender, herself a well-known poet, is likened to the Seven Worthies, who, in the judge's adroit balancing of scales, are here equal to gleaming jade. Note too the different, yet evenly weighted values: the northern Lady Wang has the manner (feng ) and style (qi ) of the Seven Worthies, while the southern Lady Gu receives the accolade for Virtue.[56]

An especially revealing source for understanding the value placed on the manner and style of our exemplars is the Buddhist literature of the period. In the south, Buddhist proselytization focused on the aristocracy, and missionary activity found a home in the salons and country retreats of the men who threw open their lapels and unfastened their girdles to debate, with erudition and wit, the philosophical issues of the day.[57] Needless to say, the native and foreign monks who moved in these circles required considerable talent and learning to win respect and adherents.

Without question, the early biographies of Buddhist monks were hagiographic, drafted with an eye to associating the missionaries with native Chinese thought, with Chinese eminents and their values.[58] When, therefore, we read that Sun Chuo (fl. 330–365), a leading Buddhist layman, compared seven Buddhist monks with the Seven Worthies, we may be sure that the choice of exemplars was no accident.[59] Chuo's contemporary and friend, the redoubtable Zhi Dun (314–366), for example, he likened to Xiang Xiu, for both admired the Zhuangzi and the Laozi. Although born in different times, the two were "mystically one." He compared Zhu Daoqian to Liu Ling, the great translator Dharmaraksa to Shan Tao, and so on. No events in the biographies of these monks evoked the comparisons with the Seven Worthies, save for the life of Bo Yuan (fl. 304), who, like Xi Kang, was executed—unjustly, of course.[60] Rather, it was their characters, their essential natures, that Sun Chuo compared. Thus, Bo Yuan and Xi Kang, "careless of their frames and beyond worldly concerns," invited the retribution of a base world. Zhu Daoqian, remote and profound, like Liu Ling, took the universe as his dwelling. "How alike in their vast, untrammeled manner!" We hear naught of wine vats, slave girls, or lice. The seven monks equaled the Worthies


because of their shining intelligence and virtue, because they were lofty and remote, because each was spiritually one with his secular counterpart.[61]

Sun Chuo established the saintly images of these fathers of the early Buddhist church, of these exemplars to the faithful, by comparing them with secular exemplars. He did not compare the seven monks, of varying ethnic and social origins, with Confucian sages or loyal ministers. Seven cultivated gentlemen, tippling poets and officials, were his choices. To whom did he expect his equations to appeal? Why, indeed, did they appeal to him personally?

From a northern family whose members had held high office for several generations, Chuo was highly rated by his contemporaries as a man of literature. Famous for his characterizations of others, his evaluation of himself (requested by the future Emperor Jianwen) is of interest:

[When it comes to] deliberating on policies suited to the times, or ways of ruling the present world . . . for the most part, I don't approach [others]. On the other hand, precisely because I'm untalented, I set my thoughts . . . on the Mysterious and Transcendent . . . and intone from afar the words of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. Lonely and aloof in lofty retirement, I don't concern my thoughts with temporal duties. I myself feel that in this attitude I yield to none.[62]

Scorning the dust of the world, Sun Chuo retreated to the lush landscape of Guiji (modern Shaoxing in Zhejiang province), where for several years he enjoyed the reclusive life with a large circle of eminent friends. It was a life, that is, rather less lonely and aloof than might be thought from his high-minded remarks. Despite his expressed attitude, Sun Chuo emerged from retirement to serve in various official positions throughout his life. Since neither Chuo's father nor his uncles served in office, his access to appointment—or his summons, if one prefers—may have been gained through his highly placed contacts at Guiji.[63]

Certainly, his family name and his literary talents equaled those of his cohort. Unlike many of his friends (or their fathers or their uncles), however, he lacked, in these early days, enfeoffment or official appointment. He refers to himself in a letter as a hanshi, one without rank or wealth (although humble rhetoric should, of course, never be taken at face value).[64] We read, moreover, that some considered him to be vulgar or an upstart, one who presumed to be closer to holders of wealth and power than he really was.[65]


Much of this attitude toward Sun Chuo appears to stem from the ambiguities of his behavior: on the one hand, an extoller of aloof retirement, on the other hand, a too eager seeker of office. Note the different attitudes toward him and Xu Xun, another recluse, who never accepted office: "Those who honored Hsü [Xu] for his exalted feelings would correspondingly despise Sun for his corrupt conduct, and those who loved Sun for his literary ability and style would conversely have no use for Hsü."[66]

The excoriation of Sun Chuo for duplicity is surprising. Eremitism, as I have noted, was much en vogue (which is not to deny the serious intent of many), and the records of EasternJin are replete with accounts of gentlemen in retirement who, at some point, answered the call to duty. Yet many whose lives alternated between retreat and court were not criticized in the manner of poor Sun Chuo. In this period, moreover, when temporary retirement was so frequent a political necessity, the concept of the recluse in society—one who outwardly engaged in public life while inwardly maintaining his detachment—was especially powerful.[67] When the danger had passed, a man could hardly be expected to cast aside his essential purity, his very nature, as he returned to public life. In the third century the famed recluse Zhuge Liang earned no calumny when he emerged to serve as Liu Bei's minister; nor did his contemporaries criticize Shan Tao for returning to office following a period of retirement. As for later attitudes, we know already that Sun Chuo praised Shan Tao's lofty remoteness and that his cousin, Sun Sheng, admired him for his sound judgment:

Shan T'ao's cultivated tolerance [ya su ] was untrammeled and free, and his judgment vast and far-reaching. His mind remained beyond the realm of worldly affairs, yet he stooped and rose with the times. He once had a relationship with Hsi K'ang and Juan Chi which transcended words. But whereas all the other gentlemen encountered difficulties in the world, T'ao alone preserved his vast overflowing judgment.[68]

The matter of Sun Chuo's "corruption" and "vulgarity" warrants continued interest. We read, for example, that Xie Wan (ca. 321–361) had a disagreement with Sun Chuo over the former's "Discourse on Eight Worthies," in which four recluses were paired with four men of the world.[69] One of the pairs comprised the recluse Sun Deng and a worldly Xi Kang, whose violent death Deng had predicted.[70] "Xie Wan's general idea was that recluses were superior and men of affairs inferior. Sun Chuo objected to this, saying, 'For those who embody


the Mysterious and understand the Remote, public life or retirement amount to the same thing.'"[71]

It is easy to conclude that Chuo's argument was, after all, his apologia, which the high-minded Xie Wan rejected. However, we are entitled to wonder whose apologia was whose when we recall that Wan had held several important offices and eventually "crowned an ignoble military career" with an overwhelming defeat at Shouchun in 359.[72] Thereafter he was stripped of all titles and rank and went into involuntary, permanent retirement. Whereupon, the family fortunes were rescued by the emergence from retirement of Wan's elder brother, and Sun Chuo's friend, Xie An.[73]

One of the most famous men of the century, Xie An did much to establish the foundation of his family's later preeminent social status.[74] He is credited with saving the throne from usurpation and, after, with saving the empire from invasion; for many years he was the power behind the throne.[75] No one was more admired in his day, or so we are told, and it is to this exemplar that I now turn for instruction.

Like his friend Sun Chuo, Xie An had elected to live in retirement at Guiji, where his family owned large estates. Together with other friends, such as Wang Xizhi (309–ca. 365) and the Buddhist monk Zhi Dun, they often gathered to converse or to discuss the philosophical issues of the day.[76] At such times, the art of Pure Conversation was highly prized, and adepts vied to produce the cleverest epigrams or to outdo each other in debate. At one gathering, An urged the assembly to "speak, or intone poems, to express our feelings." Choosing the Zhuangzi as their topic, all held forth. Zhi Dun's ideas were "intricate and graceful, the style of his eloquence wonderful and unique, and the whole company voiced his praises." When all others had finished, Xie An spoke:

The peak of his eloquence was far and away superior to any of the others. Not only was he unquestionably beyond comparison, but in addition he put his heart and soul into it, forthright and self-assured. There was no one present who was not satisfied in his mind. Chih Tun [Zhi Dun] said to Hsieh [Xie], "From beginning to end you rushed straight on; without any doubt you were the best."[77]

Such was the tenor of life in retirement. Far from the capital, reputations could nevertheless be made. Not only was An the best debater, but there was also the purity of his determination: for some six or seven years he roamed the mountains and forests without a care. "When summoned to office he did not go. Even though summonses


and memorials came in swift succession, followed by threats of imprisonment, he was blissfully disdainful of them all."[78] Wang Xizhi went so far as to state that he was superior even to the famous recluse Xu Xun.[79]

Yet, far from the capital, a man's leadership qualities could shine forth. When Xie An was out boating one day with Sun Chuo, Wang Xizhi, and others,

the wind rose and the waves tossed . . . the others all showed alarm in their faces and urged [returning] to shore. But Hsieh An's [Xie An's] spirit and feelings were just beginning to be exhilarated, and humming poems and whistling, he said nothing. The boatman, seeing that Hsieh's manner was relaxed and his mood happy, continued to move on without stopping. But after the wind had become more and more violent and the waves tempestuous, everyone was shouting and moving about and not remaining seated.

Hsieh calmly said, "If it's like this, let's go back."

Everyone immediately responded to his voice, and they turned back. After this it was realized that his tolerance was adequate for a governing post, either at court or in the provinces.[80]

Thus could a man's behavior and style earn him fame. Xie An was refined, pure, and self-possessed. His judgment was outstanding. He was to continue to exhibit these qualities when, in the end, he left Guiji to heed the summons to office—perhaps because he no longer dared to refuse, perhaps to save the dynasty, or perhaps because he owed it to his family.

Of course, not everyone thought he was the essence of purity. When An arrived in 360 to take up his post as aide to his enemy Huan Wen (312–373), the latter taunted him for hypocrisy.[81] Years later, however, Wen's son, Xuan, inquired about this from Xie An's niece, Daoyun. The lady explained:

My late uncle . . . in his early conception of what is correct, took "uselessness" for his cardinal principle, and considered public life versus retirement to be a contrast of inferior versus superior. It was not until his mature conception of what is correct that he considered them to be merely the difference between activity and quiescence.[82]

Like Shan Tao, An stooped and rose with the times, and we read his own apologia in the anecdote in which he asks the young people of his family to choose the finest passage in the "Book of Songs." His own choice: "With mighty counsels he determines the Mandate / With farsighted plans he makes timely announcements." The passage,


he added, "uniquely contains the profoundest sentiments of the cultivated (ya ) man."[83]

The cultivated man therefore preserves his vast overflowing judgment and discerns the correct moments for activity and quiescence. Whether in retirement or at court, he maintains his inner detachment and far-reaching judgment. The Nanjing mural is a collective portrait in the sense that the images of eight men are used to convey the full significance of the recluse. Did they not, in their life histories, span a spectrum, from the total retirement of Rong Qiqi to the complete immersion in public life of Wang Rong? Yet did they not all share the inner qualities of detachment and purity, and did they not all reveal these inner qualities by their untrammeled and thoroughly self-possessed manner? Similarly, Xie An, in the circumstances of his life, embodied these qualities. He was the cultivated gentleman, the exemplar for all seasons.

If there is an exemplar, surely there must be a counter-exemplar to enlighten us further. Indeed, we have already met him in the person of Huan Wen, who suspected Xie An's purity. Little is known of the Huan family prior to Wen's father, Yi.[84] Wen, a military man like his father, rose rapidly, however, to become grand marshal and the real power behind a puppet emperor. Only his death in 371 prevented him from attempting to usurp the throne.

Wen had a low opinion of those who enjoyed philosophical discussion while he, a rugged and disciplined man of action, coped with military affairs. "If I didn't do this," he once admonished Liu Tan, "then how in blazes could you fellows get to sit around and talk?" As for living in retirement, he was appalled by the thought. "Who could be so petty and perverse as to live by himself?"[85]

For all his rejection of those values his political opponents admired, he nevertheless respected his enemy, Xie An. Once, during Wen's illness, An called on him. "Huan, gazing at him from a distance, sighed, saying, 'It's been a long time since I've seen such a man in my gate.'" Judging him, Wen remarked that An, "as one would expect, is inviolable; his very position is naturally superior."[86]

It should not be thought that Huan Wen was without admirers of his talents. After his pacification of the state of Shu in 347, for example, he entertained his staff and the local families in the palace.

Huan had always had a martial disposition and vigorous air, and moreover on this particular day his voice and intonation rang out heroically as he told how from antiquity to the present "success or failure have proceeded from


men," and survival or perdition are bound up with human ability. His manner was rugged and flint-like and the whole company sighed . . . in appreciation.

After the meeting . . . everyone was still savoring its flavor with continued conversation. At the time Chou Fu [Zhou Fu] said, "What a pity you fellows never saw the generalissimo, Wang Tun (d. 324)."[87]

Forthright, heroic, flint-like: surely a character worthy of emulation. Furthermore, Huan Wen, in this version of the tale, is likened to a gentleman of the prestigious Langya Wang clan. All present, however, knew that Wang Tun [Wang Dun] had rebelled against the throne. The allusion could not have been lost on those assembled.[88]

The anecdotal material I have presented may objectively relate events that actually occurred and remarks that were actually made. It may, on the other hand, comprise only kernels of historical truth modified or altered to fit a certain point of view. It is well, therefore, to pause here and discuss that point of view and its significance for my tale.

The great majority of quotations are selected from that literary masterpiece of the fifth century A New Account of Tales of the World, the Shishuo xinyu (SSXY ). It is a work of art in its own right, as well as a remarkable exercise in social history, one not unworthy of comparison with Proust's masterpiece.[89] It is not a work of history, although almost all of its characters are known, from other sources, to have existed, and there is no doubt of the historicity of many of the events to which it alludes.[90] Yet the compilers of the Sui and Tang dynastic histories classified it, not under the Division of History, but under the Division of Philosophers. Under that rubric, they placed it with Minor Tales (xiaoshuo ), in the company of fictionalized biographies, jokebooks for court jesters, and, significantly, source books for advisers to the throne.

The SSXY is, in short, fictionalized history—exemplary fiction. It has a point of view, from which some of its characters are seen to be better or more admirable than others. This is not the same as noting that the book has a hero, who of course has enemies, a fact apparent from even the most cursory reading. Since it chronicles, for the most part, the Eastern Jin world of elite factions that hummed at court, it is not surprising to find protagonists and antagonists aplenty. Superficial reading, however, fails to discern few, if any, differences between the two categories of characters. Only more refined study enables the reader to grasp the essence of the true exemplar and to understand why others, of like class and rank, are found wanting. If this is not


apparent at first, it is because the SSXY is a work of subtlety, relying far less on plot than on allusion, pun, and metaphor to convey its messages. Not everyone can understand it, nor was everyone meant to.[91]

Not its historicity, but, a near paradox for the historian, the point of view or bias of the SSXY enables us to determine what kind of patron might have commissioned the Nanjing mural. Obviously, only one who admired the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi and who wished to be associated with them would have done so. Just as obviously, however, it must have been one who was concerned with the specific values conveyed by the pictorial form, one, that is, who admired the concept of the cultivated gentleman, and who himself wished to be, or to be seen as, one such. It is precisely this image that the literary form celebrates, for its most important hero exemplifies these values above all others in his, or anyone else's, circle.

The undoubted hero and primum exemplum of the SSXY is Xie An. Its counter-exemplar is Huan Wen. No direct statement reveals this. Rather, the descriptions of the behavior of the two men, the judgments other characters in the book make of that behavior, and the allusions linking them to still other individuals enable us to discern their roles in what seems to be merely a loose collection of random anecdotes. The true point of the tale of Huan Wen in Shu lies in the allusion to the traitor Wang Dun.

In the fourth century Sun Chuo considered the Seven Worthies so potent an ideal that he wished Buddhist monks to be admired in the same way. Others of the time—for example, Gan Bao and Dai Kui—had opinions about them, favorable and otherwise. We have observed, as well, that many anecdotes about them were collected in the fifth-century SSXY. They appear in the book not only as actors, however, but also as individuals to whom others are compared. It is instructive to examine a few of these allusions:

While Wang Meng and Hsieh Shang [Xie Shang] were serving together as officers under Wang Tao's [Wang Dao's] administration, Wang Meng once remarked, "Officer Hsieh here can perform an unusual dance." Hsieh immediately got up and danced, his spirit and mood both utterly composed. Wang Tao watched him intently, then said to the other guests, "Makes a person think of Wang Jung [Wang Rong]!"[92]

Xie Shang (308–357) was a cousin to Xie An and served successively as vice-president of the Imperial Secretariat, governor of Yu Province, and General Governing the West. The favorable compari-


son was made by the great minister and kinsman of Wang Rong, Wang Dao.[93] Sun Chuo once characterized Xie Shang as "pure, yet easygoing; genteel, yet uninhibited."[94]

The eminent recluse Xu Xun once observed that "in (Xi Kang's) essay on the qin, 'Those who are not of the utmost refinement will be unable to discern its principles' is Liu Tan. And the one meant by the line 'Those who are not profound and serene cannot rest quiet in it' is Emperor Jianwen."[95]

We need not doubt that Xu Xun intended the reference as a compliment to both men. The emperor—is the emperor; Liu Tan (311–347), although poor as a youth, was a descendant of the Han royal family and brother-in-law to Xie An. Sun Chuo once characterized him as "pure, yet luxuriant; unceremonious, yet genteel."[96]

Once, when Liu Tan and Wang Meng were both present at a banquet, the latter, "slightly in his cups, got up and performed a dance. Liu said to him, 'Meng, old chap, today you're not a whit behind [Xiang Xiu]!'"[97] Wang Meng's daughter was the consort of Emperor Ai and became empress in 362.

There are thus linkages between individuals of the fourth century and various of the Seven Worthies.[98] And it is surely no accident that all the figures noted above have linkages—political, marital, social—with the Xie family. One final anecdote links Xie An with one of the Seven Worthies and clearly demonstrates his superiority, not only over his adversary, but also over an important ally, a Taiyuan Wang:

Huan Wen held a feast with armed men concealed about the premises . . . with the intention of killing Hsieh An [Xie An] and Wang T'an-chih [Wang Tanzhi]. . . . Wang was extremely apprehensive, and asked Hsieh, "What plan should we make?"

Hsieh, his spirit and mood showing no change, said to Wang, "Whether the Chin [Jin] mandate survives or perishes will be determined by this one move."

As they went in together, Wang'sfears grew more and more apparent in his face, while Hsieh's cultivated tolerance became more and more evident in his manner. Gazing up the stairs, he proceeded to his seat, then started to hum a poem in the manner of the scholars of Loyang, reciting the lines by Hsi K'ang [Xi Kang], "Flowing, flowing mighty streams." Huan, in awe of his untrammeled remoteness, thereupon hastened to disband the armed men.

Wang and Hsieh had hitherto been of equal reputation; it was only after this that they were distinguished as superior and inferior.[99]

Thus, our exemplar: whether in retirement or in public life, he remains the cultivated gentleman. The cultivated gentleman—not the filial-pious, not the Confucian erudite—disarms the enemy and saves the dynasty. All see him as superior.


Time Remembered

It is tempting to conclude from the above that the occupant of the Nanjing tomb must have been an adherent of the Xie political faction. However, we do not know the date of the tomb, and the architectural evidence suggests a construction date somewhat later than the events referred to above, when, after Xie An's death in 385, new alliances and perils confronted the throne. Since the firmest date for construction, late Eastern Jin to early Liu-Song, covers a span of perhaps fifty years, the question of patron seems more complicated. Were the tomb constructed during the early Song period, for example, would there be any possible justification for asserting that the tomb occupant chose to link himself—albeit metaphorically, yet publicly—with earlier events, with one family and their allies, and with their ideals? Would not such an identification be viewed by an upstart dynasty as a statement of defiance?

Such would most certainly be the case had the ideal of the Seven Worthies remained parochial, a stereotype identified with only one group—for example, northern émigrés, or with specific families within that group—for example, Langya Wangs, Taiyuan Wangs, Xies, and so forth. There is evidence, however, that by the end of the century the cultivated gentleman had become a pervasive ideal, a persona to which many aspired. It is precisely because of its early associations with powerful families that others were to adopt it as their own.

I have noted that in the wake of the flight to the south, it was not difficult for a man of ability to seize the opportunity to establish a reputation. Associating oneself with men of power through friendship, marriage, or political alliance, one could gain appointment, wealth, and, with time, social eminence.

A man of great talent but small pedigree might easily gain wealth and power. Acceptance by others with wealth and power is then readily obtained. Acceptance by those with wealth, power, and impeccable pedigree, however, is more difficult. Sun Quan, smart and powerful, lost no time in arranging marriages between members of his family and the southern aristocrats; the latter, for their part, saw where the power lay and acted accordingly. That, after all, was what daughters were for.

But let us return to our exemplar, Xie An, his wife a descendant of Han dynasty emperors (or so it was said), his niece the wife of an impeccably pedigreed Langya Wang. Who could be more socially prominent? Since An was so powerful and so admired, an arbiter of fashion, is it not then astonishing to read that Ruan Yu (ca. 300–360),


Ruan Ji's kinsman and one who admired Xie An, considered the family to be upstarts?[100]

We know, of course, that the Seven Worthies were prominent men of the third century, that Ruan Yu, without wealth or power, could nevertheless boast of eminent ancestors. Had not Sima Zhao admired and protected his poet-cousin? And had not the latter been so prominent that he was selected to write the epistle urging Zhao to accept the throne?[101] Where had the Xies been then? They were not entirely unknown in the third century, but their rise to prominence began only when they crossed the river.

Therefore, when Xie An remarked that if his famous uncle Xie Kun (280–324), who had prospered after fleeing south, "should ever meet the Seven Worthies, they would undoubtedly seize him by the arm and lead him into the Grove," we have reason to interpret this as a positive association.[102] Xie Kun, the reader may recall, was a member of the "Eight Free Spirits" who were charged with emulating the Seven Worthies, but who were considered by both critics and admirers of the latter to be self-indulgent.[103] Yet the linkages I have established—between Wang Dao and Wang Rong (Langya Wangs) and the son of Xie Kun, Shang, for example—suggest that An meant this as a positive characterization. It was not that he saw both Xie Kun and the Seven Worthies as self-indulgent; rather, his kinsman was spiritually one with the latter.

Xie An, as we have seen, emulated the spirit and manner of the Seven Worthies. We must remember, of course, that such talent was inborn and that no environmental considerations could alter its fundamental character. By identifying his prominent ancestor with an ideal, did he not lay claim to his right to the succession? No upstart really, but one, rather, born to the manor/manner? He came by it, that is, naturally. His wife once asked him, "How comes it that from the start I've never seen you instructing your sons?" "I'm always naturally instructing my sons," he replied.[104]

The above is especially interesting in view of the fact that the Xie family's social progress closely paralleled that of the Huans. Not much was heard of either family prior to the move south. Huan Yi (275–328), Wen's father, was also a member of the "Eight Free Spirits" and thus a friend of Xie Kun's. Wen's younger brother, Chong (328–384), married a granddaughter of Wang Dao's; Wen's son, Huan Xuan, married a daughter of Liu Tan's. In short, there were few differences in either background or current status to differentiate the two families.[105]


There is one difference: someone wrote a book about the Xie family, from the Xie point of view.[106] In this Chinese predecessor of a Western movie, the forces of civilization are always outstandingly able; untrammeled, pure and remote; elegantly self-possessed—and admiring of the Seven Worthies. Outlaws, of course, don't appreciate these qualities. Thus the only difference between the two families, at least in the telling, is one of style.[107]

All students of Chinese history know who won the political struggle between the Xies and the Huans. The Xies won in other ways as well, for by the end of Eastern Jin their social eminence rivaled that of the Langya Wangs. They were the most cultivated gentlemen of the realm, and many aspired to be like them. In the new world of the south, where the old claims of birth could not always be validated, legitimacy acquired a new form. What was inside a man, his character, established his right to preferment, at least in theory. However, just as in the period of Latter Han when the landed magnates obtained a lien on virtuous character, so by the end of Eastern Jin was the newly valued character suborned. For the behavior that signaled one's inner being depended largely upon one's education.

Huan Wen's son Xuan is an example of the new ideal. Although he was a military man like his father, we nevertheless do not hear of his heroic, flint-like manner. We read, instead, of his literary talents and his love of art.[108] He had the right attributes, as it were. And although his father scorned reclusiveness, this usurper of the throne took a different view of that social role. Noting that all great dynasties of the past had had their recluses, whereas he, the self-proclaimed king of Chu, had none, Huan Xuan summoned a descendant of Huangfu Mi's, Xizhi, and ordered him to retire in order to write. Then, offering him an appointment, Xuan ordered him to decline to serve, so that Xizhi might gain a reputation as a virtuous scholar. Men of the time called the poor man the "phony recluse" (chongyin ).[109]

Thus did the next generation strive to observe the new conventions. Of course, a biased source cannot be expected to award Xuan full marks. His character had one significant flaw. Although talented and free, he could, alas, never hide his emotions—he was not truly detached and self-possessed.[110] He tried, however: With victory in his grasp, Huan Xuan, the new usurper, stood aboard his ship. As bugles blared and drums thundered, he chanted aloud lines from a poem by Ruan Ji, in vague historical allusion to his own conquest. A modern commentator perceptively terms the allusion "somewhat forced, to say the least."[111] Huan Xuan had chosen the wrong moment and the


wrong way to emulate others with his cultivated reference. How different was the style of Xie An when he received the news of the great victory over Fu Jian. "An read the letter in silence, and without saying a word, calmly turned back to his [chess game]." When his guests inquired about the news of the battle, he replied, "'My little boys have inflicted a crushing defeat on the invader.' As he spoke his mood and expression and demeanor were no different from usual."[112] With such subtle comparisons did our source employ its rhetoric, not merely to amuse its readers but to sway them. The style of the telling was an interpretation—a man's character adduced from his behavior—and that interpretation had social and political impact, for we are left in no doubt about which man was fit to lead.

We may characterize Huan Xuan as lacking style. The indiscriminate art-collecting, the appointment of an official recluse, the chanting of famous poetry amidst the crashing noises of victory—he knew the conventions, but he seems not to have come by them naturally. He was, all in all, a trifle vulgar. Ars est celare artem.

I cannot, in view of the above, argue that the Nanjing tomb was built for a member of the Xie faction. The problem is far more complicated, and I am inclined at this juncture to see it as a burial place for one who, perhaps not quite so powerful and not quite so eminent, sought to emulate his betters and to be remembered as one of them—a cultivated gentleman. Perhaps he sought the beneficial influence of the portraits on his own character, like one Tian Yu, who, in the third century, asked to be buried next to an ancient worthy whose "course of conduct was in exact contrast to mine; if the dead have influence, then he will certainly endow me with virtues."[113]

Covering a period from approximately A.D. 25 to 420, the SSXY was compiled by Liu Yiqing (403–444), a nephew of the military founder of the succeeding Liu-Song dynasty. As the Nanjing mural is court portraiture, so the book is court literature. Its hero is Xie An, and one may well wonder why, after the first Song emperor had finally put an end to the factional struggles of the fourth century, anyone—and specifically a member of the victorious imperial family—would wish to commemorate those struggles. It has been argued, successfully to my mind, that the actual compilers of the book, staff members to the prince, had close connections to a collateral descendant of Xie An, the great poet Xie Lingyun (385–433).[114] It was they, rather than the prince, so the argument runs, who thus chose to honor their gifted but reckless friend, who had been executed for treason.[115] Be that as it may, their patron must have approved the work; lacking evidence, we


cannot know why. For the younger generation, however, perhaps the passage of time had reduced the brutality of the earlier struggles to amusing memories. The prince's uncle had himself put an end to Huan Xuan's pretensions, and the Xie family was now entrenched as one of the foremost families of the realm. They held high office, were wealthy, married into the imperial family.[116] But true power lay elsewhere, with the throne, which is to say with upstart generals.[117] I suggest that Prince Liu Yiqing may have found these tales both amusing and instructive (as did the men of the later Sui and Tang dynasties), and that he saw in Xie An, not an old family enemy, but a model for a prince—one who was outstandingly able, free, and selfpossessed.

The Most Difficult Painting

Although the Nanjing relief of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi may not have been the first of its kind, it was, I suspect, one of the earliest. It soon became a pictorial stereotype, as we know from the recently excavated Danyang murals, and its potency as an ideal in Chinese history is demonstrated by the repeated use of its pictorial conventions throughout that history.[118]

I shall discuss those conventions and their significance for Chinese portraiture in the final chapter. I must not, however, close this discussion of the Nanjing portrait before taking note of other portraits that are said to have been made during this period.

The SSXY mentions several, while the later Lidai minghua ji offers many examples. Xie Zhi (fl. early fifth century?), for example, is said to have painted pictures (tu ) of filial sons, of Confucius's ten disciples, of the mother of Mencius. Portraits (xiang ) of Sima Yi, founder of the Jin dynasty, as well as those of famous ministers of the Wei kingdom, are also mentioned.[119] Gu Kaizhi, to note but a few listed by Zhang Yanyuan, painted portraits (xiang ) of Huan Wen, Huan Xuan, and Xie An, and Dai Kui portrayed the Confucian disciples and Sun Chuo.[120]

The subjects thus include traditional Confucian figures, historical personages of more recent times, and contemporary figures. Only rarely are the functions of the paintings noted.[121] Unfortunately, none of them is described and we do not know what they looked like.

Our extant portraits, however—the examples from the northeast of China and the Nanjing mural—are the true evidence for portraiture


of the period. There is no need to assume that their forms are all-inclusive. It is obvious, however, that what remains warrants the conclusion that more than one form and style existed at the time, and that portraiture of the period was, to be sure, character portraiture, but character portraiture of an exemplary nature. The official portraits from Liaoyang and Anak are retardataire only in the sense that older values continued to prevail in the region, while at the capital, in court circles, new values came to the fore, not to replace the old ones entirely, but to vie with them and to give life to a new persona or image worthy of emulation by many of the governing class.

We cannot know what the portraits of the Huans, father and son, or of Xie An looked like. Were they portrayed as loyal ministers, or in the case of Huan Xuan, as the king of Chu? Or were they, rather, portrayed as cultivated gentlemen? The occasion must have determined the choice. I do not think that a portrait of Xie An as loyal minister, for example, would have looked like the inventions of the Seven Worthies mural. On the contrary, it would have looked like the forms from the northeast, or perhaps like the bowing, submissive Han-period forms of Confucius's disciples.[122] Furthermore, the character of the man would have been instantly recognizable to all who saw the portrait.

If the portrait were intended, however, to convey something more complex—a man with a character of outstanding ability, whose detachment and inner purity could permit him, at the right time, to enter the fray (as Confucius could not bring himself to do)—then, I submit, the portrait of Xie An would have resembled the Nanjing images. When Gu Kaizhi painted An's uncle, Xie Kun, among crags and rocks (i.e., as living in seclusion), the rocks are an allusion to Xie's persona and a choice of considerable social significance.[123]

Moreover, the character of the man would not have been universally recognizable, for only those within elite circles would have understood. It is precisely for that reason that I believe the original of the Nanjing mural to have been based on a painting by an artist familiar with the values and conventions of circles at court. It is not a question of technical skill alone (the relief itself indicates the high level of craftsmanship available in the capital); rather it is one of sophistication: the subtle understanding of, as well as the ability to subtly convey, subtle ideas.

The bowing form, the gesture of submission, and the ceremonial dress were adequate to convey a man's (public) character in the Han dynasty. For artists and artisans of the later period, the depiction of a


man's character required greater subtlety. How, indeed, does one pictorially objectify a man who exemplifies such values as spontaneity and detachment, tranquillity and self-possession? Our analysis of the Nanjing portraits has shown us the pictorial solution to the problem.


Like-Minded Companions

The Master said: "If his substance exceeds his style, he's a rustic. If his style exceeds his substance, he's a pedant. But if his style and substance are in harmonious balance—why, then, you have the gentleman."
Analects 6.16

That the portraits of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi continued to have important social resonance in succeeding decades is attested by the recent discovery of two more examples of the same pictorial images (figs. 4–6). The remains from yet a third tomb, although yielding no pictorial evidence, suggest strongly that portraits of the same cultivated gentlemen comprised part of the tomb décor. I do not doubt that its basic components were identical to the three portraits now extant.

The pictorial evidence is the strongest evidence for the continued fame of the Seven Worthies and for the continued strength of one specific tradition about them.[1] However, the fact that the patrongroup for these later portraits differs from that for the Nanjing mural


raises intriguing questions. It is not unusual (anywhere in the world) for private patrons, men of lower rank, to emulate their social superiors. In this case study, however, we find the converse, for emperors have appropriated images made of lesser men for lesser men (in rank, that is). If our images were displayed in obeisance, paying homage to the ruler, their presence in the tombs would occasion no surprise. But that is not what we see. An inquiry into some of the important social changes of the fourth and fifth centuries suggests reasons for their presence in imperial tombs which reaffirm the rhetorical function of early Chinese portraiture.

Unlike the Nanjing portraits, these later portraits from Danyang county, the home of the emperors of the Southern Qi dynasty, are not the only pictorial images in the tombs. They are but one part of a pictorial system, a system remarkably similar in all three tombs and suggesting, therefore, deliberate selection and placement of motifs. Their association with other images yields further interpretations of the portraits, whereby the earlier meaning is not altered, but rather heightened. That is to say, like all successful pictorial conventions, those of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi were sufficiently flexible to allow for ready adaptation to changing circumstances and to acquire new layers of meaning. In their new setting, the symbol of the cultivated gentleman acquired an almost sacred character.

We cannot identify the recently excavated tombs in Danyang with specific Southern Qi emperors. Only one of the three is known with certainty to be the Xiu'anling, the tomb of Xiao Daosheng (d. 478).[2] He did not rule, but was elevated as the posthumous emperor Jing by his son, Xiao Luan (Ming Di), upon the accession of the latter in 494/495. The new tomb (to which presumably the remains of the posthumous emperor were removed) must therefore have been constructed sometime between 495 and the date of Emperor Ming's death, 498.

The other two tombs were tentatively identified in the original archaeological report as belonging to the penultimate ruler, Xiao Baojuan (posthumously marquis of Donghun), who ruled briefly from 499 to 501, when he was deposed, and the last emperor, who ruled even more briefly until 502, Emperor He (Xiao Baorong).[3] Sometime later the original excavators concluded that the tomb first associated with the marquis of Donghun might equally well have been the final resting place for Xiao Changmao (known also as Wenhui), crown prince and heir apparent to the second Qi emperor, Wu (r. 482–493).[4]


The heir apparent, alas, preceded his father in death by some few months. Upon inheriting the throne in 494, Wu Di's grandson, Zhaoye, elevated his father as the posthumous emperor Wen.

Regardless of specific identifications, all three tombs were probably constructed sometime between 493 and 502, within a space, that is, of some nine years. The tomb remains, moreover, make it clear that the pictorial programs of all three were nearly identical. The inclusion of portraits of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi in these tombs has therefore less to do with idiosyncratic choice than with convention. The specific identities of the tomb occupants are, in this sense, irrelevant to the present discussion.[5] Portraits of exemplars—men who were seen as cultivated gentlemen—were, I suggest, normative for imperial tombs of the dynasty.

Nor can the duplication of pictorial décor be argued on grounds of economy (although the two tombs for which we have pictorial remains show indubitable signs of hasty or coarse construction).[6] Although the pictorial programs of the tombs were similar, the individual forms within each tomb differ in their details. New molds must have been carved for the brick reliefs of each tomb. The two Southern Qi portraits of the Seven Worthies were not made from the same molds, and neither was made from the molds that were used to produce the earliest relief.[7] The subject of the Nanjing relief may well have been chosen on the basis of personal inclination. The choice of the Danyang reliefs, I submit, was tied to a social ideal, for the depiction of which certain images had previously been created and continued to be readily available. The imperial tomb portraits are real and therefore the firmest evidence of their importance to the royal family; the argument for their selection, unfortunately, must be circumstantial. It is reasonable to assume that those who commissioned the tombs, presumably members of the immediate families, would have approached the choice of pictorial décor with two questions in mind: How did it relate—factually or ideally—to the deceased, and what would those who attended the funeral think of it?

Shaping Thoughts

Life for most inhabitants south of the river changed but little after the end of Eastern Jin. Dynasties rose and fell; indigenous tribal groups constantly required pacification; skirmishes and battles with the


invaders who had conquered the north kept the borders fluid. By the fifth century the Toba had unified the north to rule as the Northern Wei dynasty (386–535), which alternately warred and traded with the southerners. In the south, as the nobles, powerful officials, and imperial favorites arrogated more lands and tenants unto themselves, the poor got poorer and the rich got richer.[8] Nevertheless, for the privileged few there were changes.

In the fifth and sixth centuries the oligarchical rule of the Great Families gave way to imperial dominance. In the Eastern Jin period, competing families had managed to dominate puppet emperors. In succeeding periods, a few strong emperors managed to dominate competing families and alter the balance of power. In the Liu-Song dynasty, for example, Emperor Wen (r. 424–454) astutely wrested control from the powerful families who had placed him on the throne. Even the Xie family, under the new state of affairs, was to be curbed. Xie Lingyun, for instance, was the duke of Kangle. Wealthy, talented, and most certainly untrammeled, he failed to stoop with the times. Diverting public streams and lands to his own use, he fell afoul of appointed officials.[9] Further arrogant behavior angered the throne, and he paid with his life. Years later, during the Southern Qi dynasty, his grandson would pay the same price.[10]

The Great Families, of course, retained their wealth and social status. From the time of the Song dynasty through the Chen, however, as successive emperors relied increasingly on the support of men of lower status (the hanmen ) and members of their own families, the political power of the Great Families, qua families, waned. Hanmen themselves, the new rulers rose to power through military prowess. Making no effort to deprive higher-ranking families of their privileges, including their right to hold certain offices, they managed nevertheless to alter the balance of power by narrowing these virtually hereditary offices to functions largely ceremonial in nature. Simultaneously, they appointed other hanmen, who had largely demonstrated their talents on the battlefield, to civil offices which, although often of low rank, nevertheless afforded real power.[11]

Such a one, for example, was Xiao Daocheng (427–482). A northern family, the Xiao had crossed the river during the upheavals at the end of the third century to settle in Southern Lanling. The family claimed descent from a minister of the Western Han period, down through twenty-four generations of officials. Nevertheless, we first hear of them in the Song period, when Xiao Daocheng rose to prominence through military exploit, to become a general and the duke of


Qi.[12] As weaker emperors succeeded Song Wen Di, the mighty general became the protector and power behind the throne. In the end, he bowed to the importunities of loyal ministers and in 479 mounted the throne in his own right, as Emperor Gao of the Southern Qi dynasty.

The new dynasty, wracked by incessant struggles for the succession among Daocheng's direct and collateral descendants, was bloody and short-lived.[13] In 502 a distant relative—and yet another general—deposed the last Southern Qi emperor, to establish himself as the first emperor of the Liang dynasty (502–557).

As their real power faded, it is little wonder that the Great Families (and, indeed, all members of the official class) became ever more zealous in insisting on their legal status as high-ranking, "pure" families of the realm. The perquisites accompanying such status were real enough, and the offices they were entitled to hold could, if properly filled, ensure continued wealth.[14] Since a family's lineage and the high offices filled by ancestors were determining factors in a family's status and privileges, genealogies loomed large in discussions of the period, and the official registers that formed the basis for determining family status became a constant source of contention.[15] Southern families were not supposed to have the same privileges as northern émigré families; more recent émigrés from the north were looked down upon by everybody; hanmen were not to hold high office; the "pure" and the "muddy" should never mix. Or so it was argued.

In fact, they did mix. The obsession tells us so. The vehemence of Shen Yue's famous accusation against a member of the official class who married his daughter to a man of dubious ancestry argues that it was no isolated incident.[16] "If this tendency is not cut short," he exhorted the emperor, "the flood gates will open, and the dirtying of generations and the begriming of families will spread everywhere."[17] Shen Yue deplored the decay of manners and morals as families of the official class (yiguan ) disregarded their proper station. "Their relatives by marriage are of the lowest sort; . . . clear-eyed and shamelessly, completely without reverence, they put their ancestors up for sale, as if they were roadside peddlers."[18]

On paper, it was a rigid class system; in life, a more mobile society prevailed in which a low-born man of talent and a high-born family with daughters could join forces to do well.[19] Several daughters of the Langya Wang clan, for example, became empresses in the Southern Qi period, and Langya Wang and Xie males married princesses of the Song and Xiao imperial lineages, to the benefit of both sides.


Casting and Cutting

Beset both by external forces from the north and by internal contention, and therefore occupied with the incessant struggle to maintain power, the governing elite, it might be assumed, could have had little time or thought for the niceties of life. On the contrary, the arts flourished, to such an extent that the Toba-Wei rulers of the north were dazzled by southern culture and refinement, by reports of the splendid palaces and Buddhist temples that adorned Jiankang, and sought to emulate their enemies.[20] The southern emperors chose eminent scholars as tutors for their sons and sponsored academies of learning for children of high-ranking officials.[21] When the Qi crown prince Changmao (Wenhui) resided in the Eastern Palace, for example, one of his staff members was Shen Yue (441–513). Courtier, historian, bibliophile, phonologist, poet, and essayist, Shen Yue rose from poverty to serve three dynasties.[22] His influence on the heir apparent was so great that no king or noble seeking favor obtained it without his approval.

An educated man was expected to know the traditional Confucian Classics, the works of Laozi and Zhuangzi, and history.[23] Changmao himself lectured and debated at the National Academy on the Rites, the Yijing, and the Classic of Filial Piety.

Above all, an educated man was expected to be interested in literature—to create it, if he could, and to have ideas about its creation. The late fifth and early sixth centuries became another bench mark in the history of Chinese literature, when for the first time literature was officially separated from scriptural scholarship, philosophy, and history.[24] It was a fulfillment of Cao Pi's third-century tentative valuations of literature as an endeavor to be appreciated, and rewarded, in its own right.

If the most creative names associated with that literature came more often from families of the shi or official class, the greatest patrons were members of the imperial families.[25] Surrounding themselves with men of literary talent, they created private salons for which the sole criterion for membership was devotion to literature and learning, rather than official rank or family status. Needless to say, only men of considerable education were qualified to participate in these activities, as they amassed libraries, assembled anthologies, and critically scrutinized the literature of the past.[26] Although this education was devoted, in these circumstances, to private (or at least semiprivate) activity, it was not without political and social consequence. Men


of literary talent, for example, found patrons among members of the imperial family. Dependent upon their specific patron, their political and social fortunes were, like those of erudites of the early third century, allied to his. It required considerable skill for a littérateur to stay in favor with his patron yet retain sufficient independence to leap from a sinking ship and survive. Moreover, the men of a particular literary coterie, although of varying official ranks, nevertheless interacted as equal participants who admired, supported, and recommended each other.[27] Thus, literature—its study and expression—became an avenue to official promotion and social mobility.

Changmao's brother, Xiao Ziliang, King Wenxuan of Jingling (460–494), presided over such a group at the famous Western Lodge, outside Jiankang.[28] An antiquarian like his brother, Ziliang was a collector and a connoisseur.[29] The prince's biography states that he summoned scholars to copy the Classics and other works, and Buddhist monks to debate the Law and regulate the chanting of sutras[*] . "Not since the crossing of the River [in 317] had clergy and laity so flourished."[30]

The group of scholars summoned to the Western Lodge was the forerunner of the more famous, and self-conscious, literary salons of the succeeding dynasty. Although the prince's biography does not name any of the men who gathered around him, later sources are more specific. Shen Yue's biography in the Liang shu mentions six: Ren Fang, Fan Yun, Wang Rong, Xie Tiao, Xiao Chen, and, of course, Shen Yue himself.[31] The Annals section of the same history, however, adds two more names: Lu Chui and Xiao Yan, who later became the first Liang emperor.[32] They were called, say the Tang historians, perhaps in reminiscence of the Prince of Huainan's circle of friends (second century B.C. ), "the Eight Friends." Men both from southern and from northern families and of varying social backgrounds thus came together to pursue their common interest, literature.[33] And if the king of Jingling is not remembered for his own literary talent, he is famous as the patron of some of the most eminent poets and scholars of his day, men who inaugurated the great Yongming efflorescence of literary activity.


The tradition of the Seven Worthies intersects with the literary interests of the period to form new angles from which we may view


their continuing importance as symbols of the cultivated gentleman. If we knew only that the New Tales of the World continued to circulate widely in these later centuries, that fact would be sufficient to establish the continued interest in our subjects. That Liu Jun, probably about the end of the fifth century, produced a commentary to the earlier work suggests that the original had not lost its appeal. It is to this commentary, as I have earlier noted, that we owe our knowledge of many other anecdotes about the Seven Worthies, and we are thus assured that they were in circulation at the end of the century.[34]

Perhaps the most important evidence for the continuing tradition of the Seven Worthies as cultivated gentlemen is to be found in Huijiao's Lives of Eminent Monks (Gao seng zhuan ), completed sometime between 519 and 530.[35] In his pious contribution to hagiography, Huijiao included Sun Chuo's fourth-century characterizations of early Buddhist monks, each spiritually one with the Worthies of the Bamboo Grove. If the Worthies' images as cultivated gentlemen, lofty and tranquil, had not continued to be potent, Huijiao would not have made a point of including them in his proselytizing work.[36]

From these two sources alone we would be certain that the cultivated gentleman, as exemplified by the Seven Worthies, was still an important social ideal. But that ideal had become more complex in real life, and it is therefore of value to inquire into the tradition more closely, for it must be seen to affect the actions or interests of rulers.

Shen Yue, who himself was likened to Shan Tao for his circumspection and length of service, wrote an essay on the Seven Worthies.[37] Xi Kang and Ruan Ji, men of outstanding talent, lived in a corrupt age and were the victims of vile slander, he said. Beset by danger, theirs was a rugged road. Their rejection of ceremony and proper behavior, their carousing, were merely devices, a cover, to protect themselves. "So they filled their cups the whole day through." One cannot drink alone, he notes, and so the other five were invited to join the group. "Together, with no discord, arm in arm, under the great trees they rambled. . . . From [this] distance, we relish the wonderful [stories], but their profundity we can barely discern."[38]

Like earlier poets, such as Tao Yuanming and Yan Yanzhi, the Qi and Liang poets imitated the works of Ruan Ji and Xi Kang, and in abundance. Every nuance of such imitations, or of allusion, would have been readily grasped by the audience for whom they were written.[39]

With the explosion of interest in literature, some of our exemplars received a good deal more attention than did others. The literary savants of the time were far more interested in the works of Xi Kang


and Ruan Ji than they were in the political successes of Wang Rong or Shan Tao. The Wen xuan, the great literary anthology compiled under the direction of the crown prince of the Liang dynasty, Xiao Tong (501–531), includes many works by Xi Kang and Ruan Ji, one work by Xiang Xiu (his reminiscence of Xi Kang), and Liu Ling's "Ode to Wine."[40] Zhong Rong (469–518), in his Shipin (Criticism of Poetry), assigns both Xi Kang and Ruan Ji to the upper ranks of poets.[41] Ruan Ji's work, he remarks, "abounds in melancholy," while Xi Kang's poetic figures are "pure and remote (qing yuan )."[42]

Finally, I turn for guidance to that supreme contribution to Chinese literary theory and criticism, Liu Xie's The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons (Wenxin diaolong ).[43] Discussing literary talents of the past, Liu Xie remarks that Xi Kang's essays express "the mind of a master" and that Ruan Ji's poetry "is permeated with his whole spirit and life." Evaluating poetry of the Zhengshi period (240–248), Liu concludes that only Xi Kang, "whose works are characterized by pure and lofty [qing jun ] emotions, and Juan [Ruan Ji], whose ideas are far-reaching and profound, achieved outstanding stature."[44]

Ruan Ji "sang in the spirit of a recluse a tune wafted into the distance," while Xi Kang "gave us high spirit and bright colors." In his discussion of musical poetry (yuefu, literally, Music Repository), Liu Xie refers once to Ruan Xian, whom he commends for his musical acumen.[45] Thus, many of the same qualities that men of the fourth century applied to the personal characters ofXi Kang, Ruan Xian, and Ruan Ji were seen by men of the late fifth and the sixth century to characterize their literary gifts.[46] They were judged and ranked as artists (or, like Ruan Xian, as connoisseurs) in precisely the same terms with which they might once have been recommended for office or, as we have seen, as social examplars. The art of judging had discovered Art.

Liu Xie's high opinion of Ruan Ji and Xi Kang did not extend to all the members of the Bamboo Grove, however. Xiang Xiu's deficiencies as a writer, for example, were revealed by his exaggeration of Xi Kang's political errors; it was a literary, as distinct from a character, flaw (although, as we shall note, the two were not without connection). As for Wang Rong, we are told only that he "vulgarly sold offices and haggled for bargains."[47]

It is only natural that those Worthies who did not write essays and poems should, as a result, receive scant attention from Liu Xie and his literary-minded contemporaries. Yet in his remarks about Wang Rong one detects a certain disdain, a hint of a judgment that, all in all,


artists are superior to men of action, whom worldly pursuit inevitably sullies. Of course, literary writers also have their faults of character, and Liu Xie's list is lengthy and heterogeneous. Some writers, alas, were greedy, corrupt, or frivolous. Others loved to drink, had no sense of shame, or were haughty and conceited. Although these latter charges, as we know, were often leveled at the Seven Worthies in the past, none of their names appear on Liu's list, one which he promptly balances by pointing out that generals and ministers also have their flaws. If a man of Wang Rong's caliber had faults, asks Liu Xie, why expect otherwise of writers? In spite of his shortcomings, however, Wang Rong was not excluded from the Bamboo Grove, because he had achieved a great name, "and the criticisms [against him] were somewhat moderated."[48]

Aside from the historical fact that Wang Rong's illustrious career (and peccadillos) was realized long after the purported date of the revels in the Bamboo Grove, several points are raised by Liu Xie's remarks. The first is that the sixth-century critic sees the Bamboo Grove as something of value, a circle for the elect. Moreover, since Ruan Ji and Xi Kang are consistently praised by Liu Xie as writers, and since other Worthies are either not mentioned at all (Shan Tao, Liu Ling) or mentioned only in passing (Xiang Xiu, Ruan Xian), it is reasonable to assume that Liu Xie perceived the two poets as the leaders of the group, who chose to admit Wang Rong (who had faults, as they did not). Finally, it appears that Liu Xie regards those who produce literature as more valuable than, for example, those who are merely chief ministers of the land. His views of the Bamboo Grove are not so different from those of Shen Yue, who also distinguished among the members of the group. Ruan Ji and Xi Kang were men of sincerity, forced to hide their deepest feelings; the others joined them in the Grove simply because they were convivial.[49] Shen Yue speaks of the men, Liu Xie of their literary works; in either case, the emphasis is on the same values of profundity, purity, loftiness. Dai Kui's earlier defense of the men of the Bamboo Grove seems now, in Shen Yue's version, tinged with rue, like Tao Yuanming's perception of Rong Qiqi. Prices must be paid, compromises take their toll, as Shen Yue well knew.[50]

The valuation of men of literary attainment as superior to government ministers appears to reverse that of the men discussed in the preceding chapter, men who weighed almost every talent and action in terms of ability to hold office, and it is therefore instructive to inquire further into Liu Xie's point of view.


In drawing on his formulations, I do not mean to imply that he created the image of the gentleman for his period. For the argument at hand, the significance of his work resides in its reflection of certain values and concerns of his period. Our concern is with royal exemplars, and we shall observe that this image shines most brilliantly in his text. To whom, we must ask, did Liu Xie address his words, those exquisitely balanced phrases, so recondite that only men of superior perception could have appreciated them? (We are told, for example, that Shen Yue kept a copy of the work in reach at all times.)[51]

The Capacity of a Vessel

Liu Xie tells his readers that "he who wants to stand out above the others must depend on his intelligence. . . . If a man really wants to achieve fame, his only chance is to devote himself to literature." He has thus moved beyond Cao Pi's earlier view that literature is one of two ways to achieve fame and immortality. It has become the only way. This narrows the field considerably, for, as Liu Xie repeatedly stresses, literary talent is innate. It cannot be acquired. "In the use of language and in the grasp of content, a man is destined to be either mediocre or brilliant, and no one can make him what is contrary to his talent." Yet, this innate talent, if it is to result in good writing, must be cultivated. "And no one has ever heard of achievement out of proportion to a man's scholarship; and in style and form, he is destined to be either graceful or vulgar, and few can be what is contrary to their training." Liu Xie's view of human nature is, in fact, no different from that of Liu Shao in the third century, nor has the realm of discourse changed so entirely as it would seem. For "the beauty one imparts to his language depends . . . entirely on his temperament and nature."[52] Ruan Ji, therefore, sang in the spirit of a recluse because he was "easy and free [ti tang ]." Xi Kang gave us high spirit because he was "outstandingly talented and gallant [jun xia ]."[53]

Elsewhere Liu Xie insists that the main purpose of literary writing is not to achieve fame but to express the inner feeling.[54] Although the ancient poets understood that purpose,

works which are based on genuine feeling become more scarce every day, while those that aim at merely literary achievement become more and more abundant. People whose minds are completely dominated by worldly ambition sing vaguely of retirement, while people whose hearts are wholly entangled in the business of the day purposelessly paint a


life beyond this workaday world. These people have lost their souls, and live lives of contradiction.[55]

We need not be concerned with those at whom Liu Xie may have aimed his barbs. What matters is that this only road to fame requires, in addition to talent and scholarship, sincerity. A man's writing, to be great literature, must truly correspond to his inner being. Those who are dominated by worldly ambition do not create Art.

There was once a (Golden Age for men of literature, Liu Xie tells us. Cao Cao and his sons, Cao Pi and Cao Zhi, themselves loved and wrote poetry. "These three, important as their positions were, all showed great respect for others who had outstanding literary talent. Hence, many talented writers gathered around them."[56] It was a glorious time, as

goblets in hand, [they] proudly showed their elegant style and, moving with a leisurely grace while they feasted, formed songs with a swing of the brush. . . . An examination of their writings reveals that most of them are full of feeling. This is because they moved in a world marked by disorder and separation, and at a time when morals declined and the people were complaining, they felt all this deeply in their hearts, and this feeling was expressed in a style which is moving. For this reason their works are full of feeling and life.[57]

Thus do great images survive.[58] As for Liu Xie's own era (the Southern Qi), his panegyric to the dynasty suggests that once again a Golden Age may have descended: "When our august Ch'i [Qi] came to rule, all good fortune descended upon the virtuous and enlightened. [All the previous Qi rulers] were gifted with literary talent and all were men of enlightenment; continuously brilliant, they have enjoyed great blessings."[59] See how the present ruler's talent and patronage glorify the realm:

Now His Majesty has just begun his sage reign, and the world is bathed in the light of his literary thought. The deities of the seas and mountains bestow upon him divine perception, causing his native talent to flower forth. He drives the flying dragons through the heavenly path, and harnesses the thoroughbreds for a ten-thousand-li trip. Works on the Classics and government institutions under his reign have surpassed those of the Chou [Zhou] and can look down upon those of the Han with contempt. . . . Such great style and wondrous beauty I with my sluggish brush hardly dare try to depict.[60]

Liu Xie is unambiguous—its literature makes a dynasty great. Moreover, as he cautions elsewhere, only experts are qualified to appraise that literature. It is therefore essential, he argues in his final


chapter, that literary men be employed in government, for only they combine the ability to manage affairs of state with the "beautiful patterns" in which that ability must properly be expressed. Neither pedigree nor wealth will glorify the dynasty, and he who would be a great ruler must recognize where true greatness lies, cultivate it in himself (if he is fortunate enough to have the talent), and seek it in others.[61]

When official rank and unofficial power diverge, new standards are likely to be raised in pursuit of privilege. As the actual power of the Great Families waned, and as men of lower family-rank supplanted them, the criterion of "talent" was once again promulgated as the measure. This time, however, the sign of talent (as Liu Xie argued the case) was literary knowledge and ability. It automatically ruled out anyone, high or low, who could not write, or who failed to appreciate such writing, which is to say, those who lacked either literary talent or education or both.[62] And it offered the descendants of even military men another way to become cultivated gentlemen—a way that might even exclude some of their higher-born in-laws.

The true gentleman of the fourth century was recognized by his tranquillity and cultivated self-possession. Perhaps no single idea is alluded to more frequently in Qi and Liang discussions of literature than the quotation from the Analects that heads this chapter: "If his substance exceeds his style, he's a rustic. If his style exceeds his substance, he's a pedant. But if his style and substance are in harmonious balance—why, then, you have the gentleman (junzi )." Now, however, the dictum of Confucius is applied, not to men, but to their literature, the substance and style of which must be in harmony. This balance in literature, however, occurs only when that literature is in harmony with the character of the writer. It is a basic theme of Liu Xie's aesthetic, one to which he repeatedly alludes.[63]

The emphasis on the words of the Master was not, as it might seem, a plea for a return to Han propriety and decorum. The direct source for Liu Shao's standard was not the Confucian Classics. It was Cao Pi. His ideas on literature were the springboard for the important literary criticism of the Qi-Liang period, including Liu Xie's brilliant treatise. In the letter mourning the loss of his literary friends, the future Wei emperor had subjected their work to critical scrutiny and had referred to the same ideal, in the context of literature. Xu Gan, he said, "harbored his inner being (zhi ) in his literature (wen ). Calm and with few desires, he yearned to retire to Ji Mountain. We may say that [in his] harmonious balance he was truly the gentleman."[64]


Liu Xie's allusions to an allusion, therefore, were not a rejection of Wei-Jin thought and behavior, but rather a recasting—almost an elevation—that upheld new standards of decorum. Behavior (literary style, wen ), as always, marked the man (his talent, his character, substance, zhi ). Only when the two appeared in harmonious balance could one find, not only great literature, but the junzi. The cultivated gentleman had become a classic.

Vita Breva, Ars Longa

As in literature, so in life. Ministers and rulers, poets and ideal readers complement each other. "The writer's first experience is his inner feeling, which he then seeks to express in words. But the reader, on the other hand, experiences the words first, and then works himself into the feeling of the author. If he can trace the waves back to their source, there will be nothing, however dark and hidden, that will not be revealed to him. "[65] As Shen Yue understood the true feelings of Xi Kang and Ruan Ji (and the profound significance of the Bamboo Grove), as Liu Xie discerned the true quality of literature, so the ruler, in this paradigm, understood the true worth of his subjects.

Was the ruler listening to Liu Xie's argument? We know from the history of the period that princes of the Qi dynasty surrounded themselves with literary men, that they embellished the capital with fine palaces, splendid gardens, great temples. They sent as emissaries to the northern court only the most refined and cultivated of diplomats, able, presumably, to drive hard bargains, but able also to impress with their wit and refinement.[66] They were, in short, patrons of the arts and of gentlemen. Moreover, the southern emperors were exemplars, in terms of all things cultural, to their northern counterparts.[67] Liu Xie drew for his argument on real events and transformed them into a literary image in which any ruler, or aspiring ruler, could see himself mirrored.

As for a corresponding pictorial image, it did not require invention.[68] It was already there, rich in suggestion, simple to reproduce. Refined and self-possessed, pure and tranquil, the images of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi retained their earlier "character" but gained in depth. They too had become classics, models in their talent and ability for both rulers and courtiers, reminders in their life trajectories for those courtiers who wished to keep their heads (in


truth, they needed no reminders). And do they not also, in their group of eight, form a harmonious balance—from the total rejection of the world by Rong Qiqi to the complete immersion in worldly affairs of Wang Rong? As a group, in a sense, they sum up the totality of the courtier's world, and the courtier's dilemma. From the point of view of a ruling family, especially one of somewhat murky origin, is it not the mark of the true gentleman to appear in the company of such famous and gifted men, to join with them—like Cao Pi, primus inter pares, unceremonious but refined—in the subtlety of their outings, "like-minded persons to whom one is committed in friendship?"[69] The Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, as idea and its pictorial translation, are at once a link to the past and a timeless evocation of noble behavior and profound feelings. The tomb reliefs are the evidence that the imperial family had arrogated the symbol of the cultivated gentleman unto itself.

The influence of images, literary or visual, cannot be overestimated. One small anecdote in the History of the Qi Dynasty exemplifies their potency. The son of a general, Zhang Xintai, whose true bent was for calligraphy and history, had no choice (because of family classification) but to follow a military calling. A misfit, our hero dressed himself in patched clothing and deerskin cap, carried a zither, and rambled the countryside with common folk. The emperor was shocked by reports of his behavior, so unbecoming to the son of a general, and later ordered an inspection of his armor and weapons. The equipment thus confiscated, Zhang found himself with nothing to do. Settling beneath a pine tree in the imperial park, he proceeded to drink wine and chant poems.[70] Someone reported it to the emperor, who, in his rage, dismissed the hapless fellow. A few days later, however, in a calmer mood, the ruler summoned him and announced, "Since you don't enjoy being a soldier, we'll purify you (qing shi ) by giving you a civilian post."[71] This gracious bestowal by one capable of appreciating his true nature enabled Zhang Xintai to realize his natural métier. Ars est celare artem.[72]



Crow in the Sun.
Rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at Jinjiacun,
Danyang county, Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.
Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )


Hare in the Moon.
Rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at Jinjiacun,
 Danyang county, Jiangsu province.  Late fifth century A.D.
Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )



For further interpretation of the portraits, I turn now to a description of the pictorial décor of the three tombs built in the Southern Qi period. All the tombs were early broken into; this and ensuing damage from the elements left no tomb wholly intact. Initial reconstructions of décor were based on each tomb's surviving pictorial and inscribed bricks, which were then compared with the remains from the other two tombs.[73] What follows is a composite description of the three.

Although they differ somewhat in shape, all are single-chamber, barrel-vaulted tombs fronted by a narrow passageway. Except for basalt doors and frames, all are constructed of gray bricks, with the bricks of the surrounding walls arranged in layers, the typical three rows of horizontal bricks to one row of vertical bricks.

Pictorial decoration comprised both wall-paintings and pictures in brick-relief. The former, found in the passageways, appear to have been painted in red, white, and blue on a green ground. Unfortunately, the colors had for the most part peeled off or faded by the time of excavation, and only faint daubs were visible.

Relief bricks, however, enable us to tell more of the original ensemble. Many of the bricks in the burial chamber are embossed with designs such as blossoms, coins, or relief lines in checkerboard patterns, some of which bear traces of paint.[74] All the relief murals are constructed of two or more molded bricks. In the corridor, above the first pair of stone doors, are two discs, identified by inscription as "Little Sun" and "Little Moon" (presumably referring to the size of the mural). A three-footed crow with wings outspread stands inside the sun (fig. 36). In the moon can be seen a tree, identified in the report as a cassia, under which a hare stands on his two hind feet, his front paws holding a long pestle that rests inside a mortar (fig. 37).

On either wall of the corridor sits a single lion (77 × 113 cm) with lolling tongue and upswept tail (fig. 38). Traces of red paint remain on ears, eyes, nose, and tongue; cheeks are flecked with white. Showers of blossoms fall around him. Between the first and second doors of the corridor, on each wall, stands a guardian warrior (79 × 31 cm), wearing pleated trousers and a mailed doublet. He clasps a long sword that reaches from his waist to his feet.

As one enters the main chamber, a long mural (app. 2.40 × 0.94 m) is seen on each of the upper long walls (figs. 39 and 40).[75] The picture on the left (west) wall shows a man rushing forward. Turning from the waist, he gestures to a long tiger striding behind him. The picture



Rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at Jinjiacun, Danyang county,
Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.   Nanjing Museum.
(Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)

on the right wall is similar: the animal, however, is a dragon. Inscribed bricks identify the images as "Great Dragon" (da long ) and "Great Tiger" (da hu ). The tall, slender men wear short tunics tied at the waist by ribbons that float behind them, while feathers sprout from their sleeves and tight trousers (figs. 41 and 42). They wave toward the animals fly whisks or sheaves of grasses. One holds out to his animal companion a small ladle from which flames emerge.[76] Cloudlike swirls that surround the images and accompany blossoms hanging in the air reinforce the sense of rapid motion conveyed by the prancing figures and floating garments.

Above each animal three small figures face the winged men (figs. 43–45). Their knees are bent, their long robes and scarves twist, ripple, and float behind them.[77] They, too, are accompanied by cloudlike swirls and floating blossoms. Each flying creature holds an object: a flaming tripod, musical instruments, a tray, clusters of what are,



Immortals with Dragon.
Rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at Wujiacun, Danyang county, Jiangsu province.
Late fifth century  A.D.  Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

perhaps, jewels or fruits. Inscribed bricks found in the tombs identify them as celestials (tianren ).[78]

The portrait reliefs of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi, each figure separated by a single tree and accompanied by an inscribed brick, follow the murals of winged men and striding animals, and at the same level. Two of the images are now missing from the Wujia tomb; the order of the remaining forms and their division on the left and right walls are identical to those of the Jinjia tomb, as they are to the earlier, Nanjing relief. They are, moreover, almost the same size as the latter.[79] Traces of red paint remain on trees and musical instruments.

A few centimeters below these images, series of relief pictures, separated by bricks with floral designs, combine to form uniform murals, some 4.97 meters long, on both walls. Together the figures form a procession of foot soldiers and cavalry. The mailed horses are festooned with pennants and feathers; robed or trousered attendants bear standards or canopies; mounted musicians tootle pipes and bang drums. These are the honor guard, fit for an emperor (fig. 46).[80]

Thus, the Seven Worthies portraits, the only figure reliefs in the Nanjing tomb, have a new status. From the stone mythical animals that once lined the outer paths to the tombs, to the relief lions and



Immortals with Tiger.
Rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at Wujiacun, Danyang county, Jiangsu province.
Late fifth century  A.D.  Nanjing Museum. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

warriors that guard the corridors, to the appanages of attendants, cavalry, musicians, and so forth, the Worthies are now associated with royalty, wealth, and power.[81] The basis for their association lies not in their once-worldly rank, but in their symbolic status—like-minded persons to whom one is committed in friendship.

The other images in the tombs bespeak the concern for immortality, for which the tomb was, appropriately, the traditional site for its pictorial expression. None of these images is new. Countless tombs from the Han dynasty display moon-rabbits pounding the elixir of immortality, for example, or immortals (xian ), feathered creatures sporting with animals.[82] The authors of the archaeological reports identify the latter scenes as "Ascending to Heaven," speak matter-offactly of "herbs of immortality" (the sheaves of grasses, the clusters held by one of the celestials), and suggest that the flames of ladles and tripods might be melting cinnabar (important for compounding elixirs of immortality).[83]

Neither chimney sweeps nor emperors wish to come to dust, and it is only reasonable that imperial-tomb décor should reflect earnest hopes as well as the right of the deceased to preferment. For did not Shen Yue, in his History of the Song Dynasty, note that the three-footed crow appears when the one who rules shows compassion and filial devotion?[84] And did he not explain that when the ruler refrains from



Immortal with Tiger.
Detail of a brick relief mural from the Xiu'anling, Danyang county, Jiangsu province.
Late fifth century  A.D.  Nanjing Museum. 
(Photograph courtesy ofJames and Nicholas Cahill.)

delegating power to false ministers, the sun and the moon shine their lights brightly?[85]

The beliefs and their pictorial expressions are traditional. The association of scenes of immortality with portraits of the Seven Worthies, however, is new. The latter, like the images of the imperial cortège, represent the terrestrial existence of the deceased (his like-minded


companions), as the immortality scenes reflect his hoped-for heavenly existence. As such, the Seven Worthies murals, for reasons now clear, replace the countless images of bowing officials and imperial emissaries who attested the worldly fame and virtue of the deceased in Han tombs—a simple but sophisticated substitution.

Their pictorial association with such imagery may well imply that the Seven Worthies had themselves achieved immortality. From our point of view, this seems only appropriate. To this day they occupy a prominent position in Far Eastern thought and art; metaphorically speaking, they are immortal. For the men of the fifth and sixth centuries, however, immortality was no metaphor, and a great deal of energy was expended on achieving the desired reality.[86] Admiring the Seven Worthies, identifying with them, or emulating them in literary production or life-style, was one thing. Ascribing to them a realized immortality was quite another and, it seems to me, an innovation. Granted that the pictorial systems of these tombs utilize conventional images, the patron's choices from the pool available to him must nevertheless bear significance, if only in the superficial sense that he finds the images pleasing rather than strange or shocking.

The question I pose, then, is why did imperial patrons find it pleasing to see the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi, cultivated gentlemen and like-minded companions, in the company of immortals? The answer, I would speculate, lies in a fortunate accommodation of the Seven Worthies' ideal to the Daoist interests and beliefs of the Xiao family.

Six Dynasty developments in Daoist conviction and practice were to transform instituionalized Daoism forever.[87]A New Account of Tales of the World, so important an expression of values of certain of the fourth-century elite, makes no reference to the important instructions revealed by Perfected Immortals from the Heaven of Supreme Purity in a series of visions to an otherwise unknown Yang Xi. Nor does it mention their transcription—events that occurred at about the very time that Xie An, Sun Chuo, and Wang Xizhi were roaming the hills in convivial reclusion, debating Mysterious Learning, and admiring the landscape. Yet by the time of the accession of the first Southern Qi emperor, the esoteric texts of what was to become the Mao Shan sect loomed large in imperial interests. New realms of immortality, far higher and grander than those of the mere xian, had been revealed to Yang Xi, and it was not long before those who possessed its secrets attracted a following among the elite.[88]

There was no place in Mao Shan belief for the wonder-working



Immortal with Dragon.
Details of figure 39. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )



Celestials with Tiger.
Detail, rubbing of a brick relief mural from the Xiu'anling, Danyang county,
Jiangsu province. Late fifth century A.D.  Nanjing Museum.
(Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)

fangshi, or diviners, on whom earlier rulers—Cao Cao, for example—had relied, or for the superstitions of common folk.[89] For the Mao Shan sect, the highest levels of immortality, the Ranks of the Perfected, were reserved for the elect, sensitive and refined folk, capable of grasping spiritual subtleties.[90]

As Daoist beliefs changed, so did the style of its pictorial imagery, as both adapted to the values of the aristocracy. Missing from the Danyang scenes are the stocky or brutish immortals of so many Han depictions, replaced by slender, elegant creatures, whose graceful gestures authoritatively lure dragons and tigers, and by celestials, so light they soar. Their scarves and ribbons fly and twist in the wind, but they lose none of their unruffled composure. "How light and airy his graceful soaring," Zhi Dun had once remarked of Wang Meng.



Detail of figure 39.
 (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

Others had characterized Wang Xizhi as "now drifting like a floating cloud; now rearing up like a startled dragon."[91] Like celestials, the physical grace and elegance of men was a function of their inherent nature.

The Mao Shan texts were sacred, and so was their transmission. It was therefore crucial that the genuinely revealed manuscripts be weeded from the many forgeries in circulation by the late fifth century, and the Southern Qi rulers (like their Liu-Song predecessors) had a distinctly vested interest in encouraging the scholarly enterprise of collection, collation, and textual analysis that was required. For the texts, and their proper transmission, were the key to attaining the blessed state.[92]

The Ninth Patriarch of the Mao Shan sect is best known for his close relations with the first emperor of the Liang dynasty. But his work of Mao Shan scholarship and court proselytization began earlier, during the Southern Qi dynasty.[93] Poet, courtier, alchemist, and scholar, Tao Hongjing represented the new Daoist gentleman, at ease both at court and in reclusion. He received his first official appointment directly from the Qi emperor, Gao, and we learn from his



Detail, rubbing of a brick relief mural, tomb at
Jinjiacun, Danyang county, Jiangsu province. Fifth century A.D.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

biography that he loved to play the qin and chess, that he was a skillful calligrapher.[94] Indeed, it was the elegant prose-style of the four thcentury revelations and the exquisite calligraphy of their transcription (as fine as Wang Xizhi's), we are told, that first attracted his attention to the manuscripts.[95] Although Tao Hongjing's intimations of immortality began in childhood, the ultimate lodging of his faith awaited, it would seem, an aesthetic stimulus.



Musicians on Horseback.
Detail, rubbing of a brick relief mural, west wall,
tomb at Jinjiacun, Danyang county, Jiangsu province. Fifth century A.D.
Nanjing Museum.  (Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)

The most distinctive feature of the sacred texts of the Heaven of Supreme Purity (Shangqing jing ), one that distinguishes them so remarkably from earlier texts of the Daoist Canon, is their literary quality.[96] The themes themselves—journeys through the Heavens, visits with nonterrestrials, celestial repasts—were not new, any more than they had been to Ruan Ji or Xi Kang. It is, rather, the poetic treatment, the style, that is new for such texts. Many aspects of this style can be traced to the literature of the early third century and specifically to the works of Xi Kang and Ruan Ji.[97]

It is here, where religion and literature join, that a new layer of significance accrues to the Seven Worthies portraits. For cultivated gentlemen concerned with the tenets of the new persuasion, familiar as they were with the old stories as well as with the literary output of our exemplars, there must have been a new resonance.[98] By this time the literature and philosophy of Wei-Jin were classics, studied by every educated man. Ruan Ji's famous prose-poem on the wanderings of the Great Man, or Xi Kang's concern with nourishing life, his


invitations to stroll hand in hand in the Supreme Purity or to ascend to the Purple Court—these were the very stuff of revelation.[99] The anecdotes of Ruan Ji's whistling, Xi Kang's forge, encounters with old men of the mountains—these random bits of tradition acquired a new emphasis, from the fifth-century point of view.[100] They signaled a search for the Way by these famous men and linked them with Daoist adepts. The recluse Zong Ce, for example, who yearned to roam in mountains and who repeatedly refused requests to serve the imperial family, painted a picture of Ruan Ji meeting the hermit of Sumen and sat facing it.[101] Tao Hongjing, in his redaction of a portion of the Mao Shan texts (the Zhengao ), included in his list of Daoist adepts Sun Deng, identifying him as the one Xi Kang met in the mountains. Sun Deng, added Tao, was also a whistler.[102] The Zhengao also referred to Xi Kang's Gaoshi zhuan and noted that Xi Kang had copied sacred texts.[103]

It is unlikely that Mao Shan adherents believed that the Seven Worthies, or any one of them, had already entered the ranks of The Perfected, the highest realm of immortality. Xi Kang, for example, when viewed from the new vantage as an adept who strove for purification, would have been understood as one whose execution—deliverance from the corpse by means of a military weapon (bingjie )—resulted only in imperfect purification.[104] As such, however, he could have become an immortal at a lower level, while attainment of the highest state lay before him, in the future. Nor were the seemingly wordly involvements of such as Shan Tao or Wang Rong a bar to attainment of the Way, for it was no longer necessary to withdraw to the mountains to achieve immortality. The aristocratic adept could be a recluse at court and withdraw into himself. In addition to more traditional means, the pursuit of immortality now also authorized the interior search (meditation and visualization). The heart/mind was as effective a terrain as the mountain. Wherever he was, the adept need only be sincere in his heart/mind, firm in his rectitude, and the Dao would come.[105]

Far from seeing contradictions in the wayward strands of the Seven Worthies' lives and traditions, the Mao Shan adept could weave them into a new mantle. Shan Tao and Wang Rong were really pure and unsullied by their worldly contacts. Xi Kang, even after corporeal death, continued his spiritual progression. If the new mantle of belief fit the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi, it fit many who attended court funerals.

What they beheld in the arrangement of the murals was their own


future. The Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi are at the same level as the winged xian, who, in the Mao Shan hierarchy, have been reduced to lower-level immortals.[106] Above them, light as air, soar the celestials, visual hints of future glory. The portrait-mural itself—only men and trees, out of time and out of three-dimensional space; the slender (i.e., weightless) bodies and fluttering garments, so appropriate for those who have been roaming the heavens and have just now alighted for rest—is ideal for arousing and absorbing new associations. Unruffled, composed—how like the celestials they are! How like them are the celestials!

The very style of the forms, those thin, raised lines that contour only the essential, seems almost a deliberate choice. Indeed, it lacks the capability for conveying bulk: an artist cannot create the illusion of three-dimensional forms using only this technique. If a sense of weight—volume, solidity—had been pleasing to patrons, artists and craftsmen would have worked in a different style, as they so often did in the Han dynasty. We have only to look at the impressive modeling of the Eastern Jin relief bricks produced not far from Danyang to know that other styles were available if wanted.[107] Some of the floral reliefs in the Danyang tombs—for example, the embossed petals next to the xian —also convey a sense of bulk by their modeling.

That style has meaning is superbly exemplified by these portraits. For patrons who valued cultivated refinement and who yearned to soar, what other style could have been more appropriate?

Men of an earlier time characterized all the Seven Worthies as men of inner detachment, whose spontaneous but self-possessed behavior was the external sign of their inner purity. Later men, Shen Yue and Liu Xie for example, continued to see at least Ruan Ji and Xi Kang in that light, accepting even the others as like-minded companions. For Mao Shan adherents, also, it was the "inner detachment"—a purity for which the adept had to strive—that was the key to the Way.[108] It is not unreasonable to suggest that the Seven Worthies (and assuredly Rong Qiqi) had by this date achieved some measure of immortality in (enlightened) men's eyes.[109]

I doubt that members of the Qi imperial family arrived, like some Renaissance patrons, at the craftsmen's atelier with the Chinese counterpart of a neo-Platonic menu in hand. I do think, on the basis of what we know about the interests of the court, that patrons selected from the pool of workshop patterns images fraught with meaning, sacred and secular, for their lives. Indeed, with remarkable economy, three sets of images were linked in one chamber to arouse in those


who attended the funerals a host of multilayered associations, the full subtleties of which were likely to be grasped by only a select few. Even those of simple mind and small refinement, however, could not have failed to notice that emperors wished to be seen as worthy of admission to the Bamboo Grove, in this world and the next. It was for emperors that the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi waited, dignified but relaxed, self-possessed—as only cultivated gentlemen can wait.

"The poetic value of the simple image lies in its power to evoke endless associations regarding the essential qualities of the object in question, despite its brevity in presentation."[110] As in lyric poetry, to which this aperçu refers, the use of "simple images" in the Seven Worthies composition was the key to its survival. Had the original composition been more detailed, its figures interacting or placed unambiguously in time and space, it would have lost that simplicity whereby it aroused a host of associations in viewers, especially those capable of tracing the waves to their source, to whom the composition could reveal even the dark and hidden.

For such a one the source was not only the events, the literary works, the many traditions of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi.[111] It was also a tradition of the Bamboo Grove, a tradition that became more abstract as, paradoxically, it grew in specificity of location and detail. No matter that none of the trees in any of the extant compositions resembled actual bamboo—it was by now a concept, not a reality.[112] The merest allusion to that concept, laden with the freight of history, interscribed with all that seemed most civilized, could reassure an emperor that no barbarian from the north could match him. It comforted men like Shen Yue in their darkest moments, yet, at the same time, aroused their highest expectations. It no longer even mattered, as I shall demonstrate in the next chapter, whose names were inscribed on the bricks. The composition was, quite simply, the Bamboo Grove. Everyone knew that.


Conveying the Spirit

Portrayal is the selection of the appropriate type.
E. H. Gombrich, "The Grotesque Heads"

In preceding chapters I have been concerned with elucidating the meaning of the Seven Worthies reliefs to the viewers for whom they were intended, and I have argued that they were pictorial symbols for a social ideal. I have also maintained that these are portraits, reliefs intended to be like specific individuals (whose historicity, including Rong Qiqi's, was not doubted by either the makers or the viewers). The subjects portrayed had therefore to be seen not only as carriers of that ideal, as embodiments of values shared by certain social groups over time, but in ways that evoked a sense of their personal presence.

By definition, exemplary portraits, works of art, function in a triangular relationship of maker to subject to intended viewer. The artist's goal can never be solely the production of an aesthetic object, for the depiction of the subject of the work of art must act upon the


viewer to achieve a second intent, that of moving him to acts of emulation. At the same time, the subject of the portrait has an outside history, in this case study one certainly known to the viewer, who therefore does not come empty to the work of art. Moreover, the viewer also has a history, one that affects his response to the portrait and his capacity to identify with the subject. His reaction to the portrait cannot be divorced from these multivalent tensions, but rather arises from them, and is more likely to be couched in referential terms ("how like him it is!") than in aesthetic terms ("it is beautiful"). If the latter response occurs at all, it is most probably because the viewer has experienced the former. In this final chapter, therefore, I shall discuss the Seven Worthies portraits from the standpoint of verisimilitude (xingsi ) and examine in further detail the pictorial devices most essential for conveying the sense of a man's presence, and their consequent effect upon the viewers.

Signals of the Body

Heretofore I have discussed the three extant sets of portraits as if they were identical, as indeed they are in the sense that all three are portraits of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi. However, there are small differences among them, and comparison of the sets may sharpen our understanding of early Chinese portraiture and of the pictorial constants that conveyed the essence of an individual.

Both Danyang murals, like their predecessor, are composed of multiple bricks, and each figure is depicted in thin lines of relief. Both maintain the same pictorial arrangement of figures separated from each other by single trees, with no ground or other setting. At Wujiacun, the first two figures of the relief on the west wall are now missing, and only a segment of the third figure remains (fig. 4). Even if there were no inscribed brick naming him, we would recognize Shan Tao as he sits holding his wine bowl, his right hand clutching his left sleeve.

Facing him, the last figure on this wall reclines with his left elbow resting on a rectangular box, his left leg bent upward from the knee, the upturned foot perching on his right knee (fig. 47). In his left hand he balances a ruyi. Beside his bared right leg is a footed bowl. Icono-graphically, the figure conforms to that of Wang Rong in the Nanjing



Ruan Ji
at Wujiacun. Detail of figure 4. (From Yao and Gu,  Liuchao yishu. )

mural. Here, however, the inscribed brick reads, "Ruan bubing" (Officer Ruan), that is, Ruan Ji.

Similarly, on the opposite wall, the four figures correspond in postures and order to the images in the Nanjing tomb (figs. 48–50). The inscribed names, however, differ in their sequence. The figure slumped against a tree, for example, whom we know as Xiang Xiu, is here identified as Rong Qiqi. The long-haired figure plucking the zither on his knees, formerly seen at Nanjing as Rong Qiqi, is now, at Wujia, called Wang Rong.

In the tomb at Jinjiacun, the eight figures (all extant) are divided precisely as they are at Wujiacun, four figures on each side. On the west wall, an elaborately tangled gingko opens the scene, while next to it a figure depicted in frontal view sits erectly and turns his face in



Rong Qiqi  at Wujiacun.
Detail of figure 5. 
(Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.



Ruan Xian  at Wujiacun.
Detail of figure 5. 
(Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)



Wang Rong and Shan Tao  at Wujiacun.
Detail of figure 5. 
(Photograph courtesy of James and Nicholas Cahill.)

the direction of the next figure (fig. 51). The image is virtually identical to that of Xi Kang in the Nanjing mural, and so he is named here.

The second figure sits in profile view, his left leg outstretched, his right knee raised (fig. 52). Only the proximity of a small shrub, its wavy stems ending in ribbon like projections and a cluster of four overlapping rings, distinguishes this whistling image from its Nanjing counterpart, Ruan Ji. The inscribed brick, however, reads Liu Ling.



Xi Kang  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, west wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)



 Liu Ling  at Jinjiacun.
Details of figure 6, west wall.
(Photographs courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)



Shan Tao  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, west wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)



Ruan Ji  at Jinjiacun.
Details of figure 6, west wall.
(Photographs courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)



Wang Rong  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, east wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

In general form and sequence, the remaining figures at Jinjiacun are like those of the Wujiacun mural (figs. 53–58). However, the names accompanying the individual figures do not always follow the order of either the Nanjing or the Wujia inscriptions. For example, although the same figure in all three sets of reliefs is identified as Shan Tao, another figure is named Liu Ling on the Nanjing mural, Ruan Xian at Wujiacun, and Shan situ (Shan Tao) at Jinjiacun. Table 1 indicates the variations.

It should be noted that the first two names for Wujiacun are determined by inference from the order at Jinjiacun. Different characters are used for the same names (e.g., Liu Ling); official titles as well as personal names are used for figures (e.g., Shan Tao and Shan situ); on the Jinjia mural, one of the Seven Worthies, Xiang Xiu, is not named


Table 1

Tomb Inscriptions


Opposite Walls


Left Wall

Right Wall


Xi Kang, Ruan Ji, Shan Tao, Wang Rong

Rong Qiqi, Ruan Xian, Liu Ling, Xiang Xiu


Xi Kang, Liu Ling, Shan Tao, Ruan Ji

Wang Rong, Shan Tao, Ruan Xian, Rong Qiqi


Xi Kang, Liu Ling, Shan Tao, Ruan Ji

Rong Qiqi, Ruan Xian, Shan Tao, Wang Rong

Source: Adapted from Wenwu 1980.2:19.



Another Shan Tao  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, east wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

at all. Rather, Shan Tao is named twice, once by his official title. If the authors of the excavation report are correct in their inference that the two missing inscriptions at Wujiacun are those of Xi Kang and Liu Ling, then the name of Xiang Xiu would also have been omitted from the Wujia mural. Since Shan Tao's name (in one form or another) appears twice on both murals, then obviously the name of one of the Seven Worthies must have been omitted. Perhaps it is mere coincidence that Shen Yue omitted one of Yan Yanzhi's five poems to the Seven Worthies in his history of the Song dynasty.[1] The missing poem is the one to Xiang Xiu. I can think of no reason for a deliberate omission of the famous Lao-Zhuang exegete, unless, perhaps, his rejection of the search for long life made him unpopular in court circles.

Although the order of the names varies, a first glance at the two sets



Ruan Xian  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, east wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)

of Southern Qi forms and their order of presentation suggests that they are identical to each other and to the Jin-Liu-Song mural. Closer examination, however, reveals many differences between the former, and between them and the latter. A comparison of the same figure on each mural illuminates these differences. In the earliest relief, for example, the figure of Wang Rong reclines in the contortionist pose described above (figs. 21 and 22). His head, depicted in three-quarter view, tilts back slightly. The long, firm, and slightly curving lines of his robe wrap his upper torso and tightly cover his left arm and hand.



Rong Qiqi  at Jinjiacun.
Detail of figure 6, east wall.
(Photograph courtesy of Amy and Martin J. Powers.)


The wrinkled fabric of sleeve—evident from the short, broken curves—hangs in dangling excess of trailing loops. In contrast, calves are bared, as is part of the left thigh, while the pushed-back skirt of the robe cascades behind the right calf in gentle, soft folds, convincingly depicted by long and varied curves. That the robe is bunched under Wang Rong's left thigh is clearly indicated by the narrowly spaced, wavy and broken lines of the fabric as it streams down over the top of the thigh. The dangling loops and frequent lines of falling and wrinkled cloth suggest a weightlessness of fabric that combines with the firm, unmodulated, slow curves of the body to suggest those qualities of remoteness and repose that I have interpreted as total tranquillity. The same figure at Wujiacun (identified as RuanJi) is depicted in precisely the same contortionist posture (fig. 47). Here, however, he has long hair, a full beard, and a furrowed brow. The same form in the same position at Jinjiacun (also identified as Ruan Ji) has a fuller face and, like the Nanjing image, lacks the marks of age exhibited by the Wujia figure (fig. 54). Unlike the Nanjing image, however, the Jinjia figure has an open mouth.[2]

Although the faces of both Southern Qi figures are depicted in three-quarter view, their heads tilt at different angles. Whereas the head of the figure's ruyi tilts down at Jinjiacun, at Wujiacun it tilts up. The most significant difference between the two later forms and the earlier, however, is in the depiction of fabric. The lines suggesting weight and hang of cloth are more patterned, less varied, than are the drapery lines of the Nanjing figure. At Wujiacun, for example, the folds of cloth (which on this figure cover the right calf) are depicted by a series of virtually identical lines, curves, and loops. This is observable as well on its Jinjia counterpart, where the greater number of dangling loops and rippling lines of hanging cloth convey a greater sense of movement. Despite the differences, on both figures (and, indeed, on all those of the two later murals) the lines of drapery tend to be more regular and patterned than on the Nanjing relief. They suggest, that is, design, rather than any concern for the actual hang of cloth.

On the earliest mural Ruan Ji's weight rests on his right hand, and his left hand makes the gesture of whistling (figs. 17 and 18). The same Jinjia figure (identified as Liu Ling), however, reverses the arm gestures, so that we see the figure's robed back rather than his open robe and bared chest (fig. 52). The curious shrub of the Jinjia scene does not appear on the Nanjing relief.

As another example, we may compare details of the image that at


Nanjing is identified as Liu Ling, at Wujiacun as Ruan Xian, and at Jinjiacun as Shan Tao (figs. 25 and 26, 49, 56). On the Nanjing relief the left arm of the figure is bent at the elbow, and the hand holds a wine cup. But at Wujiacun and Jinjiacun, the left arms of the figures extend out and down with the hands upraised and slightly cupped.[3] All three figures, however, are depicted with faces in three-quarter view, tilting downward slightly, as if staring at their fingers. The shapes of the two Southern Qi faces, however, are different: the curve of the Jinjia cheek, for example, is rounder than that of Wujia; the jaw of the former is depicted by a curve, that of the latter by an almost straight line, and so on. Whereas the original report describes the Nanjing figure as holding his bowl in a self-possessed, perfectly composed manner, the other two figures are characterized as staring frozenly at their fingers and grinning.[4] I do not see these differences in expression, and although there are a surprising number of small differences in the depiction of the two Southern Qi images—such as in the way in which the draperies fall and reveal the form beneath and in the exact position of the elbows—the general postures of all three images are the same.

I have noted only a few examples of the many differences among the mural images. Shapes of vessels, their presence or absence, differ; details of clothing vary, both in style and in the way they drape the figures; names, although drawn from the same pool, are not always attached to the same figures; and so forth.[5] Moreover, whereas the draperies of the Nanjing images fall and flutter as they are observed to do in life, on the later reliefs they fold, hang, fly, curve, and swoop with occasional disregard for gravity or other laws of the observable universe.

These differences, especially those of the names, raise the question of verisimilitude in portrayal. When the Danyang portraits were first published, the author of one of the original reports argued that the Nanjing portrayals were the closest of the three to historical fact. The correct names, that is, were associated with the correct figures.[6] To summarize the argument with one example, the Nanjing figure of a long-haired, bearded man wearing a robe belted by a cord and playing a zither and named Rong Qiqi by inscription is the accurate depiction of Rong Qiqi, according to the texts. The same aged musician at Wujiacun is surely not the "historical" Wang Rong, as the inscription there states, for nothing in the records characterizes Wang Rong as an aged, reclusive musician. On the other hand, the same image at Jinjiacun, inscribed as Rong Qiqi, is historically accurate, for although


the face is different from those at Nanjing and Wujiacun, the attributes—of zither, belted robe, long hair—correspond to the texts.

When compared with the two later examples, the Nanjing mural does suggest a greater interest in depicting historical figures in ways that conform to a shared conviction of reality—that is, to a contemporary tradition perceived as historical fact. This interest in pictorial individuation, however, is confined, save for Ruan Ji's one gesture, to the use of attributes. For, as I have argued, all eight images conform, by virtue of their postures (even though no two are identical) and placement in the composition, to the same conviction of reality—that is, to the same set of values all the subjects were believed to exemplify. As I noted earlier of the Nanjing portraits, had the artist reversed the inscriptions and transferred Liu Ling's attribute, the wine cup, to the figure of Xiang Xiu, the men of the fourth and fifth centuries would have had no difficulty accepting the identification, nor would we. Scramble the attributes (but do not remove them entirely, for they are crucial to the depiction of character), shuffle the inscriptions, and we are still left with the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi. By the end of the fifth century, it no longer mattered (as perhaps it did in the earlier period).

One may argue artisan error or ignorance, as indeed Zheng Minzhong adduces for his case that the original Seven Worthies composition was designed by a craftsman.[7] He offers, as partial evidence, that the musical instruments held by Xi Kang and Rong Qiqi are in the wrong positions (the bridge of the qin should be at the proper right) and that the fingering is therefore irrational (figs. 16, 58). He rules out copyist's error and notes that the famous painters of the time were all familiar with the instrument. Hence they could not possibly have made such a mistake.[8]

However, and regardless of the status of the creator, one cannot argue ignorance for the patrons of these particular funerary reliefs. If the "errors"—whether for musical instruments or for the naming of the figures—were not corrected, it is because the patrons did not care, which is to say that they did not see them as important.[9] As the trees, regardless of species, were, to the men who saw them, the Bamboo Grove, so the men depicted were the rightful occupants of that Grove, cultivated gentlemen. Whatever the small quantum of individualization of the earliest extant portraits, by the later period that concern is apparent only in the continued use of variations in posture, all of which have the same significance. The Bamboo Grove had become a classic, its pictorial depiction, a stereotype. Nevertheless, and not


exceptionally, these continue to be portraits, with specific identities, as the application of inscriptions insists.[10] Precisely because the composition was, by the later date, a convention, the order of inscriptions was unimportant. Everyone—everyone who mattered, that is—knew who the subjects were.

Similarly, one might argue that the disregard for the effects of gravity on the draperies of the later reliefs is the result of inferior workmanship.[11] Is quality the issue, however, when, in the same tomb, a celestial being is depicted in such a way that the twisting posture, the curving and zigzag ribbons, convince the viewer that the image flies through space, while another image wears draperies, the stiff, patterned lines of which fail to convince? At the least, it can be argued that "convincingness," or "lifelikeness," or verisimilitude did not always matter, or mattered only selectively, itself a significant finding if we are concerned with the meaning of portraiture.[12] On the other hand, a discerning viewer might perceive in Xi Kang's clothing—where a tongue of drapery points straight up while a flap of sash points straight down—information more important than the direction of the wind that stirs but one of them. Immortals, after all, are not subject to the laws of gravity. I cannot know if the seeming discrepancy was intentional. I do argue, however, that it was, at the least, irrelevant to the patron (else it would, and could, have been corrected), and that at the most, it had meaning.

The differences among the three sets of reliefs, however, are minor compared with their similarities. For example, although the names are distributed differently among the eight images of each tomb, the same names appear throughout all three murals, and all are among the group known as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove plus the recluse Rong Qiqi. The basic composition—an individual separated from other figures by a single tree on either side—remains constant. All the informal, lounging postures of the Nanjing mural are found on the two later ones, and they appear in exactly the same sequence. All the figures are seated at the same level on fur mats, and although there are differences in details of clothing, all the robes may be characterized as loose, casually worn. The significance of the clothing for the interpretation of the reliefs is such as to warrant its classification as an attribute.[13] All the men are barefoot. Not only are the same attributes found in all three reliefs, but, with the exception of Liu Ling's wine cup (missing from the later scenes), all are associated with the same forms. The ruyi, for example, always accompanies the figure who leans on a box or a pillow and who sits in a position that is anatomi-


cally impossible. The zither is associated in both extant depictions with the figure of Xi Kang (and I do not doubt that it was also included with the missing first image at Wujiacun); the round stringed instrument is always associated with the seventh, penultimate figure; the same kind of zither always accompanies the last figure. And so on.

It was the pictorial constants that retained cultural relevance over time. Body behavior, as I have repeatedly stressed—not the face, not the eyes—defined the man and offered the pictorial key to his character.[14] Attributes, clothing, postures, and gestures—depicted with a superb subtlety of line and combined with a deceptively simple arrangement of forms—achieved the pictorial expression, the embodiment of a character that was a shared ideal for a particular social class in a specific region of China at the same time that it was perceived as the personal makeup of a specific group of individuals.[15] This emphasis on the body and its movements should not surprise. We have only to ask ourselves where in Rigaud's portrait of Louis XIV lies the unwavering conviction of a man's innate right to rule (fig. 59). The superb hauteur resides, not in Louis's face as he glances at us, but in Louis's stance, its grandeur confirmed by the Sun King's robes.

Such were the devices of the maker; what of their effect on the viewer?

Spiritual Communion

What concerned [them] was the capacity of the inner to permeate the outer. They expected their soul to display its quality in their body, and, along with the body, in those concrete and visible particulars of poise and lifestyle that counted for them. . . . They believed without question that moral paradigms that had bitten to any depth in the soul would and should show themselves by reassuringly consistent body signals—by poise, by tone of voice, even by the control of breathing.[16]

It is a percipient characterization, one offered, however, not about the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom, but about the educated elite of Greek-Roman antiquity. The generalization is remarkably appropriate to the men, makers and viewers, discussed in this study. As Mencius had stated:

That which a profound person [junzi ] follows as his nature, that is to say, humanity, rightness, the rites and wisdom, is rooted in his heart, and man-



Portrait of Louis XIV,  by Hyacinthe Rigaud. 1701.
Château de Versailles. (Cliché des Musées Nationaux—Paris.)

ifests itself in his face, giving it a sleek appearance. It also shows in his back and extends to his limbs, rendering their message intelligible without words.[17]

To the Chinese, too, a "human person not only [drew] encouragement and validation from the moral exemplars of the past, but [was] actually able to make himself transparent to the values summed up in these exemplars."[18] The analogy is not fortuitous, for the two worlds, despite their many differences, were imbued with the conviction that "the Classics, a literary tradition, existed for the sole purpose of 'making [persons] into classics.'"[19]


As Confucius, self-consciously exemplary, was the model for Han dynasty Confucians, so the Seven Worthies (and Rong Qiqi) became a collective model for later men. Morality itself never ceased to be the standard; its criteria and their manner of expression, however, changed as the new world covered the ashes of the old. And where the exemplar of the earlier period had been a unifying agent, a model with whom the entire community could identify, the later model was divisive. Only a small segment, a governing elite, could identify with it and thus aspire to emulate it.

Emperors, perhaps, admired the Seven Worthies for their talents and style. For their courtiers, however, the model retained its potency, and not merely as a new classic on which they projected their own values. On the contrary, the Bamboo Grove survived because it had been humanized.[20] The evidence of their lives and the anecdotes—amusing, earthy, defying of convention—commingled to invest these exemplars with those all too human qualities that later men, whether they admired or despised them, could recognize as their own.[21] The moral dilemmas that confronted Xi Kang or Ruan Ji or Rong Qiqi, the choices for which prices always had to be paid, were those faced by later men. Shen Yue spoke of the distance that blurred the significance of the Bamboo Grove; yet he deplored time's distance in the very context of expressing his understanding and, I would say, his kinship with its cohort.[22] The poets who wrote in the style of Xi Kang or RuanJi were not only exercising their craft, they were also expressing their identification with these earlier men.[23] "Only that man [Ruan Ji], grief-racked at the end of his road / Can know how hard is the way I travel," mourned Yu Xin (513–581).[24]

What linked the men of two different centuries was their shared human frailty, and to the later men these exemplars' means of coping seemed a model for heroic action—or nonaction. "When one establishes a 'spiritual communion' (shen-hui ) with the ancients, one emerges as their spokesman and delegate. One bridges the gap between one's spiritual contemporaries and one's temporal contemporaries in performing the creative act of a living transmitter."[25] It was precisely for their frailties, for their purely human heroism, that later men identified with them and gave to the Seven Worthies immortality.[26]

Generalizations aside, however, can we know how contemporary viewers responded to the Seven Worthies portraits? For what were they looking? That the portraits found favor in their eyes is evidenced, of course, by their repeated facture—once, from a painting to a


tomb relief, twice more, with certainty, as later tomb reliefs. Other evidence, however, enables us to imagine more specifically their response:

Ku K'ai-chih [Gu Kaizhi] painted a picture [hua ] of P'ei K'ai [Pei Kai] and added three hairs to his cheek. When someone asked his reason, Ku said, "P'ei K'ai was an outstanding and transparent person who possessed a knowledge of human capabilities. It's precisely these [three hairs] that are his knowledge of human capabilities."

Those who looked at the painting searched for this, and actually did feel that the added three hairs seemed somehow to make it possess spirit and intelligence to a far greater degree than at the time before they had been applied.[27]

Regardless of any event to which the attribute (three hairs) might be an allusion, Gu Kaizhi's remark is very clear about his intent. The three hairs have nothing to do with a physical characteristic of Pei Kai (who died long before the artist's time), and everything to do with his ability, which is to say, with his character. The viewers, in turn, actually felt it to be so (ding jue ).

When Xiao Ziliang, king of Jingling, first retired to his dwelling in the mountains, he looked around and said, "'Were the dead able to return to life, who might enter this chamber?' Thinking over the roster of worthies of olden times, . . . he had painters depict them by his windows. There he could visualize them in all their nobility, and imagine their talent and goodness."[28] As in the previous example, Ren Fang, who relates the incident, makes no mention of physical characteristics. By gazing at the portraits, the prince, he tells us, was able to imagine their virtues—he felt their presence as companions.

Yao Zui, who lived during the Liang dynasty, tells us of his response to one artist's depictions of people. Xie He, an older contemporary, was concerned with resemblance (si ), he remarks. He paid close attention to expressions of the eye, to details of hairstyle and clothing, to recording the minutest changes of fashion, and many artists followed his example. "But the consequence is that he has set [them all] to chasing after unessentials. . . . For in what concerns spirit resonance [qi yun ] and essential soul [jing ling ] he was far from fathoming the meaning of vitality [sheng dong ]"[29] Like Roger Fry on viewing Sargent's portrait of General Sir Ian Hamilton, Yao Zui could not "see the man for his likeness."[30]

Finally, I cite once again the great literary critic Liu Xie: "Recently, literary writers have valued resemblance in description. They spy out the inner structure [kui qing ] of a landscape and penetrate the appearance


[zuan mao ] of grass and plants."[31] The purpose of describing physical properties, in short, is to convey not the outer appearance but the inner. Resemblance or verisimilitude means capturing, not just any external appearance, but only that external appearance that conveys the inner reality.[32] In her discussion of the descriptive mode in lyric poetry of the period, Kang-i Sun Chang interprets Liu Xie's use of verisimilitude in its particular meaning of "'presenting details' so as to give 'the semblance' of reality."[33]

The semblance of reality is precisely what a portrait must convey. "When a portrait is said to be like the sitter, what is meant is that the spectator, when he looks at the portrait, 'feels as if' he were in the sitter's presence."[34] Those who saw Gu Kaizhi's portrait of Pei Kai, or Xiao Ziliang when he gazed at the portraits on his walls, felt this immediacy, this sense of the subject's presence, because the artists had achieved illusions of reality. The portraits of the Seven Worthies conveyed, by a complex relationship of postures, gestures, clothing, and attributes, the only illusion of reality that mattered in fostering a "spiritual communion"—the inner that permeated the outer.[35] In this sense, maker and viewer perform equally creative acts. The maker must select and deploy pictorial devices so as to trigger memory. Inevitably, he must draw on conventions, established types—what else can trigger memory?—before transforming them into a unique reality.[36] The viewer, thus prompted, selects (not necessarily consciously) from the subject's outside history (as known to him), what resonates with his own history. In return, he invests the pictorial configuration with those linkages.[37] Without this investment of associations, there may be a picture, perhaps even a work of art, but there is no exemplary portrait.

From our point of view these are "imaginary" or "ideal" portraits, lacking whatever warts, squints, or dewlaps the historical subjects may have had—those individual imperfections that many viewers associate with "likeness."[38] It is by no means clear, however, that the viewers of these portraits would have concurred in the modern characterization. Physical resemblance, as we have seen, was an irrelevance. Yet we cannot doubt, from the fact of their repetition, that they were successful in arousing a sense of authenticity, of that ineffable "vitality" so highly valued by Yao Zui and, I note with irony, by Xie He. If pictorial forms are capable of arousing in viewers that sense of living presence, then their roots in stereotype may be an irrelevance, for they have been transformed by art to effect a new reality, to which the viewer responds.[39] One may well wonder, however, if it is


not their comfortable familiarity, like a well-worn lounging robe, that evokes memory and therefore the sense of the subject's presence. In which case, of course, the stereotype is far from being irrelevant to the issue of portraiture.[40]

Like the Roman portrait statues of honored elders, so long dead "as to preclude the survival of any valid tradition of their appearance," the images created for the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi embodied "contemporary notions of how they should have looked, [incorporating] the available traditions of their personal character and appearance, but more importantly [giving] visual expression to their significance to the community."[41] It was the successful depiction of how they should have looked—adding three hairs to the cheek—that aroused the feeling of verisimilitude, a matter of art creating reality anew, as Picasso's Iberian mask created an enduring reality of Gertrude Stein.

The artist who painted the original of the Seven Worthies murals created portraits. Devising pictorial substitutes to capture that sense of movement essential for recognition, he achieved the only likeness that could have mattered to him and his audience.[42] By externalizing his view of the world, he also created a work of art, forms that vibrated across the centuries, repeatedly arousing both recognition and appreciation.[43] But truly

only those who are free and detached can find pleasure in them; only those who are profound and serene can rest quiet in them; only those who are liberated can abandon themselves to them; only those who are of the utmost refinement will be able to discern their principles.



1— Introduction

1. Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein on Picasso, pp. 17-18, emphasis added. See also Wendy Steiner, Exact Resemblance to Exact Resemblance: The Literary Portraiture of Gertrude Stein (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978).

2. As T. J. Clark comments: "In the greatest portraits we can see the tension between the sitter as subject-matter and the sitter as public; in Raphael's Portrait of Leo X we have on the one hand the painter's simple ruthless sight of the Pope, and on the other his scrupulous representation of the sitter's effort to determine the way he is seen. But some such dialogue—and disagreement—goes on all the time, even when the artist is not concerned to give form to it so explicitly" ( Image of the People [Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1973], p. 15).

3. Nanjing bowuyuan, "Nanjing Xishanqiao Nanchao mu ji qi zhuanke bihua." See also the English translation and discussion of Alexander C. Soper, "A New Chinese Tomb Discovery: The Earliest Representation of a Famous Literary Theme"; Nagahiro Toshio, "Shin So *   kan no Chikurin Shichiken to Eikei-ki no gazu"; Yao Qian and Gu Bing, Liuchao yishu, figs. 162-79.

4. See, for example, Chen Zhi, "Duiyu Nanjing Xishanqiao Nanchao mu zhuanke Zhulin qixian tu de guanjian," pp. 47-48; Lin Shuzhong, "Jiangsu Danyang Nan Qi lingmu zhuanyin bihua"; Nanjing bowuyuan, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian ji Rong Qiqi' zhuanyin bihua wenti"; Ellen Johnston Laing, "Neo-Taoism and the 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' in Chinese Painting."

5. Nanjing bowuyuan, "Jiangsu Danyang Huqiao Nanchao damu ji zhuanke bihua."

6. Nanjing bowuyuan, "Jiangsu Danyangxian Huqiao, Jianshan liangzuo Nanchao mu zang"; see also Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu, figs. 183-223.

7. Unfortunately, little uniformity exists in the use of such terms as "Nanbeichao" (Southern and Northern Dynasties), "Liuchao" (Six Dynasties), and so forth. For the purposes of this study, Nanbeichao refers to the period dating from the founding of the Eastern Jin dynasty to the reunification of the empire, A.D. 317-581. Liuchao includes only the southern states or dynasties from Wu (founded A.D. 222) through fall of Chen ( A.D. 589). break

8. A notable exception are the lyrical remarks of Otto Fischer in "La peinture chinoise au temps des Han."

9. Berthold Lauffer, "Confucius and His Portraits" ( Open Court 26.3 [1912]): 147-68; William Cohn, Ostasiatische Porträt Malerei; Serge Elisséev, "Notes sur le Portrait en Extrême-Orient."

10. Max Loehr, "The Beginnings of Portrait Painting in China."

11 Ching-lang Hou, "Recherches sur le peinture du portrait en Chine, au debut de la dynastie Han (206-141 avant J.-C.)."

12. Tullio de Mauro, Luigi Grassi, and Eugenio Battisti, "Portraiture," in Encyclopedia of World Art. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-1983.

13. J. D. Breckenridge, Likeness: A Conceptual History of Ancient Portraiture, chap. 1.

14. Ibid., p. 4.

15. Ibid., p. 7.

16. Ibid., p. 10.

13. J. D. Breckenridge, Likeness: A Conceptual History of Ancient Portraiture, chap. 1.

14. Ibid., p. 4.

15. Ibid., p. 7.

16. Ibid., p. 10.

13. J. D. Breckenridge, Likeness: A Conceptual History of Ancient Portraiture, chap. 1.

14. Ibid., p. 4.

15. Ibid., p. 7.

16. Ibid., p. 10.

13. J. D. Breckenridge, Likeness: A Conceptual History of Ancient Portraiture, chap. 1.

14. Ibid., p. 4.

15. Ibid., p. 7.

16. Ibid., p. 10.

17. E. H. Gombrich, "The Mask and the Face: The Perception of Physiognomic Likeness in Life and in Art."

18. E. H. Gombrich, "Action and Expression in Western Art," p. 373.

19. E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, p. 90.

20. Richard Brilliant, "On Portraits," pp. 12-13.

21. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, p. 90. For penetrating comments on culture and sensibility, see Clifford Geertz, "Art as a Cultural System." The witticism of L. Schücking is also pertinent: "The soil does not, of course, create the eel as Aristotle thought, but the generalization no mud, no eel would be fairly near the truth" (cited by Andrew Stewart, Attika: Studies in Athenian Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age [Supplementary Paper No. 14. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 1979], p. 133).

2— Virtue Triumphant

1. Loehr, "Beginnings," p. 211. For studies of the art of Han, see F. S. Drake, "Sculptured Stones of the Han Dynasty"; Fischer, "Peinture chinoise"; Hou, "Recherches"; Nagahiro Toshio, Kandai gazo * no kenkyu * .

2. Loehr, "Beginnings"; Laing, "Neo-Taoism." When Ellen Laing conducted her research, only one set of Seven Worthies murals was available to her. She was therefore denied the advantage of the broader sample available to me. Indeed, it was the later publication of two more sets of portraits that first prompted my reexamination of the issues.

3. Laing, "Neo-Taoism," p. 8.

4. For a recent application of the concept of individualism, more Western than Chinese in its approach, see Ying-shih Yü, "Individualism and the Neo-Taoist Movement in Wei-Chin China." For important studies of the concept of man in the early period, see, e.g., Donald J. Munro, The Concept of Man in Early China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969); Herbert Fingarette, Confucius—The Secular as Sacred (New York: Harper Torchbooks, Harper and Row, 1972).

5. Nagahiro, Kandai gazo no kenkyu, p. 10 (English summary).

6. For the archaeological report of the spectacular Mawangdui finds, see continue

      Hunansheng bowuguan, Changsha Mawangdui yihao Han mu; the probable identity of the corpse and date of the tomb are discussed in vol. 1, pp. 156-58. Many of the early research papers on the tomb and its contents have been collected in Hunansheng bowuguan, Mawangdui Han mu yanjiu. See also Chow Fong, "Ma-Wang-Tui"; Michael Loewe, Ways to Paradise, pp. 29-30, for dating. I wish to express my gratitude to the authorities at the Hunan Provincial Museum for their generous help when I visited the museum in 1984.

7. For possible functions, see, e.g., Shang Zhitan, "Mawangdui yihao Han mu 'feiyi' shishi"; Sun Zuoyun, "Changsha Mawangdui yihao Han mu chutu huafan kaoshi"; Hou, "Recherches," p. 55. For the disagreements, see Loewe, Ways to Paradise, p. 33; Anna Seidel, "Tokens of Immortality in Han Graves." For other examples of "journey" paintings, see Wang Zhongshu, Han Civilization, p. 181.

8. Loewe, Paradise, p. 46.

9. Tjoe-som Tjan, trans., Po Hu T'ung: The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall, vol. 2, p. 487. See also James Legge, trans., Li Ki III.V.6; X.II.1.

10. When I was in China, several scholars expressed to me their conviction that the figure of the countess in the painting is a physical likeness of the deceased. Insofar as gender and age are concerned, I agree. Dessication of the corpse, however, prevents an accurate comparison of profiles. One can observe a similarity of all the profiles of the lady and her female attendants, who may all be members of the same family and share a family resemblance. The profile shapes may, however, be conventional. The question of likeness remains open.

11. Innumerable references to inclining the body, bending the body, bowing, etc., as gestures of deference or submission in a variety of contexts are found in the Li ji. See, e.g., Legge, Li Ki IX.III.23. For the offering of the tray, see Li Ki, I.II.I-1.1: "When a thing is carried with both hands, it should be held on a level with the heart."

12. An Zhimin believes these two figures to be the Dasiming and Xiaosiming, the Greater and Lesser Lords of Life ("Changsha xinfaxian de Xi Han bohua shitan," p. 45). Michael Loewe, however, disputes this and believes them to be the Porters, or Gate-wardens, of Heaven ( Paradise, pp. 33, 48-49).

13. Loewe, Paradise, p. 30; Shang Zhitan, "Mawangdui," p. 43, for summoning the soul; Wang Zhongshu, Han Civilization, p. 181, for the funeral procession. For the status of and distances traveled by guests at one Western Han funeral, see Yangzhou bowuguan et al., "Jiangsu Hanjiang Huchang wuhao Han mu," W W 1981.11:17, 20.

14. Hunansheng bowuguan, "Changsha Mawangdui ersanhao Han mu fajue jianbao," pp. 39-48, 63; Jin Weinuo, "Tan Changsha Mawangdui sanhao Han mu bohua," pp. 40-44. The tomb is datable to 168 B.C. When in Changsha, I was informed that the male figure clearly discernible on the copy of this banner, currently on display at the Hunan Provincial Museum, was a reconstruction based on two images in the badly damaged silk painting attached to the wall of the tomb. I do not doubt that the figure on the banner is a portrait of the male deceased, but I do not think that it can be used as evi- soft

      dence. For discussion, see Hou, "Recherches," p. 45. Sun Zuoyun suggests that one small figure on the no. 1 coffin may be a portrait of the deceased ("Changsha Mawangdui," p. 254); see also Hou, "Recherches," pp. 45-47. The suggestion is tempting, but this tiny image is so badly damaged as to be barely discernible.

15. Hunansheng bowuguan, "Ersanhao Han mu," p. 43. For the distinction between hun and po, see, e.g., Loewe, Paradise, pp. 9ff. For other kinds of "reports," see, e.g., the list of deities to whom sacrifices were made for the protection of the deceased found in a Western Han tomb in Hanjiang County, Jiangsu ( WW 1981. 11:17).

16. Linyi Jinqueshan Han mu fajue zu, "Shandong Linyi Jinqueshan jiuhao Han mu fajue jianbao," pp. 24-27 (p. 26 for discussion of date); Liu Jiaji and Liu Bingsen, "Jinqueshan Xi Han bohua linmo hougan," pp. 28-31.

17. The figure's blue robe and seated position to the right of the other figures are the traditional "signs" of an elderly woman (Liu and Liu, "Jinqueshan," p. 30). Since the coiffures of the accompanying figures resemble those of the seated woman, we may infer that these figures are also female.

18. No preserved corpse survives to corroborate this assumption. On the contrary, it is the painting that is used as evidence for the assumption that the wood coffin was used for the burial of a female.

19. The collar, or lapel, of this robe has more folds or stripes than have the others; stripes or folds decorate his lower sleeve, whereas none appear on the sleeves of others. More important, the stripe at the bottom of the right figure's robe is measurably broader than the lower stripes of the others', while hanging from his sash or girdle is the shou, the ritual or court braid that reveals the "wearer's station in life." Varying-colored shou were prescribed for different ranks. As Zhongguo lidai fushi points out, headgear denotes office; the shou denotes rank within the office or within the nobility (p. 39).

20. Tjan, Po Hu T'ung, vol. 2, p. 623.

21. Juan 30, p. 1717.

22. Hou Han shu, juan 62, p. 2068.

23. Ibid., juan 64, p. 2108. For the political implications of this act, see Martin J. Powers, "Pictorial Art and Its Public in Early Imperial China," p. 150.

22. Hou Han shu, juan 62, p. 2068.

23. Ibid., juan 64, p. 2108. For the political implications of this act, see Martin J. Powers, "Pictorial Art and Its Public in Early Imperial China," p. 150.

24. Han shu, juan 65, p. 2841. Translated by Burton Watson, Courtier and Commoner, p. 80.

25. "Lu Lingguang dian fu," Wen xuan, juan 1, pp. 233-34.

26. Ibid., p. 233.

25. "Lu Lingguang dian fu," Wen xuan, juan 1, pp. 233-34.

26. Ibid., p. 233.

27. Han shu, juan 53 p. 2428.

28. See Robert L. Thorp, "The Mortuary Art and Architecture of Early Imperial China."

29. Édouard Chavannes, Mission archéologique dans la Chine septentrionale, vol. 2, atlas, fig. 75; Feng Yunpeng and Feng Yunyuan, Jinshi suo, juan 9.

30. Shi ji, by Sima Qian, juan 17, p. 1909; juan 63, p. 2140.

31. For Sichuan, see Wen You, Sichuan Handai huaxiang xuanji, fig. 43; for Jiangsu, Chavannes, Mission, vol. 1, fig. 1218; for Shandong, Chavannes, Mission, vol. 2, atlas, figs. 137, 169; Université de Paris, Corpus des pierres sculptées Han (Estampages), vol. 1, fig. 118; vol. 2, figs. 194, 219; for Helingeer, Helingeer Han mu bihua, pp. 24-25, 138. break

32. For Shandong, Chavannes, Mission, vol. 1, p. 1235; vol. 2, atlas, fig. 194; Université de Paris, Corpus des pierres, vol. 1, figs. 112, 170, 191, 195; vol. 2, fig. 87; Käte Finsterbusch, Verzeichnis und Motivindex der Han-Darstellungen, vol. 2, fig. 352; WW [979.9:3, 4, figs. 5 and 7; WW 1982.5:74-84, figs. 9.12, 10.13; Zeng Zhaoyu et al., Yinan guhuaxiang shimu fajue baogao, p. 40, plate 59, fig. 48. For Henan: KG 1964.2, fig. 1.1; Finsterbusch, Verzeichnis, vol. 2, fig. 1013. For Shaanxi: Finsterbusch, Verzeichnis 2, fig. 404. Finsterbusch also reproduces an uninscribed stone from Sichuan identical to Wen You's fig. 43 (vol. 2, fig. 145).

33. Cited by Anna Seidel, La Divinisation de Lao Tseu dans le Taoïsme des Han, p. 109 and n. 2.

34. Ibid., pp. 122-23.

33. Cited by Anna Seidel, La Divinisation de Lao Tseu dans le Taoïsme des Han, p. 109 and n. 2.

34. Ibid., pp. 122-23.

35. Chavannes, Mission, vol. 2, atlas, fig. 137; Feng and Feng, Jinshi suo, shisuo 4.

36. Michel Soymié, "L'Entrevue de Confucius et de Hiang T'o," pp. 367-87; see also WW 1979 9:3, 4 and figs. 5, 7.

37. Zeng, Yinan, p. 40.

38. Édouard Chavannes, Les Mémoires historiques de Se-ma Ts'ien, vol. 5, pp. 299-301, n. 4; Chavannes, Mission, vol. 1, p. 220. For the disagreements, as well as a full discussion of the historicity of the meeting, see Aat Vervoorn, "Eremitism in China to 220 A.D. ," pp. 95, n. 127; 180, n. 31. The reality of the encounter is of no concern for the problem posed here. What matters is the tradition, or shared belief.

39. For a summary of the political conflicts of Latter Han, see Chi-yun Chen, Hsün Yüeh ( A.D. 148-209): The Life and Reflections of an Early Medieval Confucian, chap. 2; for the nature of Han Confucianism, see Benjamin E. Wallacker, "Han Confucianism and Confucius in Han." For the union of Confucian and Daoist themes in Han funerary art, and for their political implications, see, e.g., Martin Powers, "Hybrid Omens and Public Issues in Early Imperial China," pp. 28-32.

40. T'ung-tsu Ch'ü, Han Social Structure, p. 205. For the discussion of the political uses of this standard for recommendation, see pp. 204-7.

41. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 16, pp. 514-15. The Hou Han shu states that in A.D. 165 the emperor sacrificed to Laozi at the temple in Huxian; the following year he sacrificed to Laozi in the Palace of the Brilliant Dragon ( juan 8, p. 3188).

42. Shuijing zhu, juan 23, p. 742. This also dates the erection of the temple, for it must have been between A.D. 147, the year of Huan's accession, and 149. If so, the emperor was still a child and under the influence of his relatives by marriage, the Liang family. It was not until 159 that the emperor, aided by the eunuchs, wrested control of the government. During the years thereafter, the Confucian officials and scholars were to become increasingly alienated. For an account of the events that led to the Great Proscription of scholars and officials of 167-184, see Rafe DeCrespigny, "Politics and Philosophy under the Government of Emperor Huan (159-168 A.D. )" and Portents of Protest in the Later Han Dynasty.

43. See DeCrespigny, "Politics and Philosophy," p. 75.

44. Ibid., pp. 76-80; Anna Seidel, "The Image of the Perfect Ruler in early Taoist Messianism" and Divinisation, pp. 37-43, 111-12. break

43. See DeCrespigny, "Politics and Philosophy," p. 75.

44. Ibid., pp. 76-80; Anna Seidel, "The Image of the Perfect Ruler in early Taoist Messianism" and Divinisation, pp. 37-43, 111-12. break

45. Translated by Anna Seidel, in "Image of the Perfect Ruler," p. 225, emphasis added. For the changing status of Laozi during Latter Han, see also Seidel, Divinisation; Ying-shih Yü, "Life and Immortality in the Mind of Han China," pp. 104-5 and n. 103; DeCrespigny, "Politics and Philosophy," pp. 76-80.

46. Tjan, Po Hu T'ung, vol. 2, p. 587.

47. Shi ji, juan 47, p. 1909.

48. Huainanzi, juan 19, p. 17a, adds that Confucius listened to his words.

49. Soymié, "L'Entrevue," pp. 367-73.

50. Han shu, juan 56, p. 2510. The identification of "the person from Daxiang" as Xiang To is made by Meng Kang, n. 2.

51. Soymié, "L'Entrevue," p. 379.

52. WW 1979.9:5, fig. 7.

53. "The Master said, 'To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced'" ( Analects 6. 19 [James Legge trans., The Chinese Classics, vol. 1; reprint, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1970]).

54. I wish to thank Martin Powers for sharing with me his interpretation of the Xiang To image. Many of his ideas are incorporated in my discussion.

55. Analects 2. 19 (Legge translation).

56. Tjan, Po Hu T'ung, vol. 2, p. 600. Three chapters of this work are devoted to wearing apparel. With regard to degrees of and dress for mourning, Legge remarks that "no other subject occupies so prominent a place in many of the books of the Li Ki" ( Li Ki, Appendix to Book II, p. 202).

57. For a study of the various forms of Han dynasty eremitism, see Vervoorn, "Eremitism."

58. Rakuro * Saikyo * -tsuka, plates 40-52. For an early report of this find in English, see Kosaku * Hamada, "On the Painting of the Han Period," pp. 36-38.

59. Laurence Sickman and Alexander Soper, The Art and Architecture of China, p. 74, figs. 42 and 43.

60. Rakuro, pp. 1-8 (Chinese text).

61. Ibid., p. 1. Shi ji, juan 55, pp. 2044-47; Han shu, juan 40, pp. 2033-36; juan 72, p. 3056. It is possible that the basket dates from about the same time as the completion of Ban Gu's history, ca. A.D. 80.

60. Rakuro, pp. 1-8 (Chinese text).

61. Ibid., p. 1. Shi ji, juan 55, pp. 2044-47; Han shu, juan 40, pp. 2033-36; juan 72, p. 3056. It is possible that the basket dates from about the same time as the completion of Ban Gu's history, ca. A.D. 80.

62. Shi ji, juan 55, p. 2047; Han shu, juan 40, p. 2036.

63. Vervoorn, "Eremitism," pp. 208-9; for Latter Han rulers' conspicuous attempts to woo recluses and scholars to court, esp. chap. 3; for moral and exemplary eremitism, pp. 237ff; for fame, pp. 321-22.

64. Hamada, "Painting of the Han," p. 38. The remark occurs in a discussion of the very high quality of the painting.

65. Vervoorn, however, cites a lacquer worker, Shentin Pan, who was also a scholar ("Eremitism," p. 249).

66. Maribeth Graybill, "Kasen-e: An Investigation into the Origins of the Tradition of Poet Pictures in Japan," p. 53.

67. Zhongguo lidai fushi identifies the robes of the seated figures as those of government officials (p. 46, fig. 63). The decorous garments of the Four continue

      Graybeards make it clear that their flight to the mountains was a virtuous flight that had nothing to do with extra-Confucian concerns.

68. Analects 2. 10 (Legge translation).

3— Portraits of Jin

1. Zeng et al., Yinan, chap. 6, esp. pp. 52ff. Zeng concludes that the tomb must have been constructed before A.D. 193 (pp. 60-61); Hsio-yen Shih, however, suggests late third to early fourth century ("I-nan and Related Tombs," pp. 309-10). An Zhimin, evaluating those architectural and pictorial elements of the tomb that appear to be post-Han, proposed a third-century, Wei-Jin, date (cited in Zeng et al., Yinan, pp. 58, 60).

2. Zeng et al., Yinan, pp. 61-62ff. The argument is forceful, although not conclusive, for the tomb at Yinan may, in fact, reflect already deteriorating conditions in the region. Although larger and appreciably more elaborate than the Six Dynasties tombs I shall discuss, it is less than half the size of the early-third-century stone tomb at Dahuting in Henan province, for example (An Jinhuai and Wang Yugang, "Mixian Dahuting Handai huaxiang shimu he bihuamu" [ WW 1972. 10:49-62]).

3. Zhongshu Wang, Han Civilization, pp. 178-79.

4. Full description and discussion in Zeng et al., Yinan, and Shih, "I-nan."

5. Chhae Pyeong-seo, "Anak-kunbang * pyokhwa * kobunpalgul surok"; Hong Qingyu, "Guanyu Dong Shou mu de faxian he yanjiu"; Okazaki Takashi, "Angaku daisango * fun no kenkyu * "; Su Bai, "Chaoxian Anyue suo faxian de Dong Shou mu"; K. H. J. Gardiner, Early History of Korea, pp. 40-43 and Appendix 1.

6. Dong Shou's tomb is larger than the one at Yinan and measures at its full length approximately ten meters north to south, eight meters at its widest.

7. Su Bai, "Dong Shou," pp. 101-2.

8. Ibid., p. 102. Not everyone accepts Su Bai's third-century dates for the Liaoyang tombs. See, for a Han dynasty date, Wilma Fairbank and Masao Kitano, "Han Mural Paintings in the Pei-Yuan Tomb at Liao-yang, South Manchuria," pp. 168ff for Han-Wei dating, Li Wenxin, "Liaoyang faxian de sanzuo bihua gumu," p. 39.

7. Su Bai, "Dong Shou," pp. 101-2.

8. Ibid., p. 102. Not everyone accepts Su Bai's third-century dates for the Liaoyang tombs. See, for a Han dynasty date, Wilma Fairbank and Masao Kitano, "Han Mural Paintings in the Pei-Yuan Tomb at Liao-yang, South Manchuria," pp. 168ff for Han-Wei dating, Li Wenxin, "Liaoyang faxian de sanzuo bihua gumu," p. 39.

9. Su Bai, "Dong Shou," p. 102. The caisson décor, according to Su Bai, includes colored wavy lines, lotus blossoms, and grasses, all characteristic of Buddhist—i.e., Nanbeichao—motifs.

10. For Liaoyang scenes, see Li Wenxin, "Liaoyang"; Fairbank and Kitano, "Han Mural Paintings."

11. Liaoningsheng bowuguan, "Chaoyang Yuantaizi Dong Jin bihua mu," plate 5, fig. 2.

12. Ibid., pp. 30-31, figs. 2 and 3.

13. Ibid., p. 44.

11. Liaoningsheng bowuguan, "Chaoyang Yuantaizi Dong Jin bihua mu," plate 5, fig. 2.

12. Ibid., pp. 30-31, figs. 2 and 3.

13. Ibid., p. 44.

11. Liaoningsheng bowuguan, "Chaoyang Yuantaizi Dong Jin bihua mu," plate 5, fig. 2.

12. Ibid., pp. 30-31, figs. 2 and 3.

13. Ibid., p. 44.

14. Gardiner assesses the controversy in Korea, Appendix I.

15. Jin shu, juan 109, p. 2815. The graph for Dong in the history differs continue

      slightly from that of the tomb inscription, the former adding the "man" radical.

16. Gardiner, Korea, pp. 40-43.

17. Ibid., p. 42, in agreement with Su Bai ("Dong Shou," pp. 103-4) and Hong Qingyu ("Dong Shou," p. 35).

18. Ibid., p. 42 and Appendix I. Su Bai and Hong Qingyu also assume the occupant to have been Dong Shou.

16. Gardiner, Korea, pp. 40-43.

17. Ibid., p. 42, in agreement with Su Bai ("Dong Shou," pp. 103-4) and Hong Qingyu ("Dong Shou," p. 35).

18. Ibid., p. 42 and Appendix I. Su Bai and Hong Qingyu also assume the occupant to have been Dong Shou.

16. Gardiner, Korea, pp. 40-43.

17. Ibid., p. 42, in agreement with Su Bai ("Dong Shou," pp. 103-4) and Hong Qingyu ("Dong Shou," p. 35).

18. Ibid., p. 42 and Appendix I. Su Bai and Hong Qingyu also assume the occupant to have been Dong Shou.

19. Han Tang bihua, plate 8 (Beijing: Waiwen chubanshe, 1975); Helingeer, p. 51; Ren Rixin, "Shandong Zhucheng Han mu huaxiang shi" ( WW 1981.10:14-21), fig. 8. The Master of Records portrait depicts, of course, not the deceased but a member of his staff.

20. Liaoningsheng bowuguan, "Gaishu Liaoningsheng kaogu xinshouhuo," p. 93.

21. Construction details of the tomb are fully discussed in Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," and Soper, "Tomb Discovery."

22. Ge Zhigong, "Nanjing Xishanqiao Dong Jin Taihe sinian muqingli jianbao"; Nanjing bowuyuan, "Nanjing Zhongshanmenwai Musuyuan Dong Jin muqingli jianbao."

23. Only one of these bricks has been published. See Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 38 and fig. 8.

24. Wang Zhimin et al., Nanjing Liuchao taoyong; Edmund Capon, "Chinese Tomb Figures of the Six Dynasties Period."

25. Many of the other bricks used in construction of the tomb bore similar instructions; still others were inscribed with what seem to be names of workmen.

26. See, for example, Wilma Fairbank, "A Structural Key to Han Mural Art."

27. Li Weiran, "Nanjing Liuchao mu qingli jianbao." I wish to express my gratitude to the authorities at the Municipal Museum of Nanjing for permitting me to examine these multiple bricks, and especially to Li Weiran for his help.

28. Ibid., p. 232, fig. 2.4.

27. Li Weiran, "Nanjing Liuchao mu qingli jianbao." I wish to express my gratitude to the authorities at the Municipal Museum of Nanjing for permitting me to examine these multiple bricks, and especially to Li Weiran for his help.

28. Ibid., p. 232, fig. 2.4.

29. Single bricks with multiple designs are found as early as the Western Han period. The large and superb hollow brick "rose finch" relief found near the tomb of Huo Qubing in Shaanxi, for example, bears a second design in relief on its top, narrow side.

30. Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 41.

31. Terukazu Akiyama et al., Arts of China, vol. 1, pp. 227-29.

32. Agreement on the species of trees in the reliefs, apparent forerunners of those frequently depicted on stone sarcophagi of the sixth century, is scant. Pine, willow, gingko, bamboo, and locust are among those proposed. See, e.g., Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," pp. 41-42; Soper, "Tomb Discovery," pp. 83-85; Akiyama et al., Arts of China, vol. 1, p. 227; Laing, "Neo-Taoism," p. 11 and n. 31. Few earlier pictorial sources for these trees have been found. Their variety may reflect the introduction of new plants from the south. See Huilin Li, Nan-fang ts'ao-mu chuang: A Fourth Century Flora of Southeast Asia (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1979).

33. Biographies in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, pp. 605-7; Jin shu, juan continue

      49, pp. 1369-74. See also Donald Holzman, La Vie et la pensée de Hi K'ang (223-262 ap. J.-C).

34. The original report speaks of a small duck floating in the bowl (Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 41; see also Laing, "Neo-Taoism," p. 12, n. 34). I suggest, however, that the object is a dipper with a bird-head handle, a miniature version, for example, of the wine vessel unearthed in an Eastern Jin tomb on the grounds of Nanjing University (Nanjing daxue lishixi kaoguzu, "Nanjing Daxue bei yuan Dong Jin mu," p. 48, fig. 13). See, for another example, Yunmengxian bowuguan, "Hebei Yunmeng Lalidun yihao mu qingli jianbao" ( KG 1984.7:612, fig. 6.6-7).

35. Biographies in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, pp. 604-5; Jin shu, juan 49, PP. 1359-62. See also Donald Holzman, Poetry and Politics: The Life and Work of Ruan Ji A.D. 210-262.

36. Jin shu, juan 43, PP. 1223-30.

37. For the ruyi (lit., "as you wish"), see J. LeRoy Davidson, "The Origin and Early Use of the Ju-i"; E. Zürcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China, vol. 2, p. 407, n. 59.

38. For the official biography, see Jin shu, vol. 43, pp. 1231-35.

39. Ibid., juan 49, pp. 1374-75.

40. Ibid., pp. 1375-76.

41. Ibid., pp. 1362-63.

38. For the official biography, see Jin shu, vol. 43, pp. 1231-35.

39. Ibid., juan 49, pp. 1374-75.

40. Ibid., pp. 1375-76.

41. Ibid., pp. 1362-63.

38. For the official biography, see Jin shu, vol. 43, pp. 1231-35.

39. Ibid., juan 49, pp. 1374-75.

40. Ibid., pp. 1375-76.

41. Ibid., pp. 1362-63.

38. For the official biography, see Jin shu, vol. 43, pp. 1231-35.

39. Ibid., juan 49, pp. 1374-75.

40. Ibid., pp. 1375-76.

41. Ibid., pp. 1362-63.

42. Juan 9, p. 5b. Other casual references in the text make it clear that by the second century B.C. Rong Qiqi was a well-known figure (e.g., juan 11, p. 22b).

43. For studies of the Seven Worthies, see He Qimin, Zhulin qixian yanjiu; Donald Holzman, "Les Sept Sages de la Forêt des Bambous et la société de leur temps."

44. See, for example, Zeng, Yinan, plate 53, fig. 42; plates 56-58, figs. 45-47.

45. That is, none were found aside from those relating to tomb construction. Previous damage may well have destroyed inscribed tablets, which were not uncommon in the fourth century. At some time between 405 and 419, however, the prohibition on the use of stone animals and tablets in burials, which had long been ignored, was once again enforced and remained so at least until the period of Southern Qi ( Song shu, juan 46, p. 407). Thus the tomb may have been constructed after 405, although a few inscribed tablets from tombs constructed during the period of prohibition have been unearthed (see Luo Zongzhen, "Nanjing xinchutu Liangdai mu zhi pingshu," p. 29).

46. See, for example, the discussion in Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu," p. 71.

47. Nanjing bowuyuan, "Huqiao Nanchao damu" and "Huqiao, Jianshan" (translated by Barry Till and Paula Swart, "Two Tombs of the Southern Dynasties at Huqiao and Jianshan in Danyang County, Jiangsu Province"); Nanjing bowuyuan, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian'"; Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu." For articles on the stone animals of royal burials, see Barry Till, "Some Observations on Stone Winged Chimeras at Ancient Chinese Tomb Sites," Artibus Asiae 42.4 (1980): 261-81, and "Tomb Sculptures of the Southern Dynasties," Arts of Asia 11 (1981): 114-28. break

4— Patterns to the Future

1. Li Wenxin, "Liaoyang," p. 39, fig. 31. See also Fairbank and Kitano, "Han Mural Paintings."

2. LDMHJ, vol. 1, pp. 73-75.

3. For example, Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 16, pp. 512-13; ( Shu shu ), juan 35 PP. 928-29, juan 42, pp. 1033; ( Wu shu ) , juan 54, pp. 1285, juan 57, pp. 1334.

4. "Jingfudian fu," Wen xuan, juan 1, pp. 240-41.

5. LDMHJ, vols. 21, p. 83; 2.2, p. 72.

6. Fan Wenlan, Zhongguo tongshi, vol. 2, chap. 3; Rafe DeCrespigny, The Last of the Han, translates chaps. 58-68 of Sima Guang's Zizhi tongjian. For an excellent summary of events, see Chen, Hsün Yüeh, esp. chaps. I and 2.

7. Biography of Zhuge Liang, Sanguo zhi (Shu shu), juan 35, pp. 911-37. See also Chi Li, "Changing Concept of the Recluse in Chinese Literature," pp. 239-40.

8. The claim is tenuous but a good sign that the clan's more immediate ancestry was less than illustrious. For this, and its local status, see Rafe DeCrespigny, The Biography of Sun Chien, p. 55, n. 2.

9. It is doubtful, for example, that he controlled the marches of Gansu; control of the territories to the northeast—Liaoyang, Lelang, etc.—was most certainly a sometime thing.

10. For a recent study of the capital, see Paul Steven Levine, "The Development of the Medieval City in South China: Chien K'ang from the Second to the Sixth Centuries A.D. "

11. Chen, Hsün Yüeh, pp. 22-23.

12. I use the poor abused word ideology in its OED definition: a system of ideas concerning phenomena, especially those of social life.

13. For the dilemma of one Confucian, see Chen, Hsün Yüeh.

14. Confucianism survived, of course, "in the mystique of imperial rule, and . . . as the heritage of culture in the new elite circles, a cultural continuity sustained by classical education, family traditions, and the clan mores of the great aristocratic households" (ibid., p. 164).

15. For a general account of political philosophy of the period, see Kungchuan Hsiao, A History of Chinese Political Thought, vol. 1, chap. 11.

16. R. P. Kramers, translator, K'ung Tsu Chia Yu: The School Sayings of Confucius.

17. For the biography of Wang Bi, see Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 28, pp. 795-96. For recent translations of his Dao dejing, see Paul J. Lin, A Translation of Lao Tz'u's "Tao Te Ching" and Wang Pi's "Commentary"; Ariane Rump and Wing-tsit Chan, Commentary on the "Lao Tzu" by Wang Pi. For interpretations of Wang Bi's commentaries as attempts to reconcile the philosophies of Confucianism and Daoism, see Yung-t'ung T'ang, "Wang Pi's New Interpretation of the I-ching and Lun-yü"; Arthur F. Wright, "Review of A. A. Petrov, Wang Pi (226-249): His Place in the History of Chinese Philosophy."

18. Wing-tsit Chan has noted that ziran appears as a term in the Laozi text five times, whereas it occurs twenty-five times in Wang Bi's commentary (Rump, Wang Pi, p. xvii). break

19. "Jingfudian fu," Wen xuan, juan 1, pp. 235-36. Translated in Hsiao, Chinese Political Thought, vol. 1, p. 618, n. 42. See also Richard B. Mather, "The Controversy over Conformity and Naturalness during the Six Dynasties," p. 164.

20. "Whatever policies it adopted would spring spontaneously in response to what each situation called for. They would come forth from the Nonactual ( wu ), the substratum of all actual events ( yu ) [ you ]" (Mather, "Controversy," p. 164). And Guo Xiang's commentary: "One must not fail to look carefully into the term non-action. The one who wields the empire . . . thereby undertakes the action of wielding. . . . Such action, however, is that of (the ruler's) own fulfillment for he fully accords with the natures of things, and for that reason it is called non-action" (Hsiao, Chinese Political Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 616). Legitimacy thus requires no longer the Mandate of Heaven but the Concordance with Nature. For wu/you, see A. C. Graham, "'Being' in Western Philosophy Compared with Shih/Fei and Yu/Wu in Chinese Philosophy."

21. For jiupin studies, see Donald Holzman, "Les Débuts du système médiéval de choix et de classement des fonctionnaires: Les Neufs Catégories et l'Impartial et Juste"; Miyakawa Hisayuki, "Chusei * seido no kenkyu * " (in Rikucho * shi kenkyu: seiji shakai hen, chap. 4); Miyazaki Ichisada, Kyuhin * kanjin ho no kenkyu: kakyo zenshi; Tang Changru, "Jiupin zhongzheng zhidu shishi." Of considerable interest for this study are the remarks of Yoshio Kawakatsu, "L'Aristocratie et la société féodale au début des Six Dynasties."

22. With the dislocation brought on by political and military upheavals, it was impossible to utilize the Han principle of relying on officials who were native to the district and who could therefore be expected to know all the local families. For the high rank of the examiners, see Holzman, "Débuts du système médiéval," pp. 406-7.

23. E.g., the complaint of Liu Yi (d. 285), Jin shu, juan 45, p. 1276. For "the old days," see Holzman, "Débuts du système médiéval," p. 391; Tang Changru, "Jiupin," pp. 89-91. For the historical significance of the new system, see Holzman, "Débuts du système médiéval," p. 414.

24. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 1, p. 32. See also Tang Changru, "Jiupin," pp. 96-97.

25. "Men of superior intelligence, outstanding talent / Supported the Mandate for the imperial house" (Zuo Si, Wei Capital Rhapsody, translated by David Knechtges, Wen xuan, or Selections of Refined Literature, vol. 1, p. 465).

26. Tang Changru has noted this ("Jiupin," pp. 97-98).

27. Biography in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, pp. 617-29. For a translation of Renwu zhi, see J. K. Shryock, The Study of Human Abilities: The "Jen Wu Chih" of Liu Shao. See also Mou Zongsan, Caixing yu xuanli, pp. 43-66. It is interesting that the treatise was written after Liu Shao's retirement from the Wei court, for his biography states that during the Jingchu period (237-239) the emperor commanded him to draft criteria for the recommendation of officials. It further states that Liu Shao, although submitting a statement of seventy-two items, nevertheless demurred that he was not qualified to carry out the command (pp. 619-20). For other studies of ability known to have been composed in the third century, see Mather, "Controversy," p. 167; Shryock, Human Abilities, p. 17. break

28. Renwu zhi: shang, p. 3a, zhong, pp. 2a, 9a; translated by Shryock, Human Abilities, pp. 98-99, 120, 132.

29. Renwu zhi: zixu, p. 1, xia, p. 6b; translated by Shryock, Human Abilities, pp. 2, 148ff.

30. Guo Xiang's commentary to the Zhuangzi, cited in Hsiao, Chinese Political Thought, vol. 1, p. 612. For a recent study of Guo Xiang's philosophy, see Isabelle Robinet, "Kouo Siang ou le monde comme absolu."

31. Guo Xiang, cited in Hsiao, Chinese Political Thought, vol. 1, p. 612.

32. Mou Zongsan, Caixing, p. 59.

33. Renwu zhi, shang, p. 3a; Shryock, Human Abilities, p. 98.

34. Mou Zongsan, Caixing, pp. 55, 59, 63-64.

35. For its history, see Shryock, Human Abilities, p. 27ff. It is listed in Liu Shao's biography, as well as in later dynastic histories. In the fifth century, one Liu Bing prepared a commentary to the text.

36. "The ability of the man of sublime behavior is manifested by his appearance and bearing, and issues in virtuous actions. It shines forth even when not in use . . . therefore even before he is in power, the people unite in recommending him" ( Renwu zhi, zhong, p. 3b; Shryock, Human Abilities, p. 122).

37. " Having a knack for gimmicks and one-liners is essential to the wouldbe film person. With the intense competition for such crucial stakes, a person usually has only fleeting moments to impress their uniqueness upon the movers and shakers of the industry" (Letter from Kenneth D. Merriman, Merriman Productions, in the Los Angeles Times, March 14, 1987).

38. Tang Changru, "Qingtan yu qingyi" and "Jiupin," esp. pp. 96-97; Holzman, "Début du système médiéval," pp. 388, 401-2; Chen Yinke, "Tao Yuanming zhi sixiang yu qingtan zhi guanxi," pp. 180-81.

39. Shishuo xinyu [jiaojian]; see also Richard B. Mather, Shih-shuo Hsinyü: A New Account of Tales of the World, hereafter cited as SSXY, followed by juan and anecdote numbers (the reference applies to both the Chinese and the English editions). Unless otherwise specified, all translations are from the Mather edition.

40. For xuan xue, see, for example, Mou Zongsan, Caixing, pp. 67-99; E. Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, vol. 1, pp. 86-87.

41. SSXY 4.18. The same tale is told of other members of the Wang family, including Yan's cousin, Wang Rong, and of other members of the Ruan family. See Mather, SSXY, p. 101; also, Chen Yinke, "Tao Yuanming," p. 181. Ruan Xiu was Ruan Ji's nephew. For the use of this example as evidence of late Western Jin attempts to harmonize the two schools, see Chen Yinke, "Tao Yuanming," esp. pp. 181-88. I agree with Chen that the weight of the response is toward the affirmative.

42. For the use of such aid-words and their stylistic import, see Kojiro * Yoshikawa, "The Shih-shuo hsin-yü and Six Dynasties Prose Style," esp. pp. 137-38.

43. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 27, p. 748. The emperor's full list of requirements makes one wonder if any such paragons were ever located.

44. Note here the changing connotation of "pure." In Latter Han, qing was associated with morality, as in the case of those who shunned political activity on moral grounds. In that sense, anyone with moral scruples, regard- soft

      less of rank or station., could be "pure." Indeed, one's "purity" was a means to social mobility. Here, however, the emperor links "purity" to other qualities—literary distinction, refinement, cultivation—that are not evidence of morality. In spite of Ming Di's assertion, these latter qualities were class-bound and would become more so in the future.

45. Biographical information in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 9, p. 292; for sharpness of mind, ibid., juan 29, p. 819. For discussions of his political philosophy, see, e.g., Hsiao, Chinese Political Thought, vol. 1, pp. 607-19; Mather, "Controversy," pp. 163-65.

46. Wei lue (third century?), in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 9, p. 292. For the use of cosmetics and perfumes in this period, see Wang Yao, "Wenren yu yao," pp. 21ff; Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, vol. 5.3, p. 126.

47. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 9, p. 292. Since He Yan is purported to have been a natural son of Cao Cao's, Wen Di's epithet may have other connotations as well.

48. Ibid., p. 283.

47. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 9, p. 292. Since He Yan is purported to have been a natural son of Cao Cao's, Wen Di's epithet may have other connotations as well.

48. Ibid., p. 283.

49. Donald Holzman, "Literary Criticism in China in the Early Third Century A.D. ," p. 122.

50. "Dianlun lunwen," Wen xuan, juan 5, p. 22. Translated by James J. Y. Liu, Chinese Theories of Literature, p. 12. The entire essay is translated by Holzman, "Literary Criticism," pp. 128-31. For other translations and discussions, see John Timothy Wixted, "The Nature of Evaluation in the Shihp'in (Gradings of Poets) by Chung Hung ( A.D. 469-518)," p. 251, n. 19.

51. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 140; Sanguo zhi (Commentary, Wei lue ), juan 21, p. 608. Translated by Holzman, "Literary Criticism," p. 123.

52. Mather has demonstrated this ("Controversy").

53. R. H. van Gulik discusses the sources and their value for the Seven Sages in his Hsi K'ang and His Poetical Essay on the Lute, chap. 2. On the basis of what he considers to be accurate, he has constructed a tentative biography of Xi Kang.

54. These latter remnants, although important, must be used cautiously, for by the time of their writing events had altered the view of the past—so much so, that these later writers do not always agree with one another in their recording of events (for but one example of mythmaking—the recluse summoned by the ruler—and contradiction in the sources cited in Pei Songzhi's commentary to the Sanguo zhi, see the biography of Ruan Ji's father Yu, [ Wei shu ] juan 21, p. 600). Morever, their works have survived only in the commentaries of men who lived much later, in the fifth century. That is to say, they were selected from the original, earlier works in order to make a point, and we cannot know what the later commentators chose to omit (for discussion of omissions, see, e.g., Rafe DeCrespigny, Records of the Three Kingdoms, p. 30). It seems a small matter, but it will be useful when we turn to later traditions.

The extant literary works of the Seven Worthies are collected in Quan Han Sanguo Jin Nanbeichao shi: Quan Sanguo shi; Quan Jin shi and in YKJ.

55. For the works of Xi Kang, see XKJJ; Gulik, Hsi K'ang; Robert G. Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation in Third-Century China; Donald Holzman, "La Poésie de Ji K'ang." LDMHJ states that he was also skilled continue

      in calligraphy and painting and lists two paintings as still extant (vol. 21, pp. 91-92; vol. 2.2, p. 73).

56. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 605.

57. Ibid.,juan 28, p. 786.

56. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 605.

57. Ibid.,juan 28, p. 786.

58. "Sijiu fu," Wen xuan, juan 2, pp. 81-83. Translated by Burton Watson, Chinese Rhyme-prose, pp. 61-63.

59. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 20, p. 583 (citing the Xishi pu ).

60. "Yu Shan juyuan juejiaoshu," Wen xuan, juan 4, pp. 156-62. All quotations are from the elegant translation by James Robert Hightower, "Hsi K'ang's Letter to Shan T'ao," pp. 162-66.

61. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 157; Hightower, "Letter," p. 162.

62. Xi Kang's literary works contradict the last point.

63. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 158; Hightower, "Letter," p. 163. Note the similarity of the idea to Liu Shao's views of human nature: being lazy by nature, he could not correct the waywardness. There was no place to go but down. See, for similarity to Liu Shao, Henricks's discussion of Xi Kang's essay "On Wisdom and Courage" in Philosophy and Argumentation, p. 126. Also, in the letter: "What is esteemed in human relationships is the just estimate of another's inborn nature, and helping him to realize it . . . you would not want to pervert its heaven-given quality, but rather see that it finds its proper place" ( Wen xuan, juan 4, pp. 160-61; Hightower, "Letter," p. 165).

64. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 160; Hightower, "Letter," p. 165. The reference is to the Confucian doctrines upheld by the Sima. Elsewhere in the letter, however, he implies admiration for Confucius, and in the "Essay on Kuan and Ts'ai" he praises and defends the Duke of Zhou (Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation, p. 123).

65. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 157; Hightower, "Letter," p. 162.

66. Wen xuan, juan 4, pp. 158, 159, 161; Hightower, "Letter," pp. 163, 164, 165.

67. Vervoorn, "Eremitism," pp. 208-9.

68. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 161; Hightower, "Letter," p. 166. Compare Holzman's translation of the last two lines of Xi Kang's poem "Parti à boire": "Il ne me reste plus qu'a m'adonner tout entier aux cordes de ma cithare / Et confier ainsi mon coeur à mes amis intimes" (Holzman, "La Poésie," p. 172; XKJJ, pp. 72-73.

69. Kenneth DeWoskin, A Song for One or Two, p. 57. DeWoskin's splendid study deals with many aspects of music in the early periods that cannot be discussed here. It is essential reading for those interested in the early art of China. See also DeWoskin, "Early Chinese Music and the Origins of Aesthetic Terminology." For the qin, see also R. H. van Gulik, The Lore of the Chinese Lute and Hsi K'ang.

70. DeWoskin, Song, p. 113.

71. Of interest to art historians is Xi Kang's account of the painted decorations of the qin: "It shows figures of dragons and phoenixes, and of antique worthies: ones sees Po-tzû-ya playing his lute, and Chung-tzû-ch'i listening to him, brilliant and shining in full colors. . . . Ling-lun adjusts the sonorous tubes, T'ien-lien composes his melodies" (Gulik, Hsi K'ang, pp. 88-89).

72. Ibid., pp. 108-9. break

71. Of interest to art historians is Xi Kang's account of the painted decorations of the qin: "It shows figures of dragons and phoenixes, and of antique worthies: ones sees Po-tzû-ya playing his lute, and Chung-tzû-ch'i listening to him, brilliant and shining in full colors. . . . Ling-lun adjusts the sonorous tubes, T'ien-lien composes his melodies" (Gulik, Hsi K'ang, pp. 88-89).

72. Ibid., pp. 108-9. break

73. Wen xuan, juan 2, p. 136. Gulik's translation, which differs slightly from mine, appears in Hsi K'ang, p. 112.

74. Wen xuan, juan 2, p. 137; Gulik, Hsi K'ang, p. 120.

75. SSXY 2.1.

76. Ibid. For the powder, see Needham, Science and Civilization, vol. 3, p. 44; vol. 5.2, pp. 287-89; Yu Jiaxi, "Hanshi san kao"; Lu Xun, "Wei Jin fengduji wenzhang yu yao ji jiu zhi guanxi"; Rudolf G. Wagner, "Lebensstil und Drogen im Chinesischen Mittelalter."

75. SSXY 2.1.

76. Ibid. For the powder, see Needham, Science and Civilization, vol. 3, p. 44; vol. 5.2, pp. 287-89; Yu Jiaxi, "Hanshi san kao"; Lu Xun, "Wei Jin fengduji wenzhang yu yao ji jiu zhi guanxi"; Rudolf G. Wagner, "Lebensstil und Drogen im Chinesischen Mittelalter."

77. Needham, Science and Civilization, vol. 5.2, pp. 287-89.

78. Lu Xun, "Wei Jin fengdu," p. 495.

79. See, for example, Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 340ff., 347-51.

80. Resonances with other poets of the period can be found in all the poems grouped by Holzman as autobiographical, as Holzman notes (ibid., pp. 344-72).

81. Gulik, Hsi K'ang, p. 96.

82. As both Chen Yinke and Donald Holzman have argued (Chen Yinke, "Tao Yuanming," pp. 182ff; Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 340ff).

83. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 604.

84. Biography in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, pp. 599ff. See also Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 3-5. Ruan Yu was one of the deceased friends to whom Cao Pi alludes in his letter.

85. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 159; Hightower, "Letter," pp. 163-64. For Ruan Ji's association with the Sima clan and his political activities, see Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 14-17.

86. Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 49-50.

87. YKJ: Quan Sanguo wen, juan 53.1-3. For Ruan Ji's reply, see juan 45.2-3.

88. Holzman, Poetry and Politics, p. 83; see also pp. 82-87.

89. " . . . as far as the technique of the thing is concerned you could be a pure Confucian" (ibid., p. 84).

90. Ibid., nos. 21, 58, 38, respectively. For essays by Ruan Ji that appear to be Daoist in orientation, see ibid., chap. 4; chap. 5 for those of a seemingly Confucian persuasion; for the complete translation of Ruan Ji's reply to Fu Yi, see ibid., pp. 85-86.

89. " . . . as far as the technique of the thing is concerned you could be a pure Confucian" (ibid., p. 84).

90. Ibid., nos. 21, 58, 38, respectively. For essays by Ruan Ji that appear to be Daoist in orientation, see ibid., chap. 4; chap. 5 for those of a seemingly Confucian persuasion; for the complete translation of Ruan Ji's reply to Fu Yi, see ibid., pp. 85-86.

91. Many of the numerous critical interpretations of Ruan Ji's life and works throughout the centuries are noted by Holzman. I have never examined any library edition of Ruan Ji criticism that has not been splattered by anonymous vandals with loathsome stars, exclamation marks, and comments proclaiming disagreement with the author's interpretations.

92. Holzman, Poetry and Politics, p. 1.

93. He Qimin, Zhulin qixian, pp. 115-31; Mather, SSXY 4.17, nn. 1 and 4. See also Robinet, "Kouo Siang," for the conclusion that Xiang Xiu's and Guo Xiang's commentaries were different (p. 73, n. 1).

94. For Xi Kang's original essay and the two replies, see XKJJ, pp. 143-60, 161-67, 168-95, respectively; Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation, pp. 21-30, 31-37, 38-70. respectively.

95. Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation, p. 24; XKJJ, p. 146.

96. Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation, pp. 35-37.

97. Jiude song. The text survives, attributed to ZLQXL, in the Commen- soft

        tary to SSXY 4.69 (from which this translation by Richard B. Mather is quoted), and in Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 261.

98. SSXY 4.69; Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 261.

99. Chen Yinke says that Shan Tao was related to the Sima clan, but this is disputed by Holzman (Chen Yinke, "Tao Yuanming," p. 187, citing the Jin shu biography; Holzman, Poetry and Politics, p. 250, n. 33). The Jin shu is a compilation of the Tang dynasty and relies heavily on the same fourth- and fifth-century sources I shall use in the following chapter. Hence I do not draw on it here. For the critical historiographic issues in re: official biographies, Denis Twitchett's "Problems of Chinese Biography" is most pertinent.

100. Following Mather's translation of the following titles: libu shangshu, puye, taizi shaofu, situ. Cited in the Commentary to SSXY 3.5.

101. By Yuan Hong (328-376); cited in SSXY 8.12 (Chinese edition only). Charles O. Hucker translates this title as "Gentleman Cavalier Attendant" and says it was originally an honorific conferred upon favored officials ( Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985] no. 4837). The Jin shu biography states that Ruan Xian served as the grand warden ( taishou ), first of Wu, then of Shiping District.

102. Jin zhugong zan by Fu Chang. Cited in the Commentary to SSXY 20.1.

103. Yu Yu's Jin shu, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 2.23 (Chinese edition only).

104. Gaoshi zhuan by Huangfu Mi, juan 1, p. 31. It is almost identical with the version in Shuo Yuan, juan 17, p. 170 ( Congshu jicheng ed., vol. 528).

105. Dai Mingyang collects and discusses the purported and frequently reedited fragments in XKJJ, pp. 397-426. The story ofRong Qiqi appears on p. 405. Both Shen Yue's Song shu ( juan 93, p. 2280) and the Commentary to SSXY 9.80 refer to a Gaoshi zhuan by Xi Kang, clearly in circulation in the fifth century.

106. Gulik, Hsi K'ang, p. 82.

107. The exchange of essays on geomancy are translated by Henricks, Philosophy and Argumentation, pp. 144-99. Ruan Kan and the exchange of poems are discussed, and the poems translated, by Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 161-71.

108. Weishi chunqiu, in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 606.

109. SSXY 4.94.

110. Shuijing zhu, juan 9 p. 301.

111. He Qimin has examined in exhaustive detail the question of their meeting ( Zhulin qixian, pp. 1-15). See also Holzman, "Les Sept Sages," p. 327, and Poetry and Politics, p. 8.

112. For population decrease, see, for example, Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 8, p. 262; juan 16, p. 499.

113. Lien-sheng Yang, "Notes on the Economic History of the Chin Dynasty," pp. 126ff.

114. See, for centers of commerce in the South, Étienne Balazs, "Le Traité économique du Souei-chou, " p. 232, n. 215.

115. Mather, SSXY, p. xv.

116. I have relied extensively for my understanding of the economy of the period on Lien-sheng Yang's "Notes" and Balazs, "Le Traité économi- soft

      que," esp. pp. 135-75. Balazs, "Le Moyen Âge: les six dynasties et les empires barbares," offers a useful summary of the period (in Henri Maspero et Etienne Balazs, Histoire et institutions de la Chine ancienne ).

117. Balazs, "Le Traité économique," p. 136 and n. 60; Yang, "Notes," pp. 128ff. For a recent study of these dependents, see Tang Changru, "Gi Shin Nanbokucho * no kyaku to bukyoku."

118. See, for example, Tang Changru, "Sun Wu Jianguo ji Hanmo Jiangnan de zongbu yu shan Yue," pp. 3-29; Wang Zhongluo, Wei Jin Nanbeichao shi, vol. 1, pp. 105-9; Kawakatsu, "L'Aristocratie et la société féodale."

119. For the development from individuals as shi to clans as shi, see Chen Chi-yun, "Zhongguo zhonggu 'shizu zhengzhi' kaolun zhi yi."

120. In his study of the oligarchy, David Johnson found that every reported case of exemption from corvée was based on a person's official rank or that of his immediate ancestors ( Medieval Chinese Oligarchy, p. 15).

121. See Shigeaki Ochi, "Thoughts on the Understanding of the Han and Six Dynasties," p. 44 (in English).

122. Ochi, "Thoughts," pp. 51, 42. These "hereditary" appointments, although only at the local level of administration, were more advantageous than they seem. A local appointment at a high level qualified the occupant for advancement in the central hierarchy. See Miyazaki, Kyuhin * pp. 125-30.

123. It is perhaps more pertinent to say that the Sun upstarts sealed their military and political alliances by marrying into prominent families—a path to social eminence I shall discuss further (Wang Zhongluo, Wei Jin Nanbeichao shi, vol. 1, p. 106).

124. Fan Wenlan, Zhongguo tongshi, vol. 2, p. 456.

125. Biography in Jin shu, juan 65, pp. 1745-54. Fan Wenlan credits Wang Dao's genius with the successful forging of a new dynasty ( Zhongguo tongshi, vol. 2, pp. 454-62).

126. Settled on these "lodged" lands ( qiaojun, qiaoxian ), the most powerful of the clans ruled them as private kingdoms and often found themselves in conflict with the military and civil governments of their district. (See Yang, "Notes," for private enclosure of mountains, p. 134; J. D. Frodsham, The Murmuring Stream, vol. 1, p. 66). For a study of the conflict between powerful émigrés and state authority, see Yasuda Jiro * , "Shin so * kakumei to Yo * Shu * [Jo * Yo] no kyomin."

127. For a conjectural figure of the number of officials appointed in 318, see Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, vol. 1, p. 85.

128. Xin Tangshu, juan 199, p. 5677. Note Liu Fang's contrast, in which he states that during the Han dynasty, office was honored; in Jin and Song, family was honored (:bid.). An excellent summary of this material is found in Balazs, "Le Moyen Âge," esp. pp. 101ff. See also Johnson, Medieval Chinese Oligarchy, p. 99, for a survey of Chinese terms for these genealogies.

129. See Johnson, Medieval Chinese Oligarchy, p. 5; Chen Chi-yun, "Shizu zhengzhi."

130. The three are not identical; the possession of one does not automatically provide the other two: hence the difficulty of defining the precise characteristics that qualified a family for "greatness." For important studies of the subject, see Mao Hanguang, Liang Jin Nanbeichao shizu zhengzhi zhi yanjiu; Wang Yitong, Wuchao mendi; Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Aristocratic Families continue

      of Early Imperial China; Dennis Grafflin, "The Great Family in Medieval South China"; Johnson, Medieval Chinese Oligarchy.

131. Jin shu, juan 99, p. 2597; for the genealogy, see Jin shu, juan 74, p. 1939 (Biography of Huan Yi).

132. For the claim: "Ming zi" (Charge to My Son), translated by A. R. Davis, T'ao Yüan-ming ( A.D.   365-427), vol. 1, pp. 26-27; Chinese text, vol. 2, pp. 22-23. For the "fact": Chen Yinke goes so far as to conclude that Tao Kan (259-334) was not even a Han Chinese (Chen Yinke, " Wei shu Sima Rui zhuan Jiangdong minzu tiao shizhengji tuilun," p. 80).

133. Guhuapinlu, p. 29; LDMHJ, vol. 2.1, p. 24; vol. 2.2, p. 65.

134. See, for example, the fifth-century anecdote about Gu Kaizhi and Huan Xuan in the Commentary to SSXY 21.7.

135. Jin shu, juan 99, pp. 2592, 2594; LDMHJ, vol. 1, pp. 116-17; vol. 2.1, p. 49, n. 9.

5— Contemplating the Ancients

1. See the conclusions, similar to my own, of Richard B. Mather, SSXY, p. 371, and more recently in "Individualist Expression of the Outsiders during the Six Dynasties," p. 201.

2. "At the time [ca. 260] the fame of [their] manner was wafted everywhere within the seas. Even down to the present people continue to intone it" (Sun Sheng, Jinyang qiu, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 23.1).

3. I have found no reference to a painting of the Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi.

4. Traditions are our concern here. It is what the men of Eastern Jin and Liu-Song believed to be true (or, at least, wanted to be true) that matters. My purpose in examining the historical evidence for the Seven Worthies in the previous chapter was to demonstrate the paucity of this evidence and the significant creative effort later applied to the development of the traditions.

5. SSXY 23.1.

6. SSXY 17.2.

7. SSXY: for Ruan Ji, 23.5; for Liu Ling, Mingshi zhuan, cited in the Commentary to 4.69; for Wang Rong, 29.2.

8. Many of the late third-, fourth-, and fifth-century works referring to the Seven Worthies, now lost, have been preserved in documents of the fifth and sixth centuries. They thus provide the evidence that the anecdotes were in circulation prior to, as well as after, the publication of their later compilations. Pei Songzhi's Commentary to Sanguo zhi was presented to the throne in 429, for example (for historiography see DeCrespigny, Records of the Three Kingdoms ). The editors of the SSXY, compiled probably some time between 420 and 444, clearly drew on earlier works, as attested by comparison of the text with those anecdotes included in the commentary of Liu Jun (Liu Xiaobiao), whose dates are 462-521.

9. SSXY: Deng Can's Jin ji (fourth century) is cited in the Commentary to 9.17; Dai Kui's ZLQXL in the Commentary to 23.13.

10. Jin ji, by Gan Bao. Cited in the Commentary to SSXY 23.2. Gan Bao's remark "Look at Ruan Ji's conduct and you will understand what continue

      caused the collapse of the Doctrine of Rites" ( Jin ji, in Wen xuan, juan 5, p. 33) echoes down the ages.

11. Weishi chunqiu, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 23.2. Note the similarities between this account and that of Wang Rong's mourning ( SSXY 1.17).

12. SSXY 9.31.

13. Wujun yong (Songs of Five Gentlemen), Wen xuan, juan 2, p. 212. Four of the five poems in praise of the Seven Worthies are also excerpted in Shen Yue's Song shu, where he states that Yan Yanzhi wrote them in pique over his failure to receive promotion. His failure to include Shan Tao and Wang Rong, says Shen Yue, was a deliberate rejection (i.e., of high-ranking officials) and therefore a criticism of his own superiors ( juan 73, p. 1893).

14. SSXY 23.6.

15. Wujun yong, Wen xuan, juan 2, p. 212.

16. LDMHJ, vol. 2.1, p. 47; vol. 2.2, p. 69. A. C. Graham, translator, The Book of Lieh-tzu, pp. 24-25. For dating see ibid., p. 12, as well as Graham's "The Date and Composition of the Liehtzyy."

17. James Robert Hightower, "T'ao Ch'ien's 'Drinking Wine' Poems," pp. 7, 22.

18. For Ruans and convivial pigs, SSXY 23.12; for the slave girl, SSXY 23.15; for the lice, see chap. 4.

19. Alexander Soper has noted this ("Tomb Discovery," p. 85). Shan Tao said that when Xi Kang was drunk, "he leans crazily like a jade mountain about to collapse," a characterization clearly not depicted in the mural ( SSXY 14.5). Soper has also suggested that Xiang Xiu, who might be characterized as tipsy, but who has no wine cup or bowl, might be meditating (p. 85; see also Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 42).

20. As in the Han dynasty, funerals were large affairs. Clan members, friends, protégés, and former protégés would often travel long distances to attend the funeral. See, for example, Tao Yuanming's account of Meng Jia's journey from Jiankang to Guiji to attend the funeral of Xie Shang (d. 357), under whom he had once served (Davis, T'ao Yüan-ming, vol. 1, p. 204).

21. SSXY 2.18. Ji Mountain (Henan) was the hermitage of the two ancient and virtuous recluses referred to in the anecdote. For discussion of the Seven Worthies as a cautionary tale, see Mather, "Controversy."

22. Ample precedents existed for group compositions—for example, the many banquet or visitation scenes of Han. Ellen Laing cites the Yinan scene of Cang Jie and Ju Song as a possible precedent ("Neo-Taoism," p. 15). The flight to the south must have included many skilled artisans.

23. SSXY: for Gu Kaizhi's characterization, see the Commentary to 8.10 (Gu Kaizhi, Hua zan ); for Zhong Hui's, 8.5; for Pei Kai's, 14.6; for Wang Gong's, 23.51

24. SSXY 14.5 and the Commentary ( Xi Kang bieji ). It is of some interest that the SSXY frequently likens individuals to nature's wonders—wind, trees, pearls, jade—and that often it is the motion or action that is important: wind soughs, jade mountains collapse, lightning flashes, pearls and jade tinkle.

25. SSXY 14.13, 20.1, 8.12.

26. The Jin shu says that Ruan Xian played the pipa, or balloon guitar continue

        ( juan 49, P. 1363). The archaeological report states that the pipa held by Ruan Xian in the mural is a version of the instrument invented by, and named after, him, the ruan (Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 42).

27. Depicted in three-quarter view, both egg-shaped heads are formed by a continuous, unbroken line that bulges slightly at the cheek, curves inward to form a point, then curves slightly outward, then up to form the chin. An adjoining outward curve travels across and up to complete the lower jaw. A long, bulging line forms the bridge of the nose, then turns sharply in almost a straight line before steeply turning up and in. Mouths and eyes are identical.

28. "When Juan Chi [Ruan Ji] whistled ( hsiao ), he could be heard several hundred paces away. In the Su-men mountains (Honan) there appeared from nowhere a Realized Man. . . . Juan Chi went to see for himself and spied the man squatting with clasped knees by the edge of a cliff. Chi climbed the ridge . . . and squatted opposite him. Chi rehearsed for him briefly matters from antiquity to the present. . . . But when Chi asked his opinion about it he remained aloof and made no reply. [Chi then discoursed on metaphysical issues, but elicited no reply.] He was still exactly as before, fixedly staring without turning. Chi therefore turned toward him and made a long whistling sound. After a long while the man finally laughed and said, 'Do it again.' Chi whistled a second time . . . then . . . withdrew. [When] halfway down the ridge . . . he heard above him a shrillness like an orchestra of many instruments, while forests and valleys reechoed with the sound. Turning back to look, he discovered it was the whistling of the man he had just visited" ( SSXY 18.1). For whistling, see E. D. Edwards, "'Principles of Whistling—Hsiaochih'—Anonymous"; Sawada Mizuho, "Sho * no genryu * "; Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 151-52; DeWoskin, Song, pp. 162-66.

29. I mean, what the men of the fourth century thought they had in common.

30. SSXY: for Xi Kang, see the Commentary to 14.5 ( Xi Kang bieji ); for Wang Rong, see the Commentary to 6.4 ( Mingshi zhuan ); for Shan Tao, 3.5. Xi Kang's extraordinary capacity may also bejudged a defect, as it was by the emperor Jianwen.

31. Yan Yanzhi, Wujun yong, Wen xuan, juan 2, pp. 212, 211, 212, respectively. Yan's poem on Ruan Ji has been translated by Holzman, Poetry and Politics, p. 236.

32. [ Xiang ] Xiu bie zhuan, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 4.17.

33. SSXY 3.7.

34. [ Xiang ] Xiu bie zhuan, cited in SSXY 4.17.

35. SSXY 23.7.

36. ZLQXL, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 8.12.

37. SSXY 14.13. The same un-Confucian behavior is reported of Xi Kang ( Xi Kang bieji, cited in SSXY 14.5).

38. Weiguo tong, by Liang Zuo (fifth-century), cited in the Commentary to SSXY 14.13.

39. For Wang Rong: SSXY 8.5; for Shan Tao: Jinyang qiu, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 19.11.

40. For Xi Kang: SSXY 14.5; for Shan Tao: Hua zan, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 8.10.

41. SSXY 14.5. break

42. ZLQXL, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 4.17. Emphasis added.

43. SSXY 8.8.

44. SSXY: for Liu Ling, see the Commentary to 14.13 ( Weiguo tong ) for Xi Kang, 6.2, 1.16; for Ruan Ji, 23.2; for Wang Rong, 6.5 and the Commentary ( ZLQXL ), where we learn that the emperor, who witnessed the event, was very impressed.

45. Or the painting on which the murals were surely based. Pei Songzhi's inclusion of Cao Pi's letter in his Commentary to the Sanguo zhi is evidence for its currency at the time of tomb construction. Its continued currency is attested by its inclusion in the sixth-century Wen xuan.

46. As indeed we will find them in countless paintings hereafter, for which, see Laing, "Neo-Taoism."

47. I can find no early allusion to Wang Rong and a ruyi (the earliest being the sixth-century Yu Xin's reference to "Wang Rong's ruyi dance." See Nanjing, "Xishanqiao," p. 41). See also SSXY 13.4 for the ruyi, drinking, and Rong's kinsman, Wang Dun.

48. See the discussion in DeWoskin, Song, pp. 123-24, 140-44. "To the cognoscente, the pose with qin in lap is suggestive not of serious playing of the instrument, but simply of its presence" (p. 142).

49. Legge Li Ki, I.I.IV-11.

50. The exaggerated fistlike bulge in which some of the wearers' belts terminate (figs. 24, 26) is found as early as late Zhou in the small painting on silk unearthed at Changsha in 1942 (Hunansheng bowuguan, "Xin faxian de Changsha Zhanguo Chu mu bohua" [ WW 1973.7], pp. 2-4 and fig. 1). The male figure is considered by many to be a portrait of the deceased. It suggests a long history, still to be traced, for some of these forms.

51. See chap. 4. A description of Liezi is brought to mind by the image of Xiang Xiu: "My mind concentrated and my body relaxed, bones and flesh fused completely, I did not notice what my body leaned against and my feet trod, I drifted with the wind . . . and never knew whether it was the wind that rode me or I the winc." (Graham, Lieh-tzu, pp. 36-37).

52. For the question of intent, see, for example, Alexander Soper, "Life-Motion and the Sense of Space," esp. pp. 178-79. For the position that the Seven Worthies mural is one step in the evolution of space-depiction, see Annette Juliano, Teng-hsien, pp. 69-70.

53. "And those who know men are certainly wise."

54. In Richard Mather's literal translation, "cultivated tolerance." See, for his discussion of this crucial phrase, SSXY, p. xvii. Mather's translation of ya as "cultivated" emphasizes the trained, or educated, aspect of this capacity. It is an ability that carl be expressed only if it has been nurtured. Only one who has experienced much in life is capable of controlling his emotions under all circumstances. It implies, moreover, that through self-discipline one has achieved an inner detachment from, an indifference to, worldly matters. Thus, it resonates with ziran, and both concepts conform to Daoist and Buddhist ideals.

        Ziran and yaliang may be subsumed under the famous phras efengliu, wind-stream—freely flowing. I refrain from using it because of the connotation of decadence attached to it by later Confucians, a connotation it most certainly did not bear in the Six Dynasties. See, for example, the monk Dao-an's pur- soft

      ported remark in 365 that in the capital "are many noble gentlemen, who appreciate the fine manners [ fengliu ] of the cultured priests" (cited in Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, vol. 1, p. 190).

55. SSXY 19.30.

56. Precisely what is meant by manner and style is not spelled out. We may rest assured that Ji Ni meant no allusion to pigs, drunkenness, nudity, etc. Offending the Xies and the Wangs was not normally a safe pastime. For another example of southern conservatism vs. the "new style" see SSXY 24.17.

57. Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, chap. 3.

58. See Arthur F. Wright, "Biography and Hagiography: Hui-chiao's Lives of Eminent Monks. "

59. Biography in Jin shu, juan 56, pp. 1544-47. See also Hellmut Wilhelm, "A Note on Sun Ch'o and His Yu-tao-lun"; Richard B. Mather, "The Mystical Ascent of the T'ian-t'ai Mountains." Sun Chuo's Dao xian lun is quoted in the Gaoseng zhuan of Huijiao. For the comparisons: Dharmaraksa with Shan Tao, juan 1, pp. 326c-327a; Bo Yuan with Xi Kang, juan 1, p. 327b; Zhu Facheng with Wang Rong, juan 4, p. 347c; Zhu Daoqian with Liu Ling, juan 4, p. 348a; Zhi Dun with Xiang Xiu, juan 4, p. 349c; Yu Falan with Ruan Ji, juan 4, p. 35oa. The comparison with Xiang Xiu is also quoted in the Commentary to SSXY 4.36.

60. Zhi Dun, however, like Xiang Xiu, was an authority on the Laozi and the Zhuangzi.

61. Similarly, in 410, the monk Sengzhao compared the monastic community at Lu Shan to Ruan Ji, who "never gossiped but discussed only the philosophical principles underlying a case. (Your songs remind me of) the noble poems (composed by the Seven Philosophers in the Bamboo) Grove" (Walter Liebenthal, Chao Lun: The Treatises of Seng-chao [2nd rev. ed.; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1968], p. 89).

62. SSXY 9.36.

63. See the genealogy in Wilhelm's "Note on Sun Ch'o," p. 262. Chuo served on the staffs of Yu Liang, Yin Hao, and Wang Xizhi (p. 265).

64. SSXY 27.12. If true, this did not prevent him from marrying his daughter, purportedly by ruse, to the son of Wang Tanzhi, marquis of Lantian, and onetime president of the Central Secretariat. He was a descendant of Wang Chang (d. 259), said to be from Taiyuan ( Sanguo zhi [Wei shu], juan 27, p. 743).

65. E.g., SSXY 5.48, 26.9, 26.15, 26.17, 26.22.

66. SSXY 9.61. The Commentary adds: "[Chuo] and Hsü Hsün both talked in terms of turning their backs on the world, but while Hsün, to the day of his death, never compromised his determination, Ch'o [Chuo] became deeply enmeshed in worldly affairs" ( Wenzhang zhi, sponsored by [Song] Emperor Ming [r. 465-472]).

67. For the concepts of chaoyin and shiyin, see Chi Li, "Recluse," 241ff. See also Wolfgang Bauer, "The Hidden Hero," p. 169; Mather, "Controversy," pp. 168ff.; Wang Yao, "Lun xiqi yinyizhifeng," pp. 82, 95, and passim.

68. Jinyang qiu, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 19.11. See also the Commentary to 3.5. Citing the Shiyu, Pei Songzhi says that Shan Tao warned continue

      Xi Kang that his plan to overthrow the regime was ill-advised ( Sanguo zhi [Wei shu], juan 21, p. 607). Compare Sun Sheng's praise with Liezi's "Pick the right time and flourish / Miss the right time and perish" (Graham, Lieh-tzu, pp. 162-63).

69. SSXY 4.91.

70. For the anecdote, see Weishi qunqiu, cited by Pei Songzhi, Sanguo zhi, juan 21, p. 606; SSXY 18.2.

71. Zhongxing shu, by He Fasheng (fifth century), cited in the Commentary to SSXY 4.91.

72. The characterization is Richard B. Mather's, SSXY, p. 529. Wan's disgrace is recounted in SSXY 9.49. It is not irrelevant to note that Wan was son-in-law to Wang Shu, the father of Wang Tanzhi, whose son was married to Sun Chuo's daughter.

73. A.D. 320-385. Biography in Jin shu, juan 79, pp. 2072-77.

74. When, in the sixth century, the rebel Hou Jing demanded of the Liang emperor a marital alliance with the Xie or Wang family, Wu Di was forced to refuse: "They occupy peerless positions in the realm." He offered him, instead, a wife from the Zhu or Zhang clans. Hou Jing consoled himself by marrying the emperor's granddaughter ( Nan shi, juan 80, pp. 1996, 2000).

75. For the famous Battle of the River Fei, see Michael Rogers, The Chronicle of Fu Chien: A Case of Exemplary History.

76. For the most famous gathering, that in the Orchid Pavilion, see SSXY 16.3, where the preface attributed to Wang Xizhi is partially quoted. Ding Fubao has collected many of the poems said to have been composed on that occasion in Quan Han Sanguo Jin Nanbeichao shi: Quan Jin shi, juan 5.

77. SSXY 4.55. Note that we are not given the substance of the debate, merely the judgments of the presentations. This is characteristic of the SSXY. In addition to An's talent for debate, he is said to have been a great calligrapher. See Frodsham, Murmuring Stream 1:5; 2:7, notes 52, 53; Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition in Chinese Calligraphy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 90-93 and passim.

78. Xu Jin yang qiu, by Tan Daoluan (fifth century), cited in the Commentary to SSXY 8.77.

79. SSXY 9.55

80. SSXY 6.28 Emphasis added.

81. SSXY 25.32.

82. Furen ji, cited in the Commentary to SSXY 25.26.

83. SSXY 4.52.

84. Yi's biography is in Jin shu, juan 74, pp. 1939-41; Wen's in Jin shu, juan 98, pp. 2568-80. See also SSXY 19.32, where the Huans are referred to as "upstarts," and 23.34, where Wen is said to have been poor in his youth.

85. SSXY 25.24, 13.9. Tan's reply lays bare the enmities of the period: "For the vitality and duration of the virtue of the Jin, how can you take the credit?" ( Yulin, by Pei Qi [fourth century], cited in the Commentary to 25.24).

86. SSXY 8. 105, 9.45.

87. SSXY 13.8.

88. See also SSXY 2. 102 for the unfavorable comparison of Huan Wen with Wang Dun's loyal brother, the minister Wang Dao. break

89. The SSXY is a work of literature. It can be demonstrated that, in its totality as well as in the individual anecdotes, there are structure, form, and style. It is therefore a work of art, literature that celebrates, as I have noted in chapter 4, yet another art form, Pure Conversation ( qingtan ). For an analysis of the work and the history of the extant text, see Mather's introduction to his translation, as well as Yoshikawa, " Shih-shuo hsin-yü " (in English). See also Yoshio Kawakatsu, "Sie Ling-yun et le Che-Chuou Sin Yu. "

90. See, for a discussion of history and fiction, Kenneth J. DeWoskin, "The Six Dynasties Chih-kuai and the Birth of Fiction."

91. Hence the need for a commentary not long after its compilation. Many of the anecdotes are clearly "insider" stories, early lost on succeeding generations. Another reason for the need for a commentary, as Liu Jun makes clear, is the bias of the work. See, for example, his remarks in SSXY 5.23, 30, 37.

92. SSXY 23.32.

93. See chap. 4. The same source states that, after Wang Dao's emigration to the south, he talked of nothing but three topics, two of which were essays by Xi Kang ( Music Is Without Sorrow or Joy and Nourishing Life [ SSXY 4.21]).

Still another connection is made between the famous minister, Xi Kang, and Ruan Ji, and the values for which they were celebrated: "Chou I [Zhou Yi] was courteous and affable and of a fine prepossessing figure. When he went to visit Wang Tao [Wang Dao], as he first got down from his carriage he was supported by several men. Wang watched him with suppressed amusement. After they had been seated, Chou, completely self-assured, began whistling and intoning poems. Wang asked him, 'Are you trying to imitate Hsi K'ang [Xi Kang] and Juan Chi [Ruan Ji]?' Zhou replied, 'How could I presume to discard a close model like Your Excellency to imitate such distant ones as Hsi K'ang and Juan Chi?'" ( SSXY 2.40).

94. SSXY 9.36.

95. SSXY 8.111. Translation mine.

96. SSXY 9.36.

97. SSXY 9.44 Comparing Meng with Wang Dao, Liu stated that Meng had the "greater endowment of elegance" ( SSXY 9.43); "compared with the chancellor, Wang Meng is more straightforward and uninhibited, more endowed with purity" ( Yulin, cited in the Commentary).

98. I have found no such linkages with Rong Qiqi. Perhaps the modified image we observed in Tao Qian's poems is the reason—the original, happy recluse of the third century no longer fits the new ideal, one who stoops and rises with the times.

99. SSXY 6.29. Emphasis added. The Commentary offers further explanation of the enmity. Compare Liu Shao's remarks in chapter 4.

100. For Xie An as arbiter of fashion, see SSXY 26.24. For Ruan Yu's admiration, 4.24; for the snobbery: "Right in front of his older brother, Hsieh An [Xie An], Hsieh Wan [Xie Wan] was about to get up and look for the urinal. At the time Juan Yü [Ruan Yu] was among the company and remarked, 'Households that have newly become prominent are frank, but without manners [ li ]' " ( SSXY 24.9; see also 18.6).

101. SSXY 1.15; 4.67. break

102. SSXY 8.97. Xie Kun's biography is in Jin shu, juan 49, pp. 1377-79. His grave was unearthed outside Nanjing in 1964 ( WW 1965.6:34-35).

103. Time, however, alters opinions. A characterization of Xie Kun by Prince Liu Yiqing is included in the Commentary to An's characterization: "Hsieh K'un [Xie Kun] was uninhibited and unceremonious and possessed understanding. He did not bother with the rules of decorum or understanding. His actions were free but his mind was correct" ( SSXY 8.97; emphasis added).

104. SSXY 1.36.

105. Cf. Ruan Yu's comment about the Xies with that of Lady Yin in re: the Huans ( SSXY 19.32). For their part, the Langya Wangs endured by the wise expedient of marrying their daughters everywhere.

106. For a study of yet another celebration of the Xie family, see Rogers, Fu Chien.

107. Poor Sun Chuo, whom I have left dangling, was no upstart. Was it his poverty, or rather his too-obvious pursuit of success that led others to consider him "corrupt"? His manner, it would seem, was against him.

108. For literary talent, SSXY 4.102, 4.103; for love of art, Xu Jin yang qiu, in the Commentary to SSXY 21.7; Jin shu, juan 99 pp. 2592, 2594.

109. Jin shu, juan 99 pp. 2593-94. Cf. with SSXY 8.99 and Yin Hao's eremitism as augury for the realm: "Yin Hao had been living in his graveyard hermitage . . . for nearly ten years (336-346). At the time both those at court and in the provinces compared him to Kuan Chung [Guan Zhong] [d. 645 B.C. ] and Chu-ko Liang [Zhuge Liang]. His decision whether or not to come out of retirement they took to be an augury of the rise or fall of the whole area east of the Yangtze River." Similarly for Xie An, and we may assume that Huan Xuan expected poor Huangfu Xizhi, like Zhuge Liang, to eventually heed the summons and thus legitimize the dynasty.

        See also the recluse Zhu Daoyi's frightening and successful threat to depart forever from Jin if forced to come to court (recounted by Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, vol. 1, p. 149). The potency of the belief that virtuous recluses added luster to a dynasty was not confined to the south. Shi Hu (r. 333-349), barbarian ruler of the Zhao kingdom (in southern Hebei), was irked by the repeated refusal of the recluse and Yijing specialist Yang Ke to accept appointment. The Buddhist monk and adviser to Shi Hu, Daojin, defended the latter: "Whenever a prince acts, it will surely be written down. Is it desirable to make it so that the record of the house of Chao [Zhao] will have no biographies of hermits?" Impressed, Shi Hu gave Yang Ke a stipend to maintain himself as a recluse (Arthur Wright, "Fo-T'u-Têng," pp. 359-61).

110. See, for example, SSXY 23.50, 33.17, 31.8. As I have noted, the SSXY 's rhetorical use of traditions is subtle, never more so than in its treatment of a major theme of the book, self-control. The reader is rarely told that Huan Xuan lacked self-control, he is merely given repeated examples of such behavior. Xie An's sole incident of loss of control ( SSXY 33.14) is explicitly justified by the allusion to his brother's death and An's consequent human (and virtuous ) reaction: "Even though water by nature is calm and gentle, when it enters a narrow gorge it dashes and plunges. If we should compare it to human emotions, we would certainly understand that in a harassed and narrow place there is no possibility of preserving one's composure" (emphasis continue

      added). Several anecdotes in the SSXY suggest that control of the emotions was seen to require almost superhuman efforts. See, e.g., the sympathetic treatment of Wang Rong's grief in 17.4.

111. Mather, in the Commentary to SSXY 13.13.

112. SSXY 6.35.

113. Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 26, p. 729. Translated by J.J. M. de Groot, The Religious System of China, vol. 2, p. 380.

114. Kawakatsu, "Sie Ling-yun." For the life of Xie Lingyun and his poetry, see Frodsham, The Murmuring Stream; Paul Demiéville, "La Vie et l'oeuvre de Sie Ling-yun (385-433)" and "À la mémoire d'un ami."

115. For Xie Lingyun's self-identification and traditional association with Xi Kang, see Frodsham, Murmuring Stream, vol. 1, pp. 78-79; Demiéville, "Sie Ling-yun," p. 352; Richard B. Mather, "The Landscape Buddhism of the Fifth-Century Poet Hsieh Ling-yün," p. 73.

116. Xie Hun, for example, was married to a daughter of the Jin emperor Xiaowu (r. 377-396); in 425 two daughters of Xie Hui married scions of the reigning family. Xie Lingyun himself inherited the title of Duke of Kangle, bestowed originally upon his ancestor, Xie Xuan, as a reward for his victory at the Battle of the Fei River. His mother, not incidentally, was a niece of (Langya) Wang Xianzhi, a son of Wang Xizhi.

117. Shen Yue kept his head through three dynasties, and we need not take too seriously the impressive lineage he provided for the first Song emperor (Liu Yu), which traces his descent back to a brother of Han Gao Di. He later tells us that the family was poor, i.e., they were hanmen ( Song shu, juan 1, p. 1). Yu's father, Qiao, is mentioned only in passing in the Jin shu.

118. Laing, "Scholars and Sages" and "Neo-Taoism."

119. LDMHJ, vol. 2.1, p. 85; vol. 2.2, p. 73.

120. For Gu Kaizhi, LDMHJ, vol. 2.1, p. 47; vol. 2.2, p. 69; for Dai Kui, LDMHJ, vol. 2. , p. 97, vol. 2.2, p. 75. Both men painted pictures of some of the Seven Worthies and illustrated their poems.

121. Exceptions would be the revenge story of SSXY 21.4 and Gu Kaizhi's painting of Vimalakirti * ( LDMHJ, vol. 2.1 , p. 45; vol. 2.2, pp. 68-69).

122. It certainly strains credulity to consider that the disciples of Confucius or Mencius's mother were depicted lolling, half-clothed, etc.

123. So also was the remark of Kun's on which the anecdote is based (see SSXY 9.17 for the original remark, similar to Sun Chuo's characterization of himself; for Gu Kaizhi's painting, SSXY 21.12).

6— Like-Minded Companions

1. LDMHJ lists only one painting of Bamboo Grove images ( xiang ) for the Song-Qi period, by Lu Tanwei, who also painted a picture ( tu ) of Rong Qiqi with Confucius and Yan Hui (vol. 2.1, p. 105; vol. 2.2, p. 77). It fails to mention the painting of Xi Kang commissioned of Lu by (Song) Emperor Ming for Fu Manrong ( Liang shu, juan 42, p. 663; Nan shi, juan 71, p. 1731. Alexander Soper has translated this and other examples of portraiture in his continue

      Textual Evidence for the Secular Arts of China in the Period from Liu Sung through Sui ( A.D. 420-618), p. 17).

        A painting of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove is mentioned, however, in the Nan shi, although not in the earlier Nan Qi shu. It is associated, in fact, with one of the candidates for the Jinjia tomb, the infamous Baojuan, whose bloodthirsty and lascivious life-style apparently met all conditions of cyclical theories of history. It may therefore be evidence both for imperial interest in the Seven Worthies and for another tradition. The two historical works agree on the actions of the penultimate Qi emperor (who, not incidentally, is said to have disliked learning), but only the later work documents his evil deeds with such a wealth of detail. After a fire had destroyed much of the palace, the emperor embarked on a great building of halls. "For his favorite, Lady Fan, he erected three . . . halls, . . . all of which were embellished with gold and jade. In the Yü-shou Hall the bed-alcove [showed] flying immortals on the embroidered and figured silks that hung about it. All the spaces between the windows were painted with flying immortals; also were shown the Seven Sages [of the Bamboo Grove], each with a comely handmaiden at his side" (Soper, Textual Evidence, p. 19 [translation of Nan shi, juan 5, pp. 153-54]; translator's interpolation. Cf. Nan Qi shu, juan 7, p. 104, where almost none of the details appear in the account of the rebuilding of the palace). As the historian tells it, no spiritual uplift could have been intended by the patron.

2. Nanjing, "Huqiao Nanchao damu"; Zhu Xizu, Liuchao lingmu diaocha baogao, pp. 16-17; for discussions of the locations of other Nan Qi tombs, see pp. 23-29, 64-67, 78-96.

3. For the reasoning, see Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," pp. 8-10; Till and Swart, "Tombs," pp. 100-6. The tomb associated with Xiao Baojuan is at Jianshan, Jinjiacun, hereafter referred to as the Jinjia tomb; that of Xiao Baorong is at Huqiao, Wujiacun, hereafter referred to as the Wujia tomb.

4. Reported by Till and Swart, who argue for the identification with Wenhui ("Tombs," pp. 75-76).

5. Indeed, the sources do not present the probable tomb occupants as similar in interests or tastes (about poor He Di, for example, we are told nothing), so that specific links between the individual rulers and the Seven Worthies ideal cannot be argued.

6. Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," p. 10; Till and Swart, "Tombs," p. 106.

7. It is possible that the no-longer extant Xiu'anling mural of the Seven Worthies was made from the same molds as that of the Jinjia tomb. One surviving relief from the former tomb, "Immortal Sporting with Tiger," is identical to the same scene from the latter. The Jinjia tomb is about 2 km southeast of the Xiu'anling (the Wujia tomb, on the other hand, is some 4 km to the northwest), and the reliefs may well have come from the same workshop.

8. Much fruitful information about the economy of the south during this period is found in Fan Wenlan, Zhongguo tongshi, vol. 2, pp. 494-518. See also Frodsham, Murmuring Stream, inter alia; Jacques Gernet, Les Aspects économiques du Bouddhisme (Publications de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient, continue

      vol. 29 [1956]). For the debasement of the coinage, see Yoshio Kawakatsu, "La Décadence de l'aristocratie chinoise sous les Dynasties du Sud," esp. pp. 32-33, 35.

9. For another example, see Song shu, juan 57, p. 1583, where Shen Yue states that, in addition to the great clans, favorites of the emperor enclosed lakes and mountains, "blocking the way of the people and harming good government." The official in charge, Cai Xingzong, set all to rights "by means of the law." That he was successful can only mean that he had the support of the throne in his endeavors.

10. Biography of Xie Chaozong (d. 483) in Nan Qi shu, juan 36, pp. 635-39 ; Nan shi, juan 19, pp. 542-44. I do not mean to imply that individuals from the families that held sway in the Eastern Jin period did not sometimes rise to high office in the succeeding centuries. (Langya) Wang Jian, for example, in the Southern Qi period was very powerful and managed often to enforce his policies on the emperor he served. Nevertheless, in the later period, as Dennis Grafflin has argued, the majority of important ministers were not from families that had held power in the earlier period and that continued to enjoy high rank ("The Great Family"). Within the category of families entitled to hold office, families were, indeed, always ranked. Within that category, however, there was considerable mobility. Moreover, it was not difficult to enter that category, as we shall see. The problem arises from the failure to distinguish between formal status and informal power. Serving at court may be an honor. It also enables a shrewd ruler to control his nobles, as Louis XIV demonstrated.

11. Zhou Yiliang, " Nan Qi shu Qiu Lingju zhuan shishi jianlun Nanchao wenwuguan wei ji qingzhuo." For the assignment of members of the imperial family to important governing posts, see Zhou, "Nanchao jingnei zhi gezhongrenji zhengfu duidai zhi zhengce." Both Zhao Yi and Ochi Shigeaki attribute the increasing employment of hanmen in office to the incompetence of members of the Great Families (all tainted, of course, by their fengliu ), which, as Zhao Yi remarks, left the emperors with no choice but to turn to the hanmen. I am more inclined to see the shift as a consequence of deliberate imperial strategy. See Zhao Yi, Nianer shi zhaji (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1963), juan 8, pp. 154-55; Ochi, "Thoughts on the Understanding of the Han and Six Dynasties," pp. 42ff. and passim.

12. Biography in Nan Qi shu, juan 1, pp. 1-2. The discrepancies between the genealogies of Qi Gao Di ( Nan Qi shu, juan 1, p. 1 ) and his distant cousin, Liang Wu Di ( Liang shu, juan 1, p. 1) may be the result of scribal error. However, the inconsistency suggests the usual fabrication. See also the first Qi emperor's statement to Wang Jian and Chu Yuan that he is from a commoner clan ( "buyi suzu." Nan Qi shu, juan 2, p. 38).

13. In the short space of approximately twenty years, seven emperors occupied the throne, some for only a few months. Barry Till and Paula Swart have thoughtfully provided a genealogical table of the Southern Qi dynasty in their translation of one of the archaeological reports ("Tombs," p. 120).

14. See, for example, Wang Sengqian's exhortation to his sons to study in order to maintain the family's position, in Nan Qi shu, juan 33, pp. 598-99. For the discussion, see Johnson, Medieval Oligarchy, p. 104; for a more reserved interpretation, see Ochi Shigeaki, "O * Sochin * no kaishisho o megutte." break

15. For fifth-century examples of forging the registers, see, e.g., Nan Qi shu, biography of Yu Wanzhi, juan 34, p. 609; Balazs, Le Moyen Âge, pp. 103ff. For discussion of the controversial issues, see Johnson, Medieval Oligarchy, esp. chap. 7; Grafflin, "The Great Family."

16. Dubious ancestry in this case refers to Man Zhangzhi's mixed official and commoner ancestry. The accusation is included in Wen xuan, juan 4, pp. 91-94 ( Zoutan Wang Yuan ) and is discussed and partially translated by Johnson, Chinese Oligarchy, pp. 9-10.

17. Wen xuan, juan 4, pp. 95-96; translated by Johnson, Medieval Oligarchy, p. 10.

18. Wen xuan, juan 4, p. 91; Johnson, Medieval Oligarchy, p. 9. For an interesting discussion of the regulations and attitudes toward marriage, see T'ung-tsu Ch'ü, Law and Society in Traditional China, pp. 128-35, 154-57. 1 do not suggest that this was a democratic society, for the road to mobility was limited to those with education. Thus, and as always, the majority of the population was excluded.

19. See especially the remarks of Fei Hsiao-tung on the later importance of marriage as a means for social mobility ("Peasants and Gentry: An Interpretation of Chinese Social Structure and its Changes" [ American Journal of Sociology 52.1 (1946)]: esp. 11). T'ung-tsu Ch'ü also cites and comments on this passage ( Law and Society, p. 33, n. 8).

20. For a brilliant reconstruction of the contacts between north and south, see Alexander Soper, "South Chinese Influence on the Buddhist Art of the Six Dynasties Period." For the splendors of Southern Qi culture and its impact on northern emissaries, see esp. pp. 72-81.

21. H. S. Galt, A History of Chinese Educational Institutions, pp. 282-89.

22. Biography in Liang shu, juan 13, pp. 232-44. His great work, the History of the Song Dynasty ( Song shu ), was presented to the throne in 488. His survival was a remarkable achievement, considering the number of rebellions and counter-rebellions in which so many of his cohort lost their lives. Poverty, of course, is always a relative matter in Chinese biographies. The family may have been poor following his father's execution; nevertheless, Shen Yue managed to obtain an education. For recent discussion of Shen Yue, see Richard B. Mather., "Shen Yüeh's Poems of Reclusion: From Total Withdrawal to Living in the Suburbs," and "Individualist Expressions of the Outsiders during the Six Dynasties," pp. 208-10.

23. Galt, Educational Institutions, esp. p. 289. The philosophical debates of the third century were no longer questions of ideology. Laozi, Zhuangzi, and the commentaries of He Yan, Wang Bi, and Guo Xiang were now classics that every educated man was expected to know. Wang Sengqian, exhorting his sons to study, refers specifically to the ideas of the third century, including Xi Kang's Music Has Neither Grief Nor Joy ( Nan Qi shu, juan 33, pp. 598-99). Ying-shih Yü has translated the passage in which Wang points out the pitfalls for one who would discourse on these matters without proper education ("Individualism," p. 142).

24. Liu, Theories of Literature, p. 8. The earliest account is Xiao Zixian's in his Nan Qi shu, juan 52, p. 898 ; juan 48, p. 841. For a study of the literature of the Yongming period, see Ami Yuji * , Chugoku * chusei * bungaku kenkyu * : Nan Sei Eimei jidai o chushin * to shite. David Knechtges provides important back- soft

      ground material in the introduction to his translation of the Wen xuan, as does John Marney in Chiang Yen and Liang Chien-wen Ti.

25. Xiao Zixian states directly, for example, that Prince Xiao Ziliang was not a polished ( wen cai ) writer ( juan 40, p. 701). The prince's writings were mostly Buddhist in nature, although he and Changmao both wrote "Double-Ninth Festival poems," a practice made fashionable by Tao Yuanming.

26. For an account of the bibliomania of the period, see Knechtges's introduction, Wen xuan, vol. 1, p. 6; p. 493, n. 46.

27. See, for example, Xiao Zixian's remarks in re: Shen Yue, Wang Rong, et al. in Nan Qi shu, juan 52, p. 898. For a recent translation of this passage, see Knechtges's introduction, Wen xuan, vol. 1, p. 11.

28. Xiao Changmao's biography is in Nan Qi shu, juan 21, pp. 397-402; Xiao Ziliang's, in ibid., juan 40, pp. 692-701. See also Ami Yuji * , "Nan Sei Kyoryo * O * Sho * Shiryo * no bungaku katsudo * ni tsuite" ( Tohogaku * ronsho, vol. 2 [1954]: 116-36) and "Nan Sei Kyoryo * O no chi yu * ni tsuite" ( Zinbun kagaku kiyeo, vol. 4 [Tokyo, 1953]: 1-43). Both papers are included in chapter 3 of Ami's Chugoku * chusei * bungaku kenkyu * .

29. For Ziliang's interest in ancient calligraphy, paper, and ink, see his letter to Wang Sengqian in Zhang Pu, Han Wei Liuchao baisan jia ji, juan 63.1 (Taibei, 1963): 2249.

30. Nan Qi shu, juan 40, p. 698.

31. Biographies are as follows: Fan Yun (451-503), Liang shu, juan 13, pp. 229-32; Ren Fang (460-508), Liang shu, juan 14, pp. 251-58; Wang Rong (467-493), Nan Qi shu, juan 47, pp. 817-25; Xie Tiao, Nan Qi shu, juan 47, pp. 825-28; Xiao Chen (478-519) Liang shu, juan 26, pp. 396-98.

32. Xiao Yan's (464-549) biography appears in Liang shu, juan 1, p. 2; Lu Chui's (470-526), in Liang shu, juan 27, p. 401-3.

33. Shen Yue and Lu Chui were from old southern families. Wang Rong was from the famous northern Langya family; his mother was a Xie; Shen Yue and Fan Yun were said to have been poor; Xiao Yan and Xiao Chen were distantly related to the imperial family, and so forth.

34. So well known were the Seven Worthies that Yang Xuanzhi twice identifies a site outside Luoyang as the place where Xi Kang was executed (W. J. F. Jenner, Memories of Loyang, p. 181). Shuijing zhu identifies the site similarly ( juan 16, p. 538).

35. For the proposed dates of completion, see Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," pp. 399-400; for Huijiao's purpose, pp. 385-87 (note the emphasis on literary ability, p. 386).

36. As Arthur Wright remarks, "Those eulogies were particularly suited to Hui-chiao's inclination to seek for his subjects status in the intellectual life of their times" (ibid., p. 428).

37. See Liang shu, juan 13, p. 242, for the comparison with Shan Tao. The essay is included in YKJ: Quan Liang wen, juan 29.1-2, and has been partially translated by Holzman ("Les Sept Sages," p. 344). For Shen Yue's circumspection and ambivalence, see Mather, "Shen Yüeh's Poems"; for his links with RuanJi and Xi Kang, see Mather, "Individualist Expressions." Professor Mather's discussion of Shen Yue's essay (personal communication) has been of inestimable help. The interpretation is mine alone.

38. In his interpretation Shen Yue clearly links himself with Ruan Ji continue

      and Xi Kang and with their ability to discern the truth. See, for example, Xi Kang's poem on Dongfang Shuo ( XKJJ, p. 43; Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 328-29).

39. For Jiang Yan's imitations, see Marney, Chiang Yen, chap. 2 and pp. 87-91. For Bao Zhao, Wang Su, and Yu Xin, see ibid., p. 158, n. 1. See also Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 237-39.

         It is revealing to read the Tang commentary of Li Shan, in which he cites the sources of Ren Fang's allusions in his "Conduct Description of King Wenxuan of Jingling," a prose necrology for Prince Xiao Ziliang. The essay dwells primarily on the prince's many offices held, his concern for the people, his princely virtue. The language is recondite, requiring a commentary some three times the length of the essay. Ren Fang, as one would expect of such a highly educated man, alludes to the Classics, but he also alludes to Ruan Ji, Xi Kang, and Shan Tao—not by name, but by his language. They too had become classics ( Wen xuan, juan 5, pp. 255-64). For the xingzhuang, see Knechtges, Wen xuan, vol. 1, p. 86.

40. The Tang commentary includes also the commentaries by Yan Yanzhi and Shen Yue to Ruan Ji's poems ( juan 2, pp. 243ff.). For the history of the anthology, see Knechtges, Wen xuan, vol. 1, pp. 4ff.

41. Wixted, "Shih-p'in," with full bibliography. The date for the composition of the Shipin is not known. Wixted notes that the latest possible date for its completion is 517.

42. Ruan Ji is placed in the first rank, Xi Kang in the second. For discussion of the latter, see Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 110-12. For Zhong Rong's evaluations of Ruan Ji, see Chia-ying Yeh and Jan W. Walls, "Theory, Standards, and Practice of Criticizing Poetry in Chung Hung's 'Shih-p'in,'" p. 57; for Xi Kang, ibid., p. 58; Wixted, "Shih-p'in," p. 237.

43. Chinese text and English translation in Vincent Shih's The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. Two recent articles pertinent to this discussion are Wixted, "Skih-p'in," and Kang-i Sun Chang, "Chinese 'Lyric Criticism' in the Six Dynasties." Yang Mingzhao states that the work was completed at the end of Qi, 501-502, as the internal evidence makes clear ( Wenxin diaolong jiaozhu shiyi, Introduction, p. 3).

44. Shih, Literary Mind, pp. 497, 68-69.

45. Ibid., pp. 309, 83.

44. Shih, Literary Mind, pp. 497, 68-69.

45. Ibid., pp. 309, 83.

46. Note how closely Liu Xie's evaluation of the works of He Yan follows the third-century judgment of Yan's character—"superficial and shallow" ( fu qian; ibid., p. 68).

47. Ibid., pp. 421, 515.

48. Ibid., pp. 513, 515.

46. Note how closely Liu Xie's evaluation of the works of He Yan follows the third-century judgment of Yan's character—"superficial and shallow" ( fu qian; ibid., p. 68).

47. Ibid., pp. 421, 515.

48. Ibid., pp. 513, 515.

46. Note how closely Liu Xie's evaluation of the works of He Yan follows the third-century judgment of Yan's character—"superficial and shallow" ( fu qian; ibid., p. 68).

47. Ibid., pp. 421, 515.

48. Ibid., pp. 513, 515.

49. E.g., "Liu Ling's alcoholic nature was deep . . . ; [the five others] were fengliu ." Xi Kang and Ruan Ji associated with them because "man's basic nature, which includes his feelings, requires other like-minded persons to whom one is committed in friendship, in order to find comfort and delight for one's present years, and to ease and relieve one's pent-up feelings. If there had not been the association with those five, with whom would [they] have associated?" I owe the translation of this passage to Richard B. Mather (personal communication).

50. Shen Yue's identification with Xi Kang and Ruan Ji is obvious, as he continue

      recognizes in them his own inner anguish and solutions to survival in a dangerous time (for which see Mather, "Shen Yüeh"). Following Shen Yue's death, when it was proposed to honor him with the name of Wen (surely appropriate for a man of eminent literary achievement) the emperor (Liang Wu Di) demurred. "His feelings and emotions he never fully expressed," he remarked; he therefore changed the name to Yin ( Liang shu, juan 6, p. 243). Yin means secret, or hidden. It is also one of the words for "recluse." Thus the name for Shen Yue implies that he was a recluse at court—as the emperor understood.

51. Shih, Literary Mind, p. xlviii.

52. Ibid., pp. 3, 307 (see also p. 395), 309.

53. Ibid., p. 309 with modification. The characterization of him as gallant is an allusion, I believe, to his friendship with Lü An, said by some to have cost him his life. See the Commentary in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 606.

51. Shih, Literary Mind, p. xlviii.

52. Ibid., pp. 3, 307 (see also p. 395), 309.

53. Ibid., p. 309 with modification. The characterization of him as gallant is an allusion, I believe, to his friendship with Lü An, said by some to have cost him his life. See the Commentary in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 606.

51. Shih, Literary Mind, p. xlviii.

52. Ibid., pp. 3, 307 (see also p. 395), 309.

53. Ibid., p. 309 with modification. The characterization of him as gallant is an allusion, I believe, to his friendship with Lü An, said by some to have cost him his life. See the Commentary in Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 606.

54. Shu zhi wei ben (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 341).

55. Ibid. Note the resonance with Shen Yue's dilemma, as discussed by Mather ("Shen Yüeh").

56. Ibid., p. 463.

57. Ibid., p. 465. "During the reign of Emperor Ming (227-239) the emperor himself wrote poetry and composed musical scores. He collected writers and housed them in the Ts'ung-wen monastery. Here Ho (Yen), Liu (Shao), and other literary men vied to outshine one another. Among the young rulers who succeeded Ming, Kao-kuei (Hsiang-kung, or Mao, 254-260) alone was a man of refinement and grace; his very glance conveyed an impression of literary elegance, and the words he uttered extemporaneously formed perfect essays. . . . In this period we find Hsi (K'ang), Juan (Chi), Ying (Chü), and Miu (Hsi) galloping abreast on the thoroughfare of literature" (ibid).

54. Shu zhi wei ben (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 341).

55. Ibid. Note the resonance with Shen Yue's dilemma, as discussed by Mather ("Shen Yüeh").

56. Ibid., p. 463.

57. Ibid., p. 465. "During the reign of Emperor Ming (227-239) the emperor himself wrote poetry and composed musical scores. He collected writers and housed them in the Ts'ung-wen monastery. Here Ho (Yen), Liu (Shao), and other literary men vied to outshine one another. Among the young rulers who succeeded Ming, Kao-kuei (Hsiang-kung, or Mao, 254-260) alone was a man of refinement and grace; his very glance conveyed an impression of literary elegance, and the words he uttered extemporaneously formed perfect essays. . . . In this period we find Hsi (K'ang), Juan (Chi), Ying (Chü), and Miu (Hsi) galloping abreast on the thoroughfare of literature" (ibid).

54. Shu zhi wei ben (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 341).

55. Ibid. Note the resonance with Shen Yue's dilemma, as discussed by Mather ("Shen Yüeh").

56. Ibid., p. 463.

57. Ibid., p. 465. "During the reign of Emperor Ming (227-239) the emperor himself wrote poetry and composed musical scores. He collected writers and housed them in the Ts'ung-wen monastery. Here Ho (Yen), Liu (Shao), and other literary men vied to outshine one another. Among the young rulers who succeeded Ming, Kao-kuei (Hsiang-kung, or Mao, 254-260) alone was a man of refinement and grace; his very glance conveyed an impression of literary elegance, and the words he uttered extemporaneously formed perfect essays. . . . In this period we find Hsi (K'ang), Juan (Chi), Ying (Chü), and Miu (Hsi) galloping abreast on the thoroughfare of literature" (ibid).

54. Shu zhi wei ben (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 341).

55. Ibid. Note the resonance with Shen Yue's dilemma, as discussed by Mather ("Shen Yüeh").

56. Ibid., p. 463.

57. Ibid., p. 465. "During the reign of Emperor Ming (227-239) the emperor himself wrote poetry and composed musical scores. He collected writers and housed them in the Ts'ung-wen monastery. Here Ho (Yen), Liu (Shao), and other literary men vied to outshine one another. Among the young rulers who succeeded Ming, Kao-kuei (Hsiang-kung, or Mao, 254-260) alone was a man of refinement and grace; his very glance conveyed an impression of literary elegance, and the words he uttered extemporaneously formed perfect essays. . . . In this period we find Hsi (K'ang), Juan (Chi), Ying (Chü), and Miu (Hsi) galloping abreast on the thoroughfare of literature" (ibid).

58. It appears again in a letter of condolence from the Liang prince, Xiao Gang (the future Emperor Jianwen), to the brother of his deceased friend Liu Zun (d. 535), where drinking companions, flushed ears, discussions of literature, and men's characters are all linked in sad evocation ( Liang shu, juan 41, p. 593).

59. Shih, Literary Mind, p. 471.

60. "So I leave it to those who are better endowed with insight and wisdom to sing praise to the time" (ibid., p. 473). These two passages are the surest evidence for the date of the completion of the book. From the text it is not clear which Qi emperor this might be. Shih assumes it to refer to the first years of the reign of Xiao Baojuan (Donghun Hou), 499-501 (ibid.).

61. Ibid., pp. 511, 513-17. See also pp. 518-19, where Liu Xie's ambiguous remarks regarding the gentleman seem to apply to both ruler and subject.

60. "So I leave it to those who are better endowed with insight and wisdom to sing praise to the time" (ibid., p. 473). These two passages are the surest evidence for the date of the completion of the book. From the text it is not clear which Qi emperor this might be. Shih assumes it to refer to the first years of the reign of Xiao Baojuan (Donghun Hou), 499-501 (ibid.).

61. Ibid., pp. 511, 513-17. See also pp. 518-19, where Liu Xie's ambiguous remarks regarding the gentleman seem to apply to both ruler and subject.

62. In short, almost everybody. For a case in point, see Ochi Shigeaki, "Shin Yaku to Sosho * ."

63. See, for example, Shih, Literary Mind, pp. 251, 301, 321, 343. Later, Xiao Tong also applies it to literature (see his letter to Xiao Yi in YKJ: Quan Liang wen, juan 20.2. See also E. Bruce Brooks, "A Geometry of the Shr * pin * ," pp. 124, 142. That this conception is not very different from the earlier view is clear from Liu Xie's statement that "in the art of literary writing, temperament and readiness for expression are of prime importance: that is, it is essen- soft

      tial to keep the mind pure and tranquil so that its vitality may find spontaneous expression" (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 433, as modified by Kang-i Sun Chang, "Lyric Criticism," p. 221; emphasis added).

64. "Letter to Wu Zhi," quoted in the Wei lue ( Sanguo zhi, juan 21, p. 608).

65. Shih, Literary Mind, p. 509; emphasis added. See also the discussion of Kang-i Sun Chang, "Lyric Criticism," pp. 220-21.

66. Fan Yun and Fan Zhen, for example, both of whom participated in the group presided over by Xiao Ziliang. See Soper, "South Chinese Influence," p. 74.

67. Soper reports the Wei emperor's pride in paralleling Qi Wu Di's assignment to Xiao Ziliang's staff of the scholar and poet Wang Rong (ibid., pp. 74-75).

68. By this time the whole world knew, from Liu Yiqing and Liu Jun, that the stories about the Bamboo Grove were probably fictitious (e.g., SSXY 9.71; 17.2). It was a concept too close to each courtier's personal dilemma, too loaded with cultural emblemata for each emperor, to be discarded.

69. Alexander Soper recounts the burial of Wang Su (464-501), who had served both Emperor Wu and his son, Wenhui. Having fled to the north following the execution of his family, he entered the service of the Northern Wei emperor Gaozu. At his death he was given a state funeral, then "assigned an unique tomb site: he was buried midway between the mounds of the recently deceased minister-scholar Li Ch'ung [Li Chong], and of the famous third-century minister Tu Yü [Du Yu], so that their spirits might enjoy each other's company" ("South Chinese Influence," pp. 76-77). The Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi were brought even closer.

70. By this date the relationship between drinking and love of literature had become a virtual cliché. See, for example, Nan Qi shu, juan, 48, p. 840 (biography of Kong Zhigui) and p. 843 (Liu Tian).

71. Nan Qi shu, juan 51, pp. 881-82. This anecdote is used by Zhou Yiliang to demonstrate that military men, no matter how high their rank, were not of the "pure," or official, class ( "Nan Qi shu Qiu Lingju zhuan," p. 111). Note that there are always clusters of talent and behavior: For the child Xintai's skill at qingtan and at impressing important people, see his biography ( Nan Qi shu, juan 51, p. 881).

72. Of course we can't know whose image the emperor had in mind. It might have been the following: "In the eastern garden grows a green pine / . . . I lift my jug to hang on a cold branch / From time to time I stare into the distance: / Born into the midst of dream-illusion / Why should I submit to dusty bonds?" But then, whose image did Tao Yuanming have in mind? ("Drinking Wine VIII," translated by Hightower, "T'ao Ch'ien's 'Drinking Wine' Poems," p. 18).

73. Nanjing, "Huqiao Nanchao damu" pp. 48-49. See also Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," pp. 1-17; Till and Swart, "Tombs," pp. 74-124. Good reproductions of the finds may be found in Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu.

74. For the floral designs, see Susan Bush, "Floral Motifs and Vine Scrolls in Chinese Art of the Late Fifth to Early Sixth Centuries A.D. "

75. All the tombs face south. Viewer's orientation is thus south to the north rear wall.

76. For the shoulu, see Needham, Science and Civilization, vol. 5.2, p. 129. break

77. The authors of the original report refer to these images as female, which, from some of the shapes of faces and from the inscriptions, I doubt (Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," p. 4).

78. For tianren, see, for example, Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu"; Juliano, Teng-hsien, p. 14; Yoshimura Rei, "Nanbokucho * butsuzo * yoshiki * shiron."

79. The Jinjia and Wujia reliefs are reported as 2.50 m × 0.85 m.

80. Nanjing, "Huqiao Nanchao damu," figs. 16-18; Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," p. 6 and figs. 20, 21. For discussion, see also, Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu," p. 67 and fig. 5. For military bands in Chinese art, see Yi Shui, "Han Wei Liuchao de junyue—'guchui' he 'hengchui."'

81. For the stone animals, see Nanjing, "Huqiao Nanchao damu," p. 44; Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," p. 1.

82. These images can be traced back to at least early Han, where they appear, for example, on the painted wood coffin of the Lady Dai at Mawangdui and on innumerable bronze mirrors. For the ancestry of the xian, see Max Kaltenmark's introduction to his translation of the Lie-sien tchouan (Beijing, 1953).

83. Nanjing, "Huqiao, Jianshan," pp. 4-5; Till and Swart, "Tombs," pp. 90-91.

84. Song shu, juan 29, p. 841. Shen Yue is of course transmitting ancient beliefs. His choices for inclusion are what concern us here. Like the Han Confucian scholars, he had messages to convey. Nan Qi shu reports the sighting of a three-footed crow in 486 ( juan 18, p. 358).

85. Song shu, juan 29, p. 867.

86. And not only energy—in sheer economic terms, the costs for alchemic supplies were very great and barred most of the population from undertaking such practices.

87. For discussion of the problematic distinctions between Daoist philosophy and religion, see Nathan Sivin, "On the Word 'Taoist' as a Source of Perplexity"; Michel Strickmann, "On the Alchemy of T'ao Hung-ching," pp. 166-67; Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest, p. 87. The recent, often brilliant, work of many scholars has transformed our understanding of Daoist beliefs of this period, and I list here but a few of these sources as guidelines: For the formation of the Daoist Canon (and much else), Chen Guofu, Daozang yuanliu kao. For the early history of the Mao Shan sect, Miyakawa Hisayuki, Rikucho * shi kenkyu * : shukyo * hen, pp. 127-52; Michel Strickmann, "The Maoshan Revelations; Taoism and Aristocracy," "Alchemy," and Le Taoïsme du Mao chan. Mugitani Kunio has assembled, with interpretation, a chronology of the life of Tao Hongjing in "To * Kokei * nempu koryaku * ." For the history of alchemic practices, see Needham et al., Science and Civilization 5.2-3-4. For analysis of Mao Shan texts, see Isabelle Robinet, La Révélation du Shangqing dans l'histoire du Taoïsme. Michel Strickmann, Le Taoïsme, chap. 5, presents an especially lucid outline of the texts revealed to Yang Xi, and of others edited or annotated by Tao Hongjing.

88. Effectively barred from high office by the northern émigré families, the old southern families were to triumph outside political institutions, in their adherence to, and further development of, a religious system that synthesized many earlier Daoist convictions and added new elements that were to continue

      convert Daoism into a belief system for the elite (Strickmann, "Mao Shan" and Le Taoïsme ) For the import of the new revelations, see Strickmann, Le Taoïsme, esp. pp. 204ff. For the southerners, see, for example, Chen Yinke, "Tianshidao yu binhai diyuzhi guanxi"; Tang Changru, "Du Baopuzi tui lun Nanbeixue feng de yixiang"; Zhou Yiliang, "Nanchao jingnei zhi gezhongren."

89. Although the latter always crept in by the back door. For Cao Cao and fangshi, see Kenneth J. DeWoskin, Doctors, Diviners, and Magicians of Ancient China, pp. 83-86, 87-88, 144-46, 151.

90. Strickmann, "Mao Shan," p. 29, and Le Taoïsme, p. 204.

91. SSXY 14.29, 14.30. This characterization of Wang Xizhi was later to be applied to his callgraphy (see Jin shu, juan 80, p. 2093).

92. For the importance of the texts, see esp. Robinet, Shangqing, vol. 1, pp. 113-22; Strickmann, "Mao Shan," p. 27. For the striking parallel with the institutionalization of the Confucian Classics in the Han Dynasty, see Tjan, Po Hu T'ung, vol. 1, p. 95.

93. For an assessment of Tao Hongjing as the true founder of Mao Shan Daoism as a social entity, see Strickmann, Le Taoïsme, p. 29, and "Mao Shan," p. 39. For a summary of Tao's connections with the Qi court, see Strickmann, "Alchemy," pp. 156-57.

94. Liang shu, juan 51, p. 742.

95. Strickmann. Le Taoïsme, p. 86. For writing as a power over demons, see Anna Seidel, "Imperial Treasures and Taoist Sacraments—Taoist Roots in the Apocrypha—," p. 322.

96. Robinet, Shangqing, chap. 10, for the detailed literary analysis.

97. Ibid. For Xi Kang and Ruan Ji specifically, see pp. 149, 151-52, 157-59.

96. Robinet, Shangqing, chap. 10, for the detailed literary analysis.

97. Ibid. For Xi Kang and Ruan Ji specifically, see pp. 149, 151-52, 157-59.

98. Nor should we ignore the folk beliefs that apparently were already in circulation at this tirne—Xi Kang frozen by munching a stalactite, for example. The story, which appears in Xi Kang's biography, may have been known to Shen Yue and Yan Zhitui (see Ssu-yü Teng, Family Instructions for the Yen Clan: Yen-shih chia-hsün [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1969], pp. 96-97). Several ghost stories featuring Xi Kang are related by Groot, Religious System, vol. 4, pp. 117-18; Gulik, Lore of the Lute, pp. 152-53. Li Daoyuan, in his discussion of the gatherings in the Bamboo Grove, states that people later erected a temple on the property ( Shuijing zhu, juan 9, p. 301). I interpret this as a spirit shrine, erected to propitiate the soul of one who died a violent death (see Rolf A. Stein, "Religious Taoism and Popular Religion from the Second to Seventh Centuries," pp. 65-67).

        Folk beliefs and superstitions were deplored and abjured by Mao Shan adherents, who sought to dissociate their sect from them. The fact of repeated abjurement, in my opinion, is sufficient evidence that they were unsuccessful in their attempts.

99. For nourishing life, see Needham et al., Science and Civilization, vol. 5.2, p. 114; Strickmann, "Alchemy," p. 189; Robinet, Shangqing, vol. 1, p. 39. For Mr. Great Man (Daren xiansheng zhuan), YKJ: Quan Sanguo wen, juan 46.5-11; Holzman, Poetry and Politics, pp. 185-226. For Supreme Purity, XKJJ, pp. 4-5; Holzman, "La Poésie," pp. 119-20. For the Purple Court (the first mention of, according to Holzman), XKJJ, pp. 51-52; Holzman, "La Poésie," p. 340. break

        Liu Jun, in his Commentary to the SSXY, adds a short abridgment of Nourishing Life, and it is significant that he includes the following: "If a person could truly be impregnated with the vapor of magic mushrooms [ lingzhi ] and bathed in sweet springs . . . he would become self-possessed [ zi de ] and actionless [ wuwei ], his body subtle, his mind abstruse. . . . Peradventure he could match his age [with ancient adepts]" ( SSXY 4.21).

100. SSXY 18.1, 24.3.

101. Nan Qi shu, juan 54, p. 941; Nan shi, juan 75, p. 1862; translated by Soper, Textual Evidence, p. 19. Zong Ce excelled in his knowledge of the Yijing and the Laozi and wrote a supplement to Huang fu Mi's Gaoshi zhuan. For Ruan Ji's encounter, see chapter 5, note 28. Liu Jun, in his Commentary to this anecdote, includes Dai Kui's remark that Ruan Ji composed his Mr. Great Man following this meeting and that the important point is that Ruan Ji and Mr. Great Man are the same. As for the mutual harmony of their whistling, Dai Kui implies that it is a method of communicating the Way ( SSXY 18.1).

102. Zhengao, juan 13.9b. The story is recounted in SSXY 18.2 (as well as in the Commentary to Sanguo zhi (Wei shu), juan 21, p. 606), and is expanded extensively in Liu Jun's commentary.

103. Zhengao, juan 17.16a-b. For discussion of the lost text Xi Kang is said to have copied ( Dongfang xianjin jing ), see Robinet, Shangqing, vol. 2, p. 277.

104. Isabelle Robinet, "Metamorphosis and Deliverance from the Corpse in Taoism." For deliverance by means of the corpse ( shijie ) see pp. 57-66; for transformation by purification, pp. 66-68; Shangqing, vol. 1, pp. 119, 138, 172-73.

105. Robinet, Shangqing, vol. 1, p. 174. For the precedent, the dispensation granted by The Perfected to Xu Mi, see Strickmann, Taoïsme, pp. 194-95. Note their insistence that he guard his inner spirit.

106. Strickmann, "Mao Shan," p. 9. The dragons and tigers associated with the xian images may well be the symbolic representations of the directions east and west. It should be noted, however, that from at least the second century A.D. , the terms for dragon and tiger were important in alchemic texts (Needham et al., Science and Civilization, vol. 5.3, p. 66). For their importance in Mao Shan liturgy, and the amalgamation of the incense burner with the alchemist's furnace, see Strickmann, "Alchemy," p. 169.

107. Zhenjiangshi bowuguan, "Zhenjiang Dongjin huaxiang zhuan mu" ( WW 1973.4, pp. 51-58); Yao and Gu, Liuchao yishu, figs. 146-60.

108. See, for example, K. Schipper's pertinent comments on Daoist belief and ziran: "True spontaneity . . . must be acquired by the training and cultivation of oneself" ( Le Corps Daoïste [Paris: Fayard, 1982], p. 61).

109. In the absence of evidence, I have refrained from speculating about the number eight and its possible metaphoric value, especially since the number eight may not be the significant number for the Seven Worthies mural. Rather, it might be the number nine—eight historical figures plus one, the deceased. One can find metaphysical correspondences for any given number of pictorial images in Chinese cosmology. A tempting speculation, however, is some association with the Mao Shan concept of bajing, Eight Effulgences. For which, see Maspero, Taoism and Chinese Religion, pp. 458, 553-54; Strickmann, "Alchemy," pp. 173-75; and, especially, Max Kaltenmark, "Jing yu bajing" (in Chinese). As a further suggestion, and related to the former, one continue

      should not overlook the important Han dynasty precedent of the Prince of Huainan and the eight men who gathered at his court. Shuijing zhu records a shrine at Bagong shan (Eight-Duke Mountain) commemorating the ascent into the sky of Liu An (Huainanzi) and the eight men whose secret techniques made this possible. Li Daoyuan found nine images ( xiang ), apparently paintings ( tu ), of the men in the shrine and describes their apparel and accoutrement, but not, unfortunately, their postures and gestures. He mentions a stele erected in 492, under the Southern Qi, in front of the shrine ( juan 32, pp. 1020-21. Most of the passage has been translated by Soper, Textual Evidence, p. 20).

110. Chang, "'Lyric Criticism,"' p. 219. "This tendency to dwell on the most essential qualities of objects is in keeping with an important device employed by Chinese lyric poets from as early as the Shi jing —namely, the use of simple image. The structure of the simple image is similar to the syntactic pattern known as 'topic and comment,' in which a noun-topic is juxtaposed with a simple comment describing its most typical quality. . . . The assumption is that readers, already acquainted with the object, will be inspired by the simple 'comments' to imagine an entire range of meanings. These 'comments' are sometimes like key words" (ibid.).

As in poetry, so in the pictorial arts: "In looking at a work of art we will always project some additional significance that is not actually given. Indeed we must do so if the work is to come to life for us. The penumbra of vagueness, the 'openness' of the symbol is an important constituent of any real work of art" (E. H. Gombrich, "Aims and Limits of Iconology," p. 18).

111. Although Rong Qiqi was ignored by literary critics, his example was by no means forgotten. See, for example, Yu Wanzhi's reference to Rong Qiqi's "three joys" in his request for retirement ( Nan Qi shu, juan 34, p. 610), or Wang Rong's verse where "Master Jung's [Rong's] three joys are not remarkable" (translated by Richard B. Mather, "Wang Jung's 'Hymns on the Devotee's Entrance into the Pure Life,'" p. 90, poem 21). Shuijing zhu repeats the Liezi version of the ancient encounter with Confucius ( juan 24, p. 792).

112. The absence of bamboo trees in these depictions of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove remains an intriguing question. It is likely that at the time of the earliest extant relief the specificity of a bamboo grove was not yet firmly associated with these men. Early accounts specifying the bamboo grove as their gathering place do not survive except in later, fifth-century commentaries (see chapter 4 of this volume). Perhaps still other early accounts were more general, so that at the time the original was produced the tradition of a bamboo grove may not have been so firmly established, as it surely was by the end of the fifth century. The Jinjia and Wujia reliefs, whatever the number of intervening copies, so obviously derive from the Nanjing mural (which may itself derive from a still earlier depiction) that any suggestion of independent origin seems untenable. Perhaps by this date conventional forms were more important to patrons and viewers than "correcting errors," a point I shall discuss further in the final chapter.

The curious shrub next to the whistling figure in the Jinjia mural may represent the tree of ringed orbs, or tree with ringlike fruit. For the Daoist associations, see Strickmann, "Alchemy," pp. 135, 176. break

7— Conveying the Spirit

1. See chapter 5, n. 13, above.

2. Note that similarities of all faces within each set prevail. On the reliefs at Wujiacun, for example, all are faces of old men.

3. The same gesture can be found in the Yinan tomb, where the pushed-up sleeves of the respective figures also curve sharply out and up, as in the two Southern Qi images. See, for example, plates 41 and 45 in Zeng et al., Yinan.

4. Nanjing, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian,"' pp. 18-19.

5. Ibid. The differences have led the author of the Wenwu discussion to conclude that the three murals do not derive from the same original sketch or painting, and that, moreover, the Southern Qi finds were perhaps designed in the workshops in which they were manufactured. The Nanjing mural he believes to derive from a painting, the question of Gu Kaizhi, Dai Kui, Lu Tanwei as artist remaining moot (ibid., pp. 19-21). For other discussions of the identification of the painter, see, e.g., Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu," p. 71; Zheng Minzhong, "Dui Nanjing Xishanqiao Liuchao mu huaxiang de kanfa"; Max Loehr, The Great Painters of China (New York: Icon Editions, Harper and Row, 1980), pp. 20-21.

4. Nanjing, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian,"' pp. 18-19.

5. Ibid. The differences have led the author of the Wenwu discussion to conclude that the three murals do not derive from the same original sketch or painting, and that, moreover, the Southern Qi finds were perhaps designed in the workshops in which they were manufactured. The Nanjing mural he believes to derive from a painting, the question of Gu Kaizhi, Dai Kui, Lu Tanwei as artist remaining moot (ibid., pp. 19-21). For other discussions of the identification of the painter, see, e.g., Lin Shuzhong, "Nan Qi lingmu," p. 71; Zheng Minzhong, "Dui Nanjing Xishanqiao Liuchao mu huaxiang de kanfa"; Max Loehr, The Great Painters of China (New York: Icon Editions, Harper and Row, 1980), pp. 20-21.

6. Nanjing, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian,"' pp. 19-20.

7. Zheng, "Nanjing Xishanqiao Liuchao mu," pp. 51-52.

8. I have already argued my disagreement. However, the assumption that an artist at court, whether amateur or professional, would be—or could be—familiar with the correct method of playing the qin is reasonable, although depicting it in proper position may have been of no interest to him. I do not know how the qin was held in the Nanbeichao period, but if the qin held in the lap cannot produce much sound and, in such a position, is evocative more of its mere presence—music without sound—than of actual music, then the direction of the bridge and the finger positions are irrelevant. When, therefore, we observe in Han dynasty funerary art numerous examples of the qin held in the lap—even in entertainment scenes of music and dancing—are we not already viewing a convention, without foundation in reality but with meaning to maker and viewers? A hanging scroll attributed to Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), "Playing the Qin," in the C. C. Wang collection, shows a scholar with a qin across his lap. The fingers of his right hand arch as if they are actually plucking strings rather than merely resting on them. Gulik publishes a painting he attributes to Shen Zhou (1427-1509) in which, again, the qin rests on a scholar's lap as he assiduously plucks the strings ( Lore of the Lute, p. 67). Are we to assume that these literati painters did not know how the instrument was actually played? Or shall we assume that they were employing conventions, probably in full knowledge that they were doing so? A similar example may be seen in fig. 37, where the hare in the moon stands under a tree that everybody knows is a cassia tree. That it resembles no cassia tree known to me is irrelevant because everybody knows that a cassia grows in the moon. Hence it is a cassia.

9. "No design in portraiture can be beautiful unless it is relevant to the sitter [which is to say, to the patron], because in portraiture irrelevance is ugliness" (Herbert Furst, Portrait Painting: Its Nature and Function, p. 140). break

10. See, for example, E. H. Gombrich's discussion in "The Grotesque Heads," and esp. pp. 69-70 for the Mona Lisa as both portrait and type.

11. Susan Bush, for example, has characterized the Danyang reliefs as inferior to the Nanjing mural ("Floral Motifs," p. 51, n. 9).

12. I do not mean to imply that quality is never an issue. But the criteria for making a judgment must surely rely, to some extent at least, on the intent of the artist and, in the case of the three relief portraits, on understanding the changes that may occur in the process of copying. For a perceptive discussion of the latter, see, for example, the essay by Adam Gopnik, "The Art World: St. Peter's Feet and Rembrandt's Fountain" ( New Yorker, 4 July 1988, pp. 61-65). In the absence of the (presumed) original painting and of intervening reproductions between the earliest extant mural and the two later (badly damaged) reliefs, I can rely only on what must have been acceptable to patrons and viewers as meaningful portraiture. It is their judgment, not mine, that is of concern here.

13. "The artist who treats the clothing of his sitters with levity is taking liberties with the personality of his sitter and deceiving the spectator. For such reasons one may, for example, learn more about Carlyle by looking at his trousers and boots as painted by Greaves, than by looking at his head as rendered by Whistler, the master" (Furst, Portrait Painting, p. 68). For the informational aspects of, for example, Roman clothing (as always expressive of rank, age, social status, etc.), see Larissa W. Bonfante, "Roman Costumes. A Glossary and Some Etruscan Derivations" ( Aufsteig und Neidergang der römishchen Welt Revue Archéologique, vol. 1.4, pp. 584-614).

14. It should be noted, for those cultural or merely temporal situations where facial expression is important in portraiture, that such expression is also behavior, or movement. In that sense, the problem of the Chinese portraitist is no different from that of the European: how to capture, in a single-moment depiction, that essence of an individual that in life we perceive from a series of movements in time. See E. H. Gombrich, "Mask and Face," and compare his remarks on portraiture with Wang Yi's advice on depicting the parts of the face in the fourteenth century: "Only during a lively conversation will they show their original and genuine character. . . . The uncultured painters of modern times are like people who want to play the zither with pegs full of glue and who are ignorant of the laws of change and movement. They ask (the living model) to sit stiffly erected with his garments orderly arranged like a statue of clay and then start painting. This is the reason why they do not succeed . . . even once in ten thousand cases." The translation is by Herbert Franke, "Two Yüan Treatises on the Technique of Portrait Painting" ( Oriental Art 3.1 [1950]: 30).

15. The author of the report remarks that the figures of the reliefs show us gentry at its most self-possessed, and I surely agree. But where he sees indolence and dissipation, I have seen reclusiveness, cultivated self-possession, and ziran, self-so. It is a matter of interpretation, but the issue remains one of character as social ideal (Nanjing, "Shitan 'Zhulin qixian,'" pp. 18, 22). For interesting parallels in discussions of Renaissance portraiture, see Marianna Jenkins, The State Portrait, esp. pp. 32ff.

16. Peter Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity," p. 5. I shall continue

      quote extensively from this superb paper to emphasize the remarkable analogies between the two cultures. For a discussion of "The Sage as Exemplar in Han-Dynasty China," one need only substitute Chinese particularities for those of Mediterranean Antiquity.

17. Mencius 7.21.4. Translated by Wei-ming Tu, "The Human in Mencian Thought," p. 66. Emphasis added.

18. Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar," p. 4. Compare this with Isabelle Robinet's remark that for the Mao Shan adept, the Saint was never a legendary person, out there. His image, rather, was interiorized; he was the model with which the adept identified himself, personally, continually, in his prayers ( Shangqing, vol. 1, p. 168).

19. Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar," p. 1. And further analogy: "Exposure to the classics of Greek and Latin literature was intended to produce exemplary beings, their raw humanity molded and filed away by a double discipline, at once ethical and esthetic. It was assumed that to be able to put words and thoughts together in an orderly and old-fashioned manner implied that one could also put one's life together with orderly and old-fashioned decency. Books, therefore, were there to produce persons; any other function was considered vaguely ridiculous" (ibid.).

20. The proliferation of anecdotes seems almost an effort to maintain the human quality of the Seven Worthies, not to let them drift into abstraction—heroization, allegory, etc. It is from Yu Xin, in the sixth century, for example, that we first hear of Shan Tao's singsong girls or Wang Rong's ruyi dance (true, earlier traditions may have been lost to us, but I suspect that they are much later inventions. Indeed, Yu Xin's reference to the ruyi dance may derive, not from anecdote, but from pictorial art). We first hear from Yang Xuanzhi in the sixth century of Shan Tao's capacity for wine, in his account of Prince Yu of Linhuai, who rewarded guests for writing poetry. One guest was ordered to drink a picul of wine in punishment for his "feeble verses." He drank four-fifths of it before collapsing in a drunken stupor, leading his contemporaries to compare him to Shan Tao (Jenner, Loyang, p. 236).

21. See, for example, Yu Xin's "Songs of Sorrow" no. 1, where the poet likens himself to "A Juan Chi who drinks no wine / A Hsi K'ang who never played the zither / Worn-out, drained, devoid of vitality" (William T. Graham, Jr. and James R. Hightower, "Yü Hsin's 'Songs of Sorrow,'" pp. 12-13). And compare: "They [i.e., the dead saints] seemed to have maintained a firm profile of beloved and admired persons; and this profile was not the result of a momentary decision or reflex to 'invest' them with sanctity: it had been both constructed and maintained by a long process of sensitization to distinctive, exemplary traits 'learned in early childhood and carried through to the grave"' (Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar," p. 13).

22. Compare: "The late classical sense that the present still lay wide open to permeation by a past conceived of as distant from it merely through the accident of time" (Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar," p. 7).

23. See, for example, John Marney's interpretation of Jiang Yan's poems in the style of Ruan Ji as satire twice removed ( Chiang Yen, pp. 28ff.). They "cannot be read except as intended, in the context of Juan's [Ruan Ji's] models. Only then will the full import of Yen's own satire against the Liu-Sung princes become apparent" (ibid., p. 41). break

24. "Songs of Sorrow" no. 4, in Graham and Hightower, "'Songs of Sorrow,"' pp. 17-18.

25. Wei-ming Tu, "'Inner Experience': The Basis of Creativity in Neo-Confucian Thinking," p. 14. Compare Peter Brown's characterization of the holy man in Late Antiquity as "the average Christian writ large: a bridge of shared values, if often as frail as the path of the moon across the sea, linked the man of the world to his exemplar" ("The Saint as Exemplar," p. 13). The enduring strength of these men as exemplars is noted by Donald Holzman in Poetry and Politics. See, for example, his discussion of a poem by Jao Tsung-i in the manner of Ruan Ji (pp. 240ff.).

26. Holzman, "Les Sept Sages," for a different interpretation of their immortality (pp. 343-44). For their immortality in art, see Laing, "NeoTaoism" and "Scholars and Sages."

27. SSXY 21.9. I have modified Mather's translation slightly. For Gu's remarks on the creative function of dotting the eyes, not relevant to the genre of portraiture, see Audrey Spiro, "New Light on Gu Kaizhi."

28. Ren Fang, "Qi Jingling Wenxuan xingzhuan" ( Wen xuan, juan 5, p. 263; this passage translated by Soper, Textual Evidence, p. 20).

29. Xu hua pin, pp. 45-46. The dates for Xie He and Yao Zui have been established by E. Zürcher, "Recent Studies on Chinese Painting," pp. 378-79. The essay is invaluable for understanding the relationship between literary and art criticism of the period, and especially the influence of literary criticism on Xie He's Guhua pinlu. Compare Yao Zui's criticism with Liu Xie's: "The painter who pays close attention to a hair misses the face, the archer who aims at the very small misses the wall" (Shih, Literary Mind, p. 439, with modification). For theories of art as theories of culture, see Clifford Geertz, "Art as a Cultural System."

30. Quoted by Noel Annan in the New York Review, 29 May 1986, p. 4. With regard to the book under review, John LeCarré, A Perfect Spy, Annan's comment is apropos: "The verisimilitude is so blinding that one can't believe in the truth."

31. Shih, Literary Mind, p. 481, with modification. Emphasis added. Compare the remarks on figure painting attributed to Gu Kaizhi: "To describe the spirit through form but omit its actual object is perverse as a means of trapping life and deficient as an effort to transmit spirit. To lack such actual objects [of attention] is a great failing. To have an object but lack accuracy is a lesser failing. One should not ignore this. The clarity or ambiguity of a single image is not equivalent to penetrating to the spirit through (its) apprehension of an object" ( WeiJin shengliu huazan, in LDMHJ, vol. 2.2, p. 71; English translation in Bush and Shih, Early Chinese Texts, pp. 33-34; emphasis added).

32. Compare Plutarch's remarks about Alexander's permitting only Lysippus to portray him: "because he alone expressed in brass the vigor of his mind, and in his lineaments represented the lustre of his virtue" (Jenkins, State Portrait, p. 43).

33. Kang-i Sun Chang, Six Dynasties Poetry, pp. 47ff. and n. i.

34. R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art, p. 53.

35 "It is true that every civilization and every culture can be identified by its style in art, and it follows that every style adopts forms of illusion appropriate to its attitude to reality" (Roland Penrose, "In Praise of Illusion" continue

        [in R. L. Gregory and E. H. Gombrich, editors, Illusion in Nature and Art, London: Duckworth, 1973], p. 246).

36. For an interesting Renaissance example of the use of types in portraiture, see Peter Meller, "Physiognomical Theory in Heroic Portraits," pp. 53-69.

37. "Men whose ideal was the ability to recall large chunks of precise and exquisitely shaped material, internalized by memory at an early age, knew only too well what it was like to rummage in a silt of memories for the perfect citation, for the correct word, for the telling rhetorical structure" (Brown, "The Saint as Exemplar," p. 3).

38. Likeness, however, when viewed by the patron, may mean something rather more complicated. A concern for "realism," for example, might be inferred from Wei Shou's Wei shu, where the Liu-Song emperor complains that the portrait of his father (commissioned by him) lacks the pimples he bore in life. Such an interpretation, however, seems superficial in view of the context: examining portraits of his ancestors, the emperor's sole comments are about their character, not their appearance. His first remark upon viewing the portrait of his father was "That one was a great lecher, who didn't draw any line between noble and mean" ( Wei shu [Zhonghua shuju, Beijing: 1974], juan 97, p. 2146; Soper, Textual Evidence, pp. 17-18). It is not unreasonable to suggest that the emperor's concern to depict the "great pimply nose" had other connotations. For interesting examples of Renaissance patrons' influence on their "likenesses," see Kurt W. Forster, "Metaphors of Rule"; Joanna Woods-Marsden, " Ritratto al Naturale: Questions of Realism and Idealism in Early Renaissance Portraits." For recent discussions of likeness, see Richard Brilliant, ed., Portraits: The Limitations of Likeness.

39. "And this total meaning of the painting . . . is capable of directly evoking in the perceiver a certain attitude applicable to every reality with which he will come in contact. Thus it is not only by means of its theme but precisely by means of its artistic, verbally noncommunicable meaning that a work of art influences the way in which a perceiver who has really experienced it thereafter views reality and behaves towards reality" (Jan Mukarovský * , "The Essence of the Visual Arts," p. 239).

40. Similar questions are evoked by Roman portraiture. See, for a penetrating discussion of specific portraiture, Roman, that raises important questions for the analysis of the genre universally, Sheldon Nodelman, "How to Read a Roman Portrait."

41. Sheldon Nodelman, in Roman Portraits: Aspects of Self and Society, First Century B.C. -Third Century A.D. , pp. 15-16. The statement continues: "Necessarily incorporating current conceptions of portraiture—what aspects of a human being deserved representation and how they should be represented—such 'ideal' portraits were just as authentic as the images of contemporaries whose physical appearance could be ascertained at all. In a fundamental sense, indeed, all Greek and Roman portraits were 'ideal,' using details of actual appearance for the effective conveyance of higher truths" (p. 16).

42. "Ressemblant! Personne ne s'informe si les portraits des grands hommes sont ressemblants; il suffit que leur génie y vive" (Jacques Louis David). break

43. "What, then, :is interesting and essential in art is the spontaneous ability the artist has of enabling us to see his way of seeing the world—not just the world as if the painting were like a window, but the world as given by him. . . . The greatness of the work is the greatness of the representation the work makes material" (Arthur C. Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, p. 207). break

Abbreviations in Notes and Bibliography



Artibus Asiae


Jinming guan cong qiao chubian: Chen Yinke wenji



Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies


History of Religions


Journal Asiatique


Journal of the American Oriental Society





Lidai minghua ji



Memoirs of the Research Dept. of the Toyo[*]Bunko


Shishuo xinyu



T'oung Pao


Wei Jin Nanbeichao shi lun cong






Xi Kang ji jiaozhu



Quan shanggu Sandai Qin Han Sanguo Liuchao wen

, edited by Yan Kejun


Zhulin qixian lun









Bao Zhao 


Bian Shao 




Bo Yuan 


bubing xiaowei 


bu ji 


buyi suzu 





Cao Cao 


Cao Pi 


Cao Rui 


Cao Shuang 


Cao Zhi 




Chen Ji 


Cheng Qing 







da hu 


da long 


Daren xiansheng zhuan 




Danyang County (xian) 




Dao xian lun 






Deng Can 


Dianlun lunwen 


ding jue 


Ding Lan 


Dongfang Shuo 


Donghun Hou 


Dong Shou 


Dong Zhongshu 


Du Yu 



Fan Yun 




fang dang 











Fu Chang 


fu hua 


Fu Manrong 


fu qian 


Furen ji 


Fu Yi 



Gan Bao 




Gu Kaizhi 


Guangquan Hui Wang 




Guo Xiang 







hanshi san 




He Fasheng 


He Yan 


Hou Jing 




Hua zan 


Huan Wen 


Huan Xuan 


Huan Yi 


Huangfu Xizhi 




hui da 




Huo Qubing 









jiangwu tong 




Jin ji (by Deng Can) 


Jin ji (by Gan Bao) 


Jin shu 


Jinyang qiu 


Jin zhugong zan 


jing (refined essence) 


jing (tranquil) 


Jing fudian fu 


Jing Ke 


jing ling 


Jiude song 


jiupin zhongzheng 


jun xia 





Kongshi pu 


Kong Shou 


Kongzi jiayu 




kui qing 



Langya Wang Dao 


Laozi bianhua jing 






libu shangshu 


Li Chong 


Liang Zuo 




Liu An 


Liu Bei 



Liu Bing 




Liu Jun 


Liu Ling 


Liu Song 


Liu Tan 


Liu Yu 


Liu Zun 




Lu Chui 


Lu Lingguang dian fu 


Lu Tanwei 


Lü An 



mai zhao 






ming jiao 


Mingshi zhuan 


Ming zi 


Murong (Xianbei) Huang 








Pei Qi 











qi yun 










qing jun 


qing shi 






qing yuan 









Ren Fang 




Rong Qiqi 




Ruan Ji 


Ruan Kan 


Ruan Xian 


Ruan Xiu 


Ruan Yu (d. A.D. 212) 


Ruan Yu (ca. A.D. 300–360) 



san gong 


sanji shilang 




Shan Situ 


Shan Tao 


Shangqing jing 


shen hui 


shen se ziruo 


Shen Yue 


sheng dong 


Shengwu aile lun 


Shengxian gaoshi zhuan zan 





Shi Daoshi 


Shi Hu 














Shu zhi wei ben 




Sijiu fu 


Sima Rui 


Sima Zhao 




Southern Lanling 


Southern Qi 


su su 


Sun Chuo 


Sun Deng 


Sun Quan 


Sun Sheng 



Taiping yulan 


taizi shaofu 


Tan Daoluan 


Tao Hongjing 


ti tang 


tianli zhi ziran 




Tian Yu 




tu duan 



Wang Bi 


Wang Chang 


Wang Chong 


Wang Dao 


Wang Dun 


Wang Jian 


Wang Meng 


Wang Rong (A.D. 234–305) 


Wang Rong (A.D. 468–494) 


Wang Su (A.D. 195–256) 


Wang Su (A.D. 418–471) 


Wang Tanzhi 


Wang Xizhi 


Wang Yan 


Wang Yanshou 


Wang Yi 




Weiguo tong 


Wei lue 


Weishi chunqiu 




wen cai 




Wenxuan of Jingling 


wen zhang 


Wenzhang zhi 




Wujun yong 


wushi san 



Xi Kang 


Xi Kang bieji  


Xishan Bridge (qiao) 



Xi xia xing 








Xiang To 


Xiang Xiu 


xiao (pious) 


xiao (to whistle) 


Xiao Baojuan 


Xiao Baorong 


Xiao Changmao 


Xiao Chen 


Xiao Daocheng 


Xiao Daosheng 


Xiao Gang 


xiao lian 


Xiao Luan 






xiao xiao 


Xiao Yan 


Xiao Ziliang 


Xie An 


Xie Chaozong 


Xie Hui 


Xie Hun 


Xie Kun 


Xie Lingyun 


Xie Shang 


Xie Tiao 


Xie Wan 


Xie Zhi 




Xing Qu 






Xiu bie zhuan 


Xu Gan 


Xu Jin yang qiu 


Xu Xun 


xuan xue 





ya su 


Yan Du 


Yan Yanzhi 


Yang Ke 


Yangsheng lun 


Yang Xi 








Yin Hao 


Yonghuai shi 




Yu Falan 




Yu Shan juyuan juejiaoshu 


Yu Xin 


Yu Yu 


Yuan Hong 










Zhang Liang 


Zhang Xintai 


Zhang Zhan 








Zhi Dun 


Zhong Hui 


Zhong Rong 


Zhongxing shu 




Zhu Daoqian 


Zhu Daoyi 


Zhu Facheng 


Zhuge Liang 


Zhulin qixian 










Zong Ce 


Zoutan Wang Yuan 


zuan mao 




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Gao shi zhuan

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Guhua pinlu

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Sanguo zhi

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Shi ji

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. Compiled by Tao Hongjing
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Zhulin qixian lun

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Ami Yuji[*]

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An Zhimin

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Chen Chi-yun

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Chen Guofu

. Daozang yuanliu kao
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Chen Yinke

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. 1945. Reprinted in CYWJ, vol. 2, pp. 180–205. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1980.

———. "Tianshidao yu binhai diyuzhi guanxi"

. 1933. Reprinted in CYWJ, vol. 2, pp. 1–40. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1980.

———. "Wei shu Sima Rui zhuan Jiangdong minzu tiao shizheng ji tuilun"

. Reprinted in CYWJ, vol. 3, 69–106. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1980.


Chen Zhi

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Chhae Pyeong-seo

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Fan Wenlan

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Feng Yunpeng

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Ge Zhigong

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He Qimin

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Helingeer Han mu bihua

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Hong Qingyu

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Hunansheng bowuguan

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———. Changsha Mawangdui yihao Han mu

. 2 vols. Beijing: Wenwu Press, 1973.

———. Mawangdui Han mu yanjiu

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———. "Xin faxian de Changsha Zhanguo chumu bohua"

. WW 1973.7:3–4.

Jin Weinuo

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Kaltenmark, Max

. "Jing yubajing"
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Kawakatsu Yoshio

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. Toyoshi[*] kenkyu[*]
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———. "Shina chusei[*] kizoku seiji no seiritsu ni tsuite"

. Shirin
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Li Weiran

. "Nanjing Liuchao mu qinglijianbao"
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Li Wenxin

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Liaoningsheng bowuguan

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Lin Shuzhong

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Linyi Jinqueshan Han mu fajue zu

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Liu Jiaji

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Lu Xun

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Luo Zongzhen

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Mao Hanguang

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Miyakawa Hisayuki

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———. Rikucho shi kenkyu: shukyo[*]hen

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Miyazaki Ichisada

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Mou Zongsan

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Mugitani Kunio

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Nagahiro Toshio

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. WW 1980.2:1–10.

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Wang Yao

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Wen You

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Yao Qian

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Yi Shui

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Yoshimura Rei

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Ability, 70 –74 passim, 93 –101 passim, 192 n.36. See also Talent

"Action and Expression in Western Art" (Gombrich), 9

Administration, civil. See Civil administration

Aesthetics, 71 , 86 , 90 , 134 , 153 –54, 222 –23;

qin as symbol of, 78 ;

and resemblance, 9 , 31 , 154 , 169 –71, 175 –76, 222 nn.38, 41, 42.

See also Arts; Style


beards denoting, 33 ;

in silk painting, 18 , 21 , 184 n.17;

staff and, 18 , 21 , 27 , 30

Ai, Jin emperor, 114

Akiyama Terukazu, 45

Alchemy, 214 n.86, 216 n.106

Alexander the Great, 221 n.32

Anak (Lelang) tomb, 39 –44, 96 , 105 , 120 ;

illus., 40

Analects (Confucius), 122 , 134

Ancestry, 89 . See also Families; Genealogies

Animals, in tomb art, 45 , 136 –46 passim, 189 n.45

Annan, Noel, 221 n.30

An Zhimin, 183 n.12, 187 n.1

Architectural elements. of tombs, 38 , 39 , 44 , 138 , 187

Aristocracy. See Families

Aristocracy, Seven Worthies and, 105 , 106

Art :

of conversation, 71 –74, 79 , 109 , 204 n.89;

of governing, 68 –69, 71 ;

of knowing men, 70 –71, 100 ;

and politics, 71 , 72 –73, 90 , 130 –31, 134 , 135 –36.

See also Aesthetics; Arts; Style

Art criticism, 221 n.29, 222 –23. See also Aesthetics


Huan Xuan and, 117 , 118 ;

Liang and, 129 –35;

private collections of, 90 ;

Southern Qi and, 127 –35;

and "topic and comment," 217 n.110.

See also Literature; Music; Painters; Portraiture; Temple art; Tomb art

"Ascending to Heaven," 141


Bagong shan (Eight-Duke Mountain), 217 n.109

Bajing (Eight Effulgences), 216 n.109

Bamboo Grove, 84 , 152 , 170 , 215 n.98, 217 n.112. See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove

Bamboo trees, 217 n.112

Ban Gu, 22 , 30 , 33 , 35 , 186 n.61

Basket art:

Lelang, 33 –36, 62 –63, 186 n.61;

Lelang illus.,34


age denoted by, 33 ;

on Lelang basket, 33 , 35

Behavior, 15 , 70 –71, 93 , 104 , 219 n.4. See also Art; Character; Clothing; Cultivated gentlemen; Gestures; Postures; Style; Talent; Virtue

Bian Shao, 24 , 29 , 30

Biography of Zhang Liang,33

Bodily characteristics. See Physical characteristics

Body behavior. See Clothing; Gestures; Postures

Bohutong, 18 , 21 , 30 , 32

Bo Yuan (fl. 304), 106

Breckenridge, J. D., 9

Brick designs, 45 , 188 nn.27, 29

Brown, Peter, 221 n.25

Buddhism, 90 , 127 , 187 n.9, 201 n.54;

Sun Chuo and, 106 –7, 113 , 129 ;

Xiao Ziliang and, 128 , 210 n.25


Bush, Susan, 219 n.11


Cai Xingzong, 208 n.9

Calligraphy, 90 , 148 , 203 n.77

Cao Cao (155–220), 67 , 68 , 87 ;

He Yan and, 69 , 73 , 193 n.47;

poetry of, 74 , 133 ;

Seven Worthies and, 76 , 80 ;

and shamans, 146 ;

on talent, 69 , 73 , 74 , 104

Cao family, 72 –73, 76 , 80 . See also Wei dynasty; names of individual family members

Cao Pi (187–226), 67 , 85 , 100 , 136 , 201 n.45;

as Emperor Wen, 73 , 74 –75, 193 n.47;

and leisure, 75 , 79 ;

and literature, 74 –75, 127 , 132 , 133 ;

and music, 78

Cao Rui. See Ming, Wei emperor

Cao Zhi (192–232), 66 , 74 , 133

Carousing. See Reveling

Cassia trees, 218 n.8

Celestials, 19 , 139 –40, 146 –47, 151 , 171

Celestials, illus.,146 , 147 , 148

Celestials with Tiger, illus.,146

Chan, Wing-tsit, 190 n.18

Chang'an (capital), 66 , 67

Changsha, 201 n.50. See also Mawangdui, Changsha

Chaoyang tomb (Liaoning), 39 –44;

illus., 41

Character, 11 , 15 , 21 –32, 175 , 219 n.15;

definitions of, 32 , 36 ;

Eastern Jin and, 117 , 118 , 120 ;

of recluse, 32 , 35 , 36 ;

of Seven Worthies, 98 –101, 104 .

See also Character portraits; Exemplars; Virtue

Character portraits, 11 , 15 , 16 , 21 –36, 120 , 175 . See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi

Chen dynasty (557-589), 125 , 181 n.7

Cheng, King, 38

Chengdu (capital), 67

Cheng Qing (Jing Ke), 22

Chen Ji, 22

Chen Shou, 75 –76, 80 , 82 , 85 –86

Chen Yinke, 192 n.41, 196 n.99

Chess, 148

Child, in Confucius Visits Laozi,24 –26, 27 , 30 –31

Chu Yuan, 208 n.12

Civil administration: Eastern Jin (Great Families), 87 –90, 125 , 197 n.122;

Han, 68 , 191 n.22;

Wei dynasty, 68 –69, 71 .

See also Governing

Clark, T.J., 181 n.2


and genealogy, 89 (see also Great Families);

military, 68 , 136 , 213 n.71;

Southern Qi, 126 , 127 –28, 136 , 213 n.71.

See also Families; Hanmen; Rank

Classic of Filial Piety,127

Classics, 73 , 128 , 134 , 211 n.39

Clothing, 16 , 186 n.56, 219 n.13;

in basket art, 35 –36, 186 –87n.67;

in Chaoyang tomb, 40 –41;

and rank, 18 , 21 , 22 , 32 ;

in Seven Worthies murals, 168 , 169 , 171 ;

in silk paintings, 18 , 21 , 184 nn.17, 19

Cohn, William, 5


Eastern Jin dynasty and, 88 ;

and fengliu,201 n.54;

Han dynasty and, 15 , 16 , 27 –32, 68 , 72 , 120 , 134 , 174 , 185 , 185 n.42;

heroes of, in portraits, 5 , 15 , 16 , 22 , 23 –32, 63 , 66 , 119 , 206 n.122;

Liang dynasty and, 134 ;

Seven Worthies and, 77 , 80 , 81 , 84 , 194 n.64;

Southern Qi dynasty and, 127 , 134 ;

virtue in, 28 , 30 , 31 –32, 43 ;

Wei dynasty and, 68 , 190 n.14.

See also Confucius

Confucius, 119 , 186 n.53, 206 n.122;

Analects of, 122 , 134 ;

as exemplar, 22 , 23 –32, 38 , 174 ;

portraits of, 5 , 15 , 22 , 23 –32, 63 , 206 n.1;

and Rong Qiqi, 62 , 83 , 94 , 206 n.1;

Seven Worthies and, 77 , 82 , 104 ;

Wei dynasty and, 68

Confucius Visits Laozi,23 –32, 63 ;

illus., 24 , 25 , 26

Conversation, art of, 71 –74, 79 , 109 , 204 n.89. See also Pure Conversation; Qingtan

Corpses, preserved, 18 , 183 n.10, 184 n.18

Corvée, 197 n.20. See also Taxes

Countess, in silk painting, 18 –19, 183 n.10. See also Dai, Lady

Creativity (qi ), in literature, 74

Criticism, Pure (qingyi ), 71 –72

Crow, three-footed, 141 , 214 n.84

Crow in the Sun,138 ;

illus., 137

Cultivated gentlemen, 90 , 104 –36 passim, 201 –2n.54, 216 n.108;

detachment of, 104 , 108 , 117 , 120 , 121 , 151 ;

purity of, 109 –10, 120 , 151 ;

Ruan Xiu as, 73 ;

Seven Worthies as exemplars for, 106 –7, 124 , 129 –31, 149 –52.

See also Refinement; Self-possession; Ziran


Dai, Lady, 18 –19, 21 , 214 n.82

Dai Kui, 93 , 119 , 218 n.5;

on Seven


Worthies, 93 , 100 , 103 , 113 , 131 , 216 n.101

Danyang (Jiangsu), 3 , 63 –64, 123 –24, 138 –52;

Xiu'anling tomb, 123 , 207 n.7;

Xiu'anling tomb illus.,142 , 146 .

See also Danyang Seven Worthies murals; Jinjiacun tomb art; Wujiacun tomb art

Danyang Seven Worthies murals, 3 , 63 –64, 119 , 123 –24, 140 –43, 150 –51, 207 n.7;

comparisons of three murals, 3 , 123 –24, 140 , 154 –72, 217 n.112, 218 nn.2, 5, 219 n.11;

illus.,8 , 10 –11, 12 –13, 155 –63, 165 –67;

at Jinjiacun, 12 –13, 115 –67, 140 , 168 –72, 207 n.1, 217 n.112;

tomb occupants with, 63 –64;

at Wujiacun, 8 , 10 –11, 140 , 154 –55, 156 –58, 163 –65, 168 –72, 217 n.112, 218 n.2

Dao-an, 201 –2n.54

Dao de jing, 68

Daoism, 29 , 143 –51, 214 –15nn.87, 88;

and Confucius Visits Laozi,27 ;

and cultivation, 201 n.54, 216 n.8;

Fu Yi and, 81 ;

Mao Shan sect of, 143 –51, 215 nn.93, 98, 216 n.109, 220 n.18;

Wei dynasty and, 68 –69;

Xi Kang and, 80 ;

and ziran, 201 n.54, 216 n.108.

See also Laozi

Daojin, 205 n.109

Dasiming, 183 n.12

Delbrück, Richard, 9

Deng Can, 93

Detachment, 108 , 120 , 121 , 177 , 201 n.54;

Eastern Jin and, 117 ;

of Seven Worthies, 100 , 104 , 151

DeWoskin, Kenneth, 194 n.69

Dharmaraksa, 106

Ding Fubao, 203 n.76

Ding Lan, 28 , 35 , 36 , 63

"Discourse on Eight Worthies" (Sun Chuo), 108 –9

Dongfang Shuo, 22 , 211 n.38

Dong Shou, 39 –44, 62 , 63 , 96 , 187 n.6, 188 n.18;

illus., 40

Dong Zhongshu, 30 , 31 , 70 –71

Dong Zhuo, 66

"Double-Ninth Festival poems," 210 n.25

Dragons, 216 n.106;

in Danyang tomb, 139 , 146 ;

in Danyang tomb illus.,140 , 144 –45

Drake, F. S., 22

Dress/Draperies. See Clothing

Drinking, 90 , 94 , 129 , 213 n.70;

Liu Ling and, 61 , 82 –83, 93 –94, 99 , 130 , 211 n.49;

Ruan Ji and, 81 , 92 , 95 , 99 ;

Shan Tao's, 220 n.20;

Wang Rong and, 92 ;

Xi Kang and, 78 , 92 , 129 , 199 n.19;

Zhang Xintai's, 136

Drug, five-mineral powder, 79 –80

Duke Huan of Qi and the Virtuous Lady, 38

Duke of Zhou, 15 , 22 , 27 , 77 , 82 , 194 n.64

Du Yu, 213 n.69


Eastern Han period (25–220), 15 –16, 22 –23, 66 ;

Chaoyang tomb and, 43 ;

civil administration in, 68 ;

Confucianism in, 15 , 27 –28;

Lelang tomb and, 33 , 43 ;

qingyi of, 71 –72;

virtue in, 28 , 32 ;

Yinan tomb in, 38

Eastern Jin period (317–420), 87 , 91 –92, 105 –25 passim, 181 n.7, 208 n.10;

and Danyang tomb, 151 ;

Great Families of, 67 , 87 –89, 125 –26, 134 , 197 , 208 nn.10, 11;

Nanjing tomb and, 3 , 63 , 87 (see also Nanjing);

and Seven Worthies, 91 –92, 94 , 101 , 105 –20 passim, 198 n.4

Education, 117 , 127 –28, 209 nn.18, 22, 23

Eight, significance of number, 216 –17n.109

Eight-Duke Mountain (Bagong shan), 217 n.109

Eight Effulgences (bajing ), 216 n.109

"Eight Free Spirits," 93 , 116

"Eight Friends," 128

Elisséev, S., 5

Eminent Gentlemen (Mingshi zhuan ), by Yuan Hong, 83 , 84

Encyclopedia of World Art,7 –8

Eremitism. See Recluses

Examiners, of civil officials, 69 , 71

Exemplars, 21 –23, 43 , 90 , 153 –54, 172 –74, 220 nn.19, 21, 221 n.25;

Confucius as, 22 , 23 –32, 38 , 174 ;

Han, 21 –36, 38 , 104 , 174 ;

Jin, 109 –14 passim, 120 , 149 ;

Laozi as, 27 , 29 –31, 38 ;

Rong Qiqi as, 84 , 113 , 124 , 174 , 217 n.111;

Seven Worthies as, 67 –68, 92 , 106 –7, 113 , 124 , 129 –30, 149 –52, 153 –54, 174 –77;

Southern Qi and Liang cultures and, 124 , 129 –32, 149 –52.

See also Cultivated gentlemen


Fabric. See Clothing

Facial expressions, 172 , 219 n.14

Fame, 128 –32;

traces of, 92 –101



Great, of Eastern Jin, 67 , 87 –89, 125 –26, 134 , 197 , 208 nn.10, 11;

northern, 86 –89, 105 , 115 , 125 –26, 210 n.33, 214 n.88 (see also Wang family; Xie family);

southern, 63 –64, 86 –89, 105 –6, 108 , 125 –26, 210 n.33, 214 –15n.88 (see also Xiao family);

Western Jin, 53 , 88 (see also Sima clan).

See also Genealogies; Great Families; names of individual families and dynasties

Fangshi (shamans), 146 , 215 n.89

Fan Yun (451–503), 128 , 210 nn.31, 33, 213 n.66

Fan Zhen, 213 n.66

Feng family, 24 , 30 –31

Fengliu, 201 –2n.54, 208 n.11, 211 n.49

Fischer, Otto, 182 n.8

Four Graybeards of Mount Shang,33 –36, 77 , 186 –87n.67;

illus., 34

Frailties, Seven Worthies', 174

Freedom, 100 , 101 , 104 . See also Ziran

Fry, Roger, 175

Fu Jian, 118

Funerals, 94 , 199 n.20

Funerary art:

Han, 16 –32, 38 , 218 n.8;

Jin, 38 –64.

See also Tomb art

Fu Yi, 81


Gan Bao, 93 , 113 , 198 –99n.10

Gansu, 190 n.9

Gao, Qi emperor (r. 479-482), 126 , 147 –48, 208 n.12

Gaoshi zhuan (Huangfu Mi), 216 n.101

Gaoshi zhuan (Xi Kang), 150

Gaozu, Han emperor, 33 –34

Gaozu, Northern Wei emperor, 213 n.69

Gardiner, K. H. J., 42

Gender differentiation:

in Lelang basket, 33 ;

in silk banner paintings, 18 , 21 , 184 n.17

Genealogies, 89 ;

in Great Families period, 126 , 208 n.13

Geomancy, 84

Gestures, 14 , 16 , 104 ;

in basket art, 35 –36;

in Seven Worthies murals, 104 , 168 –69;

of submission, 18 –19, 27 , 30 , 31 , 120 , 183 n.11;

in Yinan tomb art, 218 n.3.

See also individual titles of artwork

Gombrich, E. H., 9 , 11 , 153 , 219 n.14

Gong, Emperor, 86


art of, 68 –69, 71 ;

Han, 68 , 191 n.22;

Jin, 87 –90, 125 , 197 n.20;

Qi and Liang cultures and, 134 , 135 –36.

See also Politics

Grafflin, Dennis, 208 n.10

Graybill, Maribeth, 35

"Great Dragon," 139 ;

illus., 140

Great Families, 87 –89, 125 –26, 134 , 208 nn.10, 11

Great Proscription (167-184), 185 n.42

"Great Tiger," 139 ;

illus., 141

Gu, Lady, 106

Guangquan, Qu Prince Hui of, 22

Guan Zhong (d. 645 B.C. ), 205 n.109

Gu family, 88

Guiji, 107 , 109

Gu Kaizhi, 119 , 218 n.5, 221 n.31;

Pei Kai painted by, 175 , 176 ;

private collections of works by, 90 ;

Rong Qiqi painted by, 94 ;

on Shan Tao, 95 ;

Xie Kun painted by, 120

Gulik, R. H. van, 193 n.53, 218 n.8

Guo Xiang (d.312), 70 , 82 , 191 n.20, 209 n.23


Hairdress, in silk paintings, 18 , 21 , 184 n.17

Hamada, Kosaku[*] , 35

Hamilton, lan, 175

Han, Duke of Qi, 38

Han dynasty (206 B.C.A.D. 220):

Chaoyang tombs and, 43 –44;

civil administration in, 68 , 191 n.22;

Confucianism and virtue in, 15 , 16 , 27 –32, 34 , 43 , 65 , 68 , 72 , 85 , 104 –5, 117 , 120 , 134 , 174 , 185 n.42;

Danyang art compared with, 143 , 146 , 151 ;

and eight, 217 n.109;

eremitism in, 32 , 35 , 36 , 77 –78;

fall of, 37 , 38 , 66 , 87 , 88 ;

funerals in, 199 n.20;

last emperor of, 67 ;

Latter, 23 –24, 27 , 30 , 36 , 117 , 192 –93n.44 (see also Eastern Han period);

Lelang tomb and, 33 , 39 , 42 –44;

Liu Tan descended from, 114 ;

poetry of, 74 ;

politics during, 15 , 23 , 28 , 29 , 31 , 32 , 72 , 197 n.128;

portraiture of, 6 , 11 , 14 , 16 –36, 37 , 62 , 104 , 120 , 143 ;

qin in, 78 , 102 –3, 218 n.8;

and Seven Worthies and Rong Qiqi, 62 , 68 , 102 –3, 104 , 143 , 151 ;

Western, 6 , 21 –22, 45 , 62 , 125 , 188 n.29;

xian in, 214 n.82;

Xie An's wife descended from, 115 ;

and Yinan tomb, 37 –38

Han Gao Di, 206 n.117

Hanmen (lower status families), 89 , 125 , 126 , 206 n.117, 208 n.11

Hanshi, 107

Han shu, 22 , 33

Hare in the Moon,138 ;

illus., 137


He, Emperor (Xiao Baorong, r. 501-502), 123 , 207 n.5

Headdresses, in Wu shrine, 23 . See also Hairdress

Heaven of Supreme Purity (Shangqing ), 143 , 149

Hebei province, 43

Helingeer (Inner Mongolia), 23 , 26 –27, 28 , 29 , 33 , 43

Henan province, 23 , 187 n.2

"Herbs of immortality," 141

He Yan (ca. 190 –249), 69 , 70 , 73 –74, 209 n.23, 211 n.46;

and Cao Cao, 69 , 73 , 193 n.47;

and Emperor Ming, 66 , 73 –74, 212 n.57;

and five-mineral powder, 79

Historicity, of SSXY,112 –13

History of the Latter Han (Hou Han shu ), 22

History of the Qi Dynasty (Qi shu ), 136

History of the Song Dynasty (Song shu ), by Shen Yue, 141 –42, 165 , 199 n.13, 209 n.22, 214 n.84

History of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi ) (Chen), 66 , 75 –76

Holzman, Donald, 81 , 194 n.68, 195 nn.80, 91, 196 n.99

Hong Qingyu, 188 n.18

Hou Ching-lang, 6

Hou Jing, 203 n.74

Hua,22 , 175

Huainan, Prince of (second century B.C. ), 128 , 217 n.109

Huainanzi, 30 , 62

Huan, Duke of Qi, and the Virtuous Lady, 38

Huan, Han emperor (r. 147 –168), 24 , 28 , 185 n.42

Huan Chong (328-384), 116

Huan family, 89 , 116 , 120 , 203 n.84

Huang, Murong Xianbei chieftain, 42

Huangfu Mi, 84 , 117 , 216 n.101

Huangfu Xizhi, 117 , 205 n.109

"Huang-Lao," 29 . See also Daoism

Huan Wen (312–373), 110 –20 passim, 203 nn.84, 88

Huan Xuan, 86 , 89 , 90 , 110 , 116 –20 passim, 205 nn.109, 110

Huan Yi (275–328), 111 , 116

Hui, Prince of Guangquan, 22

Huijiao, 129 , 210 n.36

Hun (soul), 18 , 19

Hunan province. See Mawangdui, Changsha

Huo Qubing, 188 n.29

Huqiao, Wujiacun. See Wujiacun tomb art


"Ideal" portraits, 14 , 15 , 176 , 222 n.41

Ideals, social. See Character; Exemplars; Virtue

Ideology, 68 , 190 n.12, 209 n.23. See also Confucianism; Daoism; Exemplars

Immortality, 132 , 141 –52 passim;

"herb of," 141 ;

of Rong Qiqi, 151 ;

of Seven Worthies, 143 , 150 , 151 ;

Southern Qi and, 138 –52;

Xi Kang and, 78 , 82 , 85

Immortals (xian ), 138 –52 passim, 214 n.82, 216 n.106

Immortals with Dragon,139 ;

illus., 140 , 144 –45

Immortals with Tiger,139 , 207 n.7;

illus., 141 , 142

Impartial, the, and the Just, 69 , 71

"Individualism," 15 –16

Inner Mongolia. See Helingeer

Inner qualities. See Character; Refinement; Self-possession; Talent

Interior search (meditation and visualization), and immortality, 82 , 150


Jewels, in silk banner painting, 18

Jian'an era (196–219), 74 , 80

Jiangsu province, 3 , 7 , 23 , 27 . See also Danyang; Nanjing

Jiankang (capital), 67 , 75 , 87 , 101 , 127

Jianshan, Jinjiacun. See Jinjiacun tomb art

Jianwen, Jin emperor (r. 371–372), 93 , 107 , 114

Jianye (capital), 67

Jiaxiang county (Shandong), 26 , 27 , 31

Jin dynasty, 3 , 37 –64, 119 –21;

family in, 197 n.128, 206 n.116;

and recluses, 205 n.109.

See also Eastern Jin period; Western Jin dynasty

Jing, Qi emperor, 123

Jingchu period (237–239), 191 n.27

Jingling, King Wenxuan of. See Xiao Ziliang

Jingyuan era (260-263), 76

Ji Ni, 105 , 106 , 202 n.56

Jinjiacun tomb art (Danyang), 207 nn.3, 7;

animal, 137 , 138 –39, 207 n.7;

illus., 12 –13, 137 , 139 , 148 –49, 159 –63, 165 –67;

immortals/celestials, 138 –41, 148 ;

musicians on horseback, 140 , 149 ;

Seven Worthies, 12 –13, 140 , 155 –67, 168 –72, 207 n.1, 217 n.112

Jin–Liu-Song period. See Jin dynasty; Liu-Song dynasty

Jinqueshan, Linyi county (Shandong), 21

Jinshi suo, 27

Jin shu, 41 –42, 83 , 196 n.99, 199 –200n.26


Jiupin zhongzheng,69

Johnson, David, 197 n.120


Kang-i Sun Chang, 176

Kao-Kuei (Hsiang-kung, or Mao, r. 254 –260), 212 n.57

Knowing men, art of, 70 –71, 100

Koguryo, Dong Shou and, 42

Kongshi pu, 28

Kong Shou, 28 , 29

Kongzi jiayu,68 –69

Korea, 33 , 38 –39. See also Koguryo; Lelang


Lady Dai, 18 –19, 21 , 214 n.82

Lady Gu, 106

Lady Pan, 66

Lady Wang, 105 , 106

Laing, Ellen Johnston, 5 –6, 182 n.2, 199 n.22

Land, and power, 88 , 197 n.126

Langya Wangs, 126 , 205 n.105, 206 n.116, 208 n.10, 210 n.33;

and cultivated gentleman ideal, 115 , 116 , 117 ;

in governing positions, 88 , 126 , 208 n.10

Lanling. See Southern Lanling


in Confucius Visits Laozi,23 –32, 63 ;

as exemplar, 27 , 29 –31, 38 ;

Seven Worthies and, 76 , 77 , 84 , 104 , 202 n.60;

southerners and, 90 , 127 ;

and ziran, 190 n.18

Laozi,72 , 106 , 185 n.41, 209 n.23, 216 n.101

Laozi bianhua jing,29

Laoziming, 24 , 27

Latter Han period, 23 –24, 27 , 30 , 36 , 117 , 192 –93n.44. See also Eastern Han period

Laufer, Berthold, 5


Mysterious, 72 , 90 , 143 ;

talent and, 71 , 73 .

See also Art; Education

Legge, James, 186 n.56

Leisure, 90 ;

Cao Pi and, 75 , 79 ;

Xi Kang and, 78 –79, 86 .

See also Retirement; Reveling

Lelang, 33 , 39 ;

basket of, 33 –36, 62 –63, 186 n.61;

basket illus.,34 ;

tomb of Dong Shou (Anak), 39 –44, 96 , 105 , 120 ;

tomb illus.,40

Liang dynasty (502-557), 126 –35 passim, 147 –48, 175 , 203 n.74, 208 n.12, 212 n.58

Liang family, 185 n.42

Liang shu, 128

Liaoning province, 39 –44, 105 . See also Liaoyang tombs

Liaoyang tombs (Liaoning), 39 , 43 , 65 , 120 , 187 n.8

Li Chong, 213 n.69

Lidai minghua ji,66 , 94 , 119

Li Daoyuan (d.527), 85 , 215 n.98, 217 n.109

Liezi, 201 n.51, 203 n.68

Liezi, 94

Life, motion as sign of, 36

Li Ji, 183 n.11

Like-minded companions, 90 , 122 –52

Likeness. See Resemblance, physical

Linhuai, Prince of (Yu), 220 n.20

Linyi county (Shandong), 21

Lion, 138 ;

illus., 139

Li Shan, 211 n.39

Literary criticism, 221 n.29;

of Qi-Liang period, 134 ;

of Wei dynasty, 74

Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons (Wenxin diaolong ), by Liu Xie, 130 –35

Literary salons, 128

Literature, 74 –75, 100 , 212 –13nn.57, 63, 220 n.19;

court, 118 ;

Daoist, 149 ;

Eastern Jin and, 117 –18;

Liang and, 129 –36;

of Seven Worthies, 80 , 81 –82, 85 , 86 , 129 –32, 149 –50, 194 n.68, 204 n.93, 209 n.23;

Southern Qi and, 127 –36, 213 n.70;

SSXY as, 204 n.89.

See also Poetry

"Little Moon," 138 ;

illus., 137

"Little Sun," 138 ;

illus., 137

Liu An. See Huainan, Prince of; Huainanzi

Liu Bei, 67 , 83 , 108

Liu Bing, 192 n.35

Liuchao. See Six Dynasties period

Liu Jun (462–521), 129 , 198 n.8, 204 n.91, 213 n.68, 216 n.99

Liu Ling (third century A.D. ), 82 –83, 84 , 85 ;

and drinking, 61 , 82 –83, 93 –94, 99 , 130 , 211 n.49;

illus., 56 –57, 97 , 160 ;

in Jinjia mural, 158 , 160 ;

literature of, 82 –83, 93 –94, 130 ;

in Nanjing mural, 56 –57, 61, 96 , 97 , 98 , 163 , 169 , 170 , 171 ;

Sun Chuo and, 106 ;

traditions, 92 , 93 –94, 95 , 96 , 99 , 100 ;

Wujia mural and, 165

Liu Shao, 132 , 191 n.27, 192 n.35, 194 n.63, 212 n.57;

on talent/abilities/behavior, 70 –71, 72 , 74 , 104

Liu-Song dynasty (420–479), 3 , 86 –87, 118 , 125 –26, 147 , 222 n.38;

family in,


197 n.128;

Liu Yu of, 86 , 206 n.117;

military prowess in, 89 ;

Nanjing tomb and, 63 , 115 (see also Nanjing; portraiture);

and Seven Worthies, 3 , 101 , 206 –7n.1.

See also Song shu

Liu Tan (311–347), 111 , 114 , 116 , 203 n.85, 204 n.97

Liu Xie, 130 –35, 151 , 175 –76, 211 n.46, 212 –13nn.61, 63, 221 n.29

Liu Yiqing (403–444), 118 –19, 205 n.103, 213 n.68

Liu Yu, 86 , 206 n.117

Liu Zun (d. 535), 212 n.53

Lives of Eminent Monks (Gao seng zhuan ), by Huijiao, 129

Li Weiran, 188 n.27

Loehr, Max, 5 , 14

Loewe, Michael, 18 , 183 n.12

Lords of Life, Greater and Lesser, 183 n.12

Louis XIV, 208 n.10;

Rigaud's portrait of, 172 ;

Rigaud's portrait of, illus.,173

Lü An, 76 , 99 , 212 n.53

Lu Chui, 128 , 210 n.33

Lu family, 88

Lu Ji, 65

Luoyang (capital), 66 , 67

Lu Shan, 202 n.61

Lu Tanwei, 206 n.1, 218 n.5

Lysippus, 9 , 221 n.32


Man Zhangzhi, 209 n.16

Mao Shan sect, 143 –51, 215 nn.93, 98, 216 n.109, 220 n.18

Marney, John, 220 n.23

"Mask and the Face" (Gombrich), 9

Master of Records, 43 , 188 n.19

Mather, Richard B., 117 , 201 n.54

Mawangdui, Changsha (Hunan), 16 –19, 21 , 214 n.82

Memory, 176 , 222 n.37

Mencius, 66 , 119 , 172 –73, 206 n.122

Method for Picturing Confucius and His Disciples,22

Military class:

Qi dynasty, 136 , 213 n.71;

Wei dynasty, 68

Military conflict, in Han collapse, 66 , 87

Military prowess:

of Huans, 89 , 111 , 117 ;

of Xiao Daocheng, 125 –26

Ming, Qi emperor (Xiao Luan, r. 494/495-498), 123

Ming, Wei emperor (Cao Rui, r. 227 –239), 66 , 73 , 79 , 85 , 90 , 193 n.44, 212 n.57

Mingshi zhuan (Eminent Gentlemen ), by Yuan Hong, 83 , 84

Mr. Great Man (Ruan Ji), 216 n.101

Miu Hsi, 212 n.57

Moral Teaching (ming jiao ), 72 . See also Virtue

Moral traits. See Character; Exemplars; Virtue


dress for, 186 n.56;

Seven Worthies and, 93 –94, 100 ;

staff as symbol of, 21

Movement, 9 , 219 . 14. See also Gestures; Postures

Murals. See Danyang; Nanjing

Murong Xianbei, 42

Music, 101 , 194 n.69;

Seven Worthies and, 78 –79, 84 , 85 , 95 , 100 , 102 –3, 130 , 199 –200n.26. See also Qin

Musicians on Horseback,140 ;

illus., 149

Mysterious Learning (xuan xue ), 72 , 90 , 143


Nagahiro Toshio, 16

Naming, in Seven Worthies murals, 103 , 154 –58, 163 –65, 169 , 170

Nanbeichao period (317–581), 4 , 11 , 15 , 181 n.7, 187 n.9, 218 n.8

Nanjing (Jiangsu), 67 , 188 n.27;

tomb art, see Nanjing Seven Worthies mural

Nanjing Seven Worthies mural, 3 , 44 –64, 92 , 94 –104, 105 , 115 –24 passim;

artist/craftsman, 120 –21, 170 , 177 , 218 n.5;

compared with other two murals, 3 , 123 –24, 140 , 154 –55, 158 , 166 –72, 217 n.112, 218 n.5, 219 n.11;

illus.,4 –7, 46 –61, 96 –97, 99 , 102 ;

tomb occupant with, 115 , 118

Nan Qi shu, 207 n.1, 214 n.84

Nan shi, 207 n.1

Nature, 199 n.24. See also Animals, in tomb art; Trees

Neolithic times, 45

"Neo-Taoism and 'The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' in Chinese Painting" (Laing), 6

New Account of Tales of the World. See Shishuo xinyu

New Yorker, 1 ;

illus., 2

Nine, significance of number, 216 –17n.109

Nodelman, Sheldon, 222 n.41

Non-action, 191 n.20

Northerners, 213 n.69;

families of, 86 –89, 105 –6, 115 , 116 , 125 –26, 210 n.33, 214 n.88 (see also Wang family; Xie




ideals of, 105 –7, 115 , 116 , 127 , 128 , 135 ;

immigration to south, 86 –90, 91 , 125 , 199 n.22, 204 n.93.

See also Northern Wei dynasty

Northern Wei dynasty (386-535), 125 , 127 , 213 n.69

Nourishing Life (Xi Kang), 82 , 216 n.99


Ochi Shigeaki, 208 n.11

"Ode to Wine" (Liu Ling), 61 , 82 –83, 93 –94, 130

Oligarchy, Eastern Jin, 87 , 125 , 197 n.120

Orchid Pavilion, 203 n.76

Oxford English Dictionary (OED ), 32 , 36 , 190 n.12


Painters, 90 , 119 , 206 n., 218 n.8;

of the Seven Worthies, 120 –21, 170 , 177 , 218 nn.5, 8.

See also Dai Kui; Gu Kaizhi

Paintings. See Basket art; Danyang; Nanjing; Silk banner paintings

Pan, Lady, 66

Paradigms, Seven Worthies as, 75 . See also Exemplars

Pei Kai, 95 , 100 , 175 , 176

Pei Songzhi (372-451), 76 , 198 n.8, 201 n.45, 202 –3n.68

Perfected Immortals, 143 , 150

Physical characteristics, 175 ;

vs. literary description, 22 , 95 –98.

See also Gesture; Postures; Resemblance, physical; titles of individual artworks

Picasso, Pablo, 177

Plotinus, 9 –10

Plutarch, 221 n.32

Po (spiritual component), 19

"Poems That Sing of My Innermost Thoughts" (Ruan Ji), 82

Poetry, 74 , 129 –30, 132 –33, 152 , 174 , 195 n.80;

Huan Xuan and, 118 ;

Liu Ling's, 61 , 82 –83, 93 –94, 130 ;

Ming Di's, 212 n.57;

Ruan Ji's, 80 , 81 –82, 101 , 129 –30, 132 , 174 , 210 –11nn.38, 40, 220 n.23;

simple image in, 152 , 217 n.110;

Tao Yuanming's, 37 , 94 , 129 , 210 n.25;

"topic and comment," 217 n.110;

Xiao Ziliang's, 210 n.25;

Xi Kang's, 80 , 101 , 129 –30, 132 , 174 , 194 n.68, 211 n.38;

Yan Yanzhi's, 129 , 165 , 199 n.13


art and, 71 , 72 –73, 90 , 130 –31, 134 , 135 –36;

Han dynasty, 15 , 23 , 28 , 29 , 31 , 32 , 72 , 197 n.28;

Jin, 87 –90, 107 –19 passim, 125 , 197 ;

Seven Worthies and, 49 , 76 –77, 85 , 87 , 93 , 94 –95, 105 , 108 , 111 , 130 , 202 –3n.68;

Song and Liang cultures and, 125 , 130 –31, 134 , 135 –36.

See also individual dynasties

Portrait of Dong Shou,39 –44;

illus., 40

Portrait of Leo X (Raphael), 181 n.2

Portrait of Louis XIV (Rigaud), 172 ;

illus., 173

Portraiture, 1 –3, 5 –6, 218 n.9, 219 n.14, 222 n.41;

character, 11 , 15 , 16 , 21 –36, 120 , 175 ;

Chinese, 3 , 10 –11, 14 –15, 16 , 75 , 119 , 122 –23;

court, 118 ;

described, 7 –10;

Han dynasty, 6 , 11 , 14 , 16 –36, 37 , 62 , 104 , 120 , 143 ;

"ideal," 14 , 15 , 176 , 222 n.41 (see also Exemplars);

Jin–Liu-Song, 3 , 37 –64, 101 , 104 , 105 , 119 –21, 166 , 222 n.38 (see also Nanjing);

resemblance in, see Resemblance, physical;

secular, 32 –36;

Southern Qi, see Danyang.

See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi

Postures, 14 , 16 , 104 , 172 ;

in basket art, 35 –36;

inner nature shown by, 172 –73;

of Sage Kings, 23 ;

in Seven Worthies murals, 95 –96, 104 , 166 –68, 169 , 170 .

See also Clothing; Gestures; titles of individual artworks

Poverty, 206 n.117, 209 n.22

Powder, five-mineral, 79 –80

Powers, Martin, 186 n.54

Profundity, 73 –74, 79 , 172 –73

Proust, Marcel, 112

Pure Conversation (qingtan ), 71 –74, 79 , 109 , 204 n.89

Pure Criticism (qingyi ), 71 –72


of cultivated gentlemen, 109 –10, 120 , 151 ;

in Latter Han, 192 –93n.44;

Ming Di and, 73 , 193 n.44;

of Seven Worthies, 100 , 151 .

See also Heaven of Supreme Purity; Pure Conversation; Pure Criticism


Qi (creativity), 74

Qi dynasty. See Southern Qi dynasty

Qin (zither), 170 , 201 n.48, 218 n.8;

Tao Hongjing and, 148 ;

Xi Kang and, 76 , 78 –79, 80 , 85 , 102 –3, 104 , 114 , 172 , 194 n.71

Qing. See Purity

Qingtan (Pure Conversation), 71 –74, 79 , 109 , 204 n.89

Qingyi (Pure Criticism), 71 –72


Qu, Prince Hui of Guangquan, 22



in Han portraiture, 16 –21, 22 , 29 , 32 , 33 ;

in Jin portraiture, 40 , 41 , 43 , 44 ;

and politics, 87 –88, 89 , 134 , 197 n.120, 208 n.10.

See also Class; Exemplars; Great Families

Ranks of the Perfected, 146

Raphael, 181 n.2

Recluses, 108 , 150 , 205 n.109, 219 n.15;

Han, 32 , 35 , 36 , 77 –78;

Huan Wen and, 117 ;

Huan Xuan and, 117 , 118 , 205 n.109;

"phony" (chongyin ), 117 ;

Rong Qiqi as, 83 –84, 94 , 101 111, 204 n.98;

Shen Yue as, 212 n.50;

Sun Chuo as, 107 –9;

Xie An as, 109 –10, 205 n.109;

Xi Kang and, 77 –78, 83 ;

Xu Xun as, 108 , 110 ;

Yin as, 212 n.50;

Yin Hao as, 205 n.109;

Zhuge Liang as, 67 , 83 , 108 , 205 n.109;

Zong Ce as, 150

Refinement, 177 ;

of cultivated gentlemen, 90 , 136 , 151 ;

Ming Di and, 73 –74, 79 ;

of Seven Worthies, 101 , 151 ;

of Xie An, 110 ;

Xi Kang and, 79 , 86 , 104 , 114

Ren Fang (460–508), 128 , 175 , 210 n.31, 211 n.39

Renwu zhi (The Study of Human Abilities), by Liu Shao, 70

Reputation, 32 –36, 72 , 109 –10, 115

Resemblance, physical, 9 , 175 –76, 222 nn.38, 41, 42;

in Confucius Visits Laozi,31 ;

in Seven Worthies murals, 154 , 169 –71;

in silk paintings, 183 n.10

Retirement, 205 n.109;

of cultivated gentlemen, 107 –10, 111 , 114 ;

of Liu Shao, 191 n.27;

of Rong Qiqi, 111 , 217 n.111;

of Shan Tao, 108 ;

of Xi Kang, 77 .

See also Recluses

Reveling, of Seven Worthies, 92 , 93 , 94 , 129 . See also Drinking

Rigaud, Hyacinthe, 172 , 173

Rites, 127

Robes. See Clothing

Robinet, Isabelle, 220 n.18

Rocks, in Xie Kun's portrait, 120

Rong Qiqi, 83 –84, 153 , 204 n.98, 206 n.1, 213 n.69;

in Danyang murals, 155 , 156 , 167 , 169 –70;

as exemplar, 84 , 113 , 124 , 174 , 217 n.111;

illus., 60 –61, 156 , 167 ;

Liang and Qi cultures and, 135 –36, 143 , 151 ;

in Nanjing mural, 3 , 60 –61, 62 , 63 , 101 , 104 , 113 , 169 , 170 ;

as recluse, 83 –84, 94 , 101 , 111 , 204 n.98;

Tao Yuanming on, 94 , 131 ;

traditions, 92 , 94 ;

ziran of, 84 , 94 , 101 , 104 .

See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi

Ruan family, 72 . See also Ruan Ji: family

Ruan Ji (210–263), 80 –82, 83 , 85 –86, 88 , 92 , 150 , 151 , 195 n.91, 202 n.61, 204 n.93, 211 nn.42, 49, 212 n.57;

family of, 61 , 72 , 83 , 88 , 115 –16, 192 n.41;

Gan Bao on, 93 , 198 –99n.10;

illus., 48 –49, 102 , 155 , 162 ;

in Jinjia mural, 162 , 168 ;

literature of, 80 , 81 –82, 85 , 86 , 101 , 117 , 129 –30, 131 , 132 , 149 –50, 174 , 202 n.61, 210 –11nn.38, 40, 216 n.101, 220 n.23;

in Nanjing mural, 48 –49, 51 , 98 , 101 , 102 , 103 , 158 , 168 , 170 ;

Ren Fang and, 211 n.39;

Shen Yue and, 129 , 135 , 151 , 210 –12nn.38, 40, 50;

traditions, 92 , 93 , 95 , 98 , 99 , 100 , 150 ;

and whistling, 98 , 150 , 200 n.28, 216 n.101;

in Wujia mural, 154 –55, 168

Ruan Kan, 84

Ruan Xian (230–281), 83 , 85 , 196 n.101;

illus., 58 –59, 98 , 157 , 166 ;

in Jinjia mural, 166 ;

and music, 83 , 95 , 99 , 130 , 199 –200n.26;

in Nanjing mural, 58 –59, 61 , 98 , 103 ;

traditions, 94 , 95 , 99 , 100 ;

in Wujia mural, 157 , 163 , 169

Ruan Xiu, 72 –73, 89 , 192 n.41

Ruan Yu (d. 212), 80

Ruan Yu (ca. 300–360), 115 –16, 204 n.100

Ruyi,55 , 102 , 171 –72, 201 n.47, 220 n.20


Sage Kings, 23 , 66

Saint, 220 n.18. See also Exemplars

Salons, literary, 128

Sanguo zhi, 28 , 198 n.8, 201 n.45

Sargent, J. S., 175

Schipper, K., 216 n.108

Schücking, L., 182 n.21

Schweitzer, Bernhard, 9

Secular portraiture, 32 –36

Self-expression, in literature, 80 , 82

Self-indulgence, 93 , 116

Self-possession, 134 ;

of Seven Worthies, 100 –101, 111 , 151 , 169 , 219 n.15;

Xie An and, 110 , 111 , 119 , 205 –6n, 110 ;

of Xie family, 117

Self-so-ness. See Ziran

Sengzhao, 202 n.61

Seven Masters, Jian'an period, 80

Seven Worthies, 220 n.20;

Shi Daoshi and, 66 , 86 ;

Sun Sheng on, 84 .

See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove


Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, 67 –68, 75 –86, 129 , 174 , 198 n.4, 213 n.69;

Eastern Jin and, 91 –92, 94 , 101 , 105 –20 passim, 198 n.4;

as exemplars, 67 –68, 92 , 106 –7, 113 , 124 , 129 –31, 149 –52, 153 –54, 174 –77;

Southern Qi and Liang cultures and, 128 –32, 135 –36, 140 –43, 149 –52;

traditions, 75 , 92 –101, 105 , 198 n.4., 199 n.13.

See also Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi; names of the individual men

Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi,153 , 182 n.2, 206 –7n.1;

artists/craftsmen of, 120 –21, 170 , 177 , 218 n.5;

bamboo trees absent from, 217 n.112;

comparisons among the three murals, 3 , 123 –24, 140 , 154 –72, 217 n.112, 218 nn.2, 5, 219 n.11;

illus.,4 –13 passim, 46 –61, 96 –97, 99 , 102 , 155 –63, 165 –67;

verisimilitude in, 154 , 169 –71.

See also Danyang Seven Worthies murals; Nanjing Seven Worthies mural

Shaanxi province, 23 , 26 , 188 n.29

Shamans (fangshi ), 146

Shandong province, 21 , 24 , 30 , 33 , 43 ;

Jiaxiang county, 26 , 27 , 31 .

See also Yinan tombs

Shan Tao (205–283), 76 –77, 78 , 80 –81, 83 , 85 , 150 ;

illus., 50 –51, 158 , 161 , 165 ;

in Jinjia mural, 161 , 163 , 165 , 169 ;

in Nanjing mural, 50 –51, 53 , 163 ;

political successes of, 53 , 83 , 99 , 130 ;

Ren Fang and, 211 n.39;

Shen Yue and, 129 , 199 n.13;

and Sima clan, 53 , 83 , 196 n.99;

Sun Chuo and, 106 , 108 ;

traditions, 95 , 99 , 100 , 220 n.20;

in Wujia mural, 154 , 158 , 163 , 165 ;

and Xie An, 110 ;

and Xi Kang, 76 –77, 78 , 80 , 83 , 199 n.19, 202 –3n.68

Shaoxing (Zhejiang), 107

Shengxian gaoshi zhuan zan (Xi Kang), 84

Shen Nong, 23

Shen Yue (441–513), 127 , 206 n.117, 208 n.9, 209 n.22, 210 n.33, 212 n.55;

and mixing of classes, 126 ;

History of the Song Dynasty by, 141 –42, 165 , 199 n.13, 209 n.22, 214 n.84;

in literary salon, 128 ;

and Liu Xie, 132 ;

and Seven Worthies, 129 , 131 , 135 , 151 , 152 , 165 , 174 , 199 n.13, 210 –11nn.38, 40, 50, 215 n.98

Shen Zhou (1427–1509), 218 n.8

Shi Daoshi, 66 , 86

Shih, Hsio-yen, 187 n.1

Shih, Vincent, 212 n.60

Shi Hu (r. 333–349), 205 n.109

Shi ji, 23 , 27 , 33

Shi jing, 30

Shipin (Criticism of Poetry), by Zhong Rong, 130 , 211 n.41

Shishuo xinyu (SSXY, A New Account of Tales of the World), 112 –13, 118 –19, 129 , 203 n.77, 204 n.89, 205 n.110;

and Daoism, 143 ;

on Eminent Gentlemen,84 ;

and five-mineral powder, 79 ;

qingtan in, 72 , 204 n.89;

on Seven Worthies, 92 , 93 , 113

Shou,33 , 184 n.19

Shu-Han, kingdom of, 67

Shuijing zhu,28 , 217 n.109

Sichuan province, 23 , 24 , 26 –27

Sickman, Laurence, 33

Silk banner paintings, 16 –21, 183 –84n.4, 201 n.50;

illus., 17 , 20

Sima clan, 53 , 67 , 73 , 83 , 86 , 194 n.64

Sima Qian, 23 –24, 27 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 33 , 35

Sima Rui, Emperor Yuan (r. 318–322), 67

Sima Yi, 119

Sima Zhao, 76 , 81 , 95 , 116

"Simple images," 152 , 27 n.110

Six Dynasties period (220–589), 6 –7, 44 , 63 –64, 181 n.7, 187 n.2;

brick designs of, 45 ;

Daoism in, 143 , 201 –2n.54;

tomb architecture of, 39 .

See also Southerners; individual dynasties

Social ideals. See Character; Exemplars; Virtue

Social status. See Class; Rank

Song dynasty. See Liu-Song dynasty

Song shu (History of the Song Dynasty ) by Shen Yue, 141 –42, 165 , 199 n.13, 209 n.22, 214 n.84

Soper, Alexander, 199 n.19, 206 –7n.1, 213 nn.67, 69


families of, 63 –64, 125 –26, 208 , 210 n.33, 214 –15n.88 (see also Xiao family);

ideals of, 106 , 115 , 116 , 127 , 128 , 135 , 214 –15n.88;

relations with northerners, 88 –89.

See also Southern Qi dynasty

Southern Lanling, 63 , 125 –26. See also Danyang

Southern Qi dynasty (479–502), 123 –37 passim, 206 –7n.1, 211 n.43, 212 n.60, 217 n.109;

and animals and tablets in burials, 189 n.45;

Danyang tombs of,


3 , 63 –64, 123 –24, 138 –52, 165 –72 (see also Danyang);

founders/families of, 63 –64, 87 , 125 –26, 208

Soymié, Michel, 24 –26, 30 –31

Spirit shrine, 215 n.98

"Spiritual communion" (shen hui ) 174 , 176

Spiritual component (po ), 19

Spontaneity. See Ziran

SSXY. See Shishuo xinyu


in Confucius Visits Laozi,27 , 30 ;

in silk banner paintings, 18 , 21

Status. See Class; Rank

Stein, Gertrude, 1 –2, 3 , 177

Style, 90 , 104 –18 passim, 134 , 174 , 202 n.56, 221 n.35. See also Cultivated gentlemen

Su Bai, 39 , 187 nn.8, 9, 188 n.18

Submission, gestures of, 18 –19, 27 , 30 , 31 , 183 n.11

Sui dynasty, 112 , 119

Sun Chuo (fl. 330–365), 106 –9, 143 , 202 n.66, 205 n.107;

portrait of, 119 ;

and Seven Worthies, 106 –7, 108 –9, 113 , 129 ;

and Xie An, 109 , 110 ;

on Xie Shang, 114

Sun Deng, 108 , 150

Sun family, 67 , 88 , 197 n.123

Sun Quan, 67 , 87 , 115

Sun Sheng (ca. 302–373), 84 , 93 , 108 , 203 n.68

Sun Wu, 67

Sun Zuoyun, 184 n.14

Superstitions, 146 , 215 n.89

Swart, Paula, 208 n.13


Tablets, prohibition of, 189 n.45

Taiping yulan,84

Taiyuan Wangs, 114 , 115 , 202 n.64

Talent, 69 –74 passim, 88 , 89 , 115 , 192 n.36, 213 n.71;

Cao Cao and, 69 , 104 ;

literature as, 133 –34;

Liu Shao on, 70 –71, 72 , 74 , 104 ;

Ming Di and, 73 –74;

of Seven Worthies, 86 , 93 –101 passim, 174 ;

of Xie An, 116

Tang dynasty, 112 , 119 , 128 , 196 n.99, 211 nn.39, 40

Tao family, 89

Tao Hongjing, 147 –48, 150 , 215 n.93

Tao Qian (Tao Yuanmirg), 129 , 204 n.98, 213 n.72;

ancestry of, 89 ;

poetry of, 37 , 94 , 129 , 210 n.25;

and Rong Qiqi, 94 , 131

Taxes, 87 , 88 , 197 n.120

Temple art, 22 , 28 –29

Temple of Qu Yuan, 22

Three Kingdoms–Western Jin period (220–316), 43 , 67 –75. See also Western Jin dynasty

Tian Yu, 118

Tigers, 216 n.106;

in Danyang tombs, 139 , 146 , 207 n.7;

in Danyang tombs illus.,141 , 142 , 146

Till, Barry, 208 n.13

Toba, 125 , 127

Tomb art, 23 , 37 –44, 65 ;

Chaoyang, 39 –44;

Confucius Visits Laozi,23 –28, 29 –32, 63 ;

silk banner paintings, 16 –21.

See also Danyang; Lelang; Nanjing; Yinan tombs

Tranquillity, 73 , 82 , 84 , 121 , 134

Trees, 45 , 170 , 188 n.32, 217 n.112, 218 n.8. See also Bamboo Grove

Tu,22 , 119 , 206 n.1, 217 n.109


Verisimilitude, 176 , 221 n.30;

in Seven Worthies murals, 154 , 169 –71.

See also Resemblance, physical

Virtue, 43 ;

Han dynasty and, 28 , 30 , 31 –32, 34 , 43 , 65 , 104 –5, 117 ;

and Lady Gu, 106 ;

and purity, 73 ;

Rong Qiqi and, 83 –84.

See also Exemplars


Wang, Lady, 105 , 106

Wang, Bi (226–249), 68 , 190 n.18, 209 n.23

Wang Chang (d. 259), 202 n.64

Wang Chong (27–ca. 100), 1

Wang Dao (276–339), 88 , 113 , 114 , 116 , 203 n.88, 204 nn.93, 97

Wangdu (Hebei), 43

Wang Dun (d. 324), 112 , 113 , 203 n.88

Wang family, 72 , 202 n.56, 203 n.74;

Taiyuan, 114 , 115 , 202 n.64.

See also Langya Wangs

Wang Gong, 95

Wang Jian, 208 nn.10, 12

Wang Meng, 113 , 114 , 146 , 204 n.97

Wang Rong (234–305), 83 , 85 , 111 , 113 , 114 , 116 , 150 ;

illus., 52 –53, 99 , 158 , 163 ;

in Jinjia mural, 163 ;

in Nanjing mural, 52 –53, 55 , 57 , 98 , 99 , 102 , 103 , 166 –68;

and ruyi, 55 , 102 , 201 n.47, 220 n.20;

Southern Qi and Liang culture and, 130 –31, 136 ;

traditions, 92 , 95 , 98 –99, 100 –101;

in Wujia mural, 154 –55, 158 , 169 ;

Yan Yanzhi and, 199 n.13


Wang Rong (467–493), 128 , 210 nn.31, 33, 213 n.67, 217 n.111

Wang Sengqian, 208 n.14, 209 n.23

Wang Shu, 203 n.72

Wang Su (195–256), 68 –69

Wang Su (464–501), 213 n.69

Wang Tanzhi, 114 , 202 n.64, 203 n.72

Wang Xianzhi, 206 n.116

Wang Xizhi (309–ca. 365), 147 , 148 , 203 n.76, 206 n.116;

Xie An with, 109 , 110 , 143

Wang Yan, 72 –73, 88

Wang Yanshou (ca. 124–ca. 148), 22 , 32

Wang Yi, 219 n.14

Wars, of Han collapse, 66 , 87

Wei dynasty (220–265), 49 , 65 , 67 , 68 –75, 76 , 101 , 119

Wei dynasty, Northern (386–535), 125 , 127 , 213 n.69

Wei Shou, 222 n.38

Wen, Liu-Song emperor (r. 424–454), 125 , 126

Wen, Wei emperor. See Cao Pi

Wenhui. See Xiao Changmao

Wenxin diaolong,130 –35

Wen xuan, 130 , 201 n.45

Wenxuan, King. See Xiao Ziliang

Wen You, 26

Western Han period (206 B.C.A.D. 24), 6 , 21 –22, 45 , 62 , 125 , 188 n.29

Western Jin dynasty (265–3 6), 67 –75;

families in, 88 ;

Seven Worthies in, 53 , 82 , 83 ;

Sima clan founding of, 53 , 67 , 73 ;

tomb paintings in, 43 , 187 n.1

Western Lodge, 128

Whistling, 98 , 150 , 200 n.28, 216 n.101

Wilson, Gahan, 1 , 2

Wine. See Drinking

Wixted, John Timothy, 211 n.41

Wright, Arthur, 210 n.36

Writing. See Literature

Wu, Qi emperor (r. 482–493), 123 –24, 203 n.74, 208 n.12, 213 nn.67, 69

Wujiacun tomb art (Danyang), 207 nn.3, 7;

illus.,8 , 10 –11, 140 –41, 144 –45, 147 , 155 , 156 –58;

immortals/ celestials, 138 –41, 144 –45, 147 ;

Seven Worthies in, 8 , 10 –11, 140 , 154 –55, 156 –58, 163 –65, 168 –72, 217 n.12, 218 n.2

Wu kingdom, 67 , 87 , 88 , 181 n.7

Wu shrines, 23 , 26 , 29


Xian (immortals), 138 –52 passim, 214 n.82, 216 n.106

Xiang (image), 22 , 66 , 93 , 119 , 206 n.1, 217 n.109

Xiang To, 26 , 27 , 30 –31, 70 –71, 186 n.54

Xiang Xiu (228–281), 76 , 82 , 84 , 85 , 114 , 201 n.51;

illus., 54 –55;

Jinjia mural and, 163 –65;

in Nanjing mural, 54 –55, 59 , 98 , 103 –4, 170 , 199 n.19;

traditions, 94 –95, 99 , 100 ;

Wujia mural and, 155 , 165 ;

and Xi Kang, 76 , 82 , 84 , 85 , 94 –95, 99 , 103 –4, 130 ;

Zhi Dun and, 106 , 202 n.60;

and Zhuangzi,59 , 68 , 82 , 99 , 100 , 106 , 202 n.60

Xiao Baojuan (marquis of Donghun), 123 , 206 nn.1, 3, 212 n.60

Xiao Baorong (He Di), 123 , 207 n.5

Xiao Changmao (Wenhui), 123 –24, 127 , 210 n.28, 213 n.69

Xiao Chen, 128 , 210 nn.31, 33

Xiao Daocheng (427–482), 87 , 125 –26

Xiao Daosheng (d. 478), 123

Xiao family, 63 –64, 125 , 126 , 143 , 210 n.33. See also Southern Qi dynasty

Xiao Gang, 212 n.58

Xiao Luan, 123

Xiaosiming, 183 n.12

Xiao Tong (501–531), 130

Xiaowu, Jin emperor (r. 377–396), 206 n.116

Xiao Yan (Liana Wu Di), 128 , 203 n.74, 210 n.33

Xiao Zhaoye, 124

Xiao Ziliang (King Wenxuan of Jingling, 460–494), 211 n.39;

literary salon of, 128 , 213 nn.66, 67;

mountain dwelling portraits of, 175 , 176 ;

writings of, 210 n.25

Xiao Zixian, 210 n.25

Xie An (320–385), 109 –20 passim, 143 , 203 n.77, 204 n.100, 205 nn.109, 110

Xie Daoyun, 105 , 110

Xie family, 115 –19 passim, 125 , 126 , 202 n.56, 203 n.74, 210 n.33

Xie He, 175 , 176 , 221 n.29

Xie Hui, 206 n.116

Xie Hun, 206 n.116

Xie Kun (280–324), 116 , 120 , 205 nn.102, 103

Xie Lingyun (385–433), 118 , 125 , 206 n.116

Xie Shang (308–357), 113 –14, 116

Xie Tiao, 128 , 210 n.31

Xie Wan (ca. 321–361), 108 –9, 203 n.72, 204 n.100

Xie Xuan, 105 , 206 n.116

Xie Zhi, 119


Xi Kang (223–262), 51 , 76 –81, 82 , 83 , 84 , 85 –86, 114 , 150 , 151 , 202 –3n.68, 204 n.93, 206 n.1, 211 nn.42, 49, 212 n.57;

in Danyang murals, 3 , 158 , 159 , 165 , 172 ;

and drinking, 78 , 92 , 129 , 199 n.19;

execution of, 49 , 76 , 94 –95, 100 , 108 , 210 n.34;

illus., 46 –47, 97 , 102 , 159 ;

literature of, 76 , 78 , 80 , 82 , 85 –86, 101 , 114 , 129 –30, 131 , 132 , 149 –50, 174 , 194 n.68, 204 n.93, 209 n.23, 211 n.38, 216 n.99;

in Nanjing mural, 46 –47, 49 , 53 , 63 , 96 , 97 , 98 , 99 , 101 , 102 , 103 , 158 , 170 , 172 ;

and qin, 76 , 78 –79, 80 , 85 , 102 –3, 104 , 114 , 172 , 194 n.71;

Ren Fang and, 211 n.39;

Shen Yue and, 129 , 131 , 135 , 151 , 210 –12nn.38, 50, 215 n.98;

Sun Chuo on, 106 , 108 ;

traditions, 92 –100 passim, 150 , 215 n.98;

Xiang Xiu and, 76 , 82 , 84 , 85 , 94 –95, 99 , 103 –4, 130

Xing (form), 22 , 66

Xing Qu, 28 , 35

Xiongnu, 67

Xishanqiao murals. See Nanjing

Xiu'anling mural, 207 n.7;

illus., 142 , 146

Xi xia xing, 3

Xuan xue (Mysterious Learning), 72 , 90 , 143

Xu Gan, 134

Xu Xun, 108 , 110 , 114


Yaliang, 104 , 201 –2n.54. See also Cultivated gentlemen; Self-possession

Yan Du, 22

Yang Ke, 205 n.109

Yang Mingzhao, 211 n.43

Yang Xi, 143

Yang Xuanzhi, 210 n.34., 220 n.20

Yan Hui, 206 n.1

Yan Kejun, 81

Yan Yanzhi (384–456), 93 –94, 129 , 165 , 199 n.13, 211 n.40

Yan Zhitui, 215 n.98

Yao Zui, 175 , 176 , 221 n.29

Yeshang (Jiangsu), 27

Ye Yan, 66

Yijing, 68 , 90 , 127 , 216 n.101

Yin, 212 n.50

Yinan tombs (Shandong), 43 , 63 , 187 n.2, 218 n.3;

Confucius Visits Laozi of, 23 , 26 , 27 , 63 ;

dates of, 23 , 37 –38, 39

Ying Chü, 212 n.57

Ying-shih Yü, 200 n.23

Yin Hao, 205 n.109

Yong huai shi (Ruan Ji), 82

Yoshikawa Kojiro[*] , 33

Yu, Prince of Linhuai, 220 n.20

Yuan, Jin emperor (Sima Rui, r. 318–322), 67

Yuan Hong, 84

Yu province, 113

Yu Wanzhi, 217 n.111

Yu Xin (513–581), 174 , 220 nn.20, 21

Yu Yu, 83


Zeng Zhaoyu, 187 n.1

Zhang family, 88

Zhang Liang, 33 , 108

Zhang Xintai, 136 , 213 n.71

Zhang Xuan, 105

Zhang Yanyuan, 119

Zhang Zhan (fl.370), 94

Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322), 218 n.8

Zhao Yi, 208 n.11

Zhejiang province, 107

Zhengao, 150

Zheng Minzhong, 170

Zhengshi period (240–248), 130

Zhi Dun (314–366), 106 , 109 , 146 , 202 n.60

Zhong Hui (225–264), 76 , 95

Zhong Rong (469–518), 130

Zhou (state), 24

Zhou, Duke of. See Duke of Zhou

Zhou Fu, 112

Zhou Yi, 204 n.93

Zhou Yiliang, 213 n.71

Zhuangzi (Zhuangzhou), 72 , 76 , 77 , 80 , 90 , 99 , 127 . See also Zhuangzi

Zhuangzi, 109 , 209 n.23;

Ruan Xiu on, 72 ;

Xiang Xiu and, 59 , 68 , 82 , 99 , 100 , 106 , 202 n.60;

Zhi Dun and, 106 , 109 , 202 n.60

Zhucheng (Shandong), 43

Zhu Daoqian, 106

Zhu Daoyi, 205 n.109

Zhu family, 88

Zhuge Liang, 67 , 83 , 108 , 205 n.109

Zi Lu, 23

Ziran (self-so-ness, spontaneity), 69 , 72 , 94 , 121 , 190 n.8, 201 –2n.54, 216 n.108, 219 n.15;

of Rong Qiqi, 84 , 94 , 101 , 104 ;

of Seven Worthies, 104 , 151

Zither. See Qin

Zong Ce, 150 , 216 n.101



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Preferred Citation: Spiro, Audrey. Contemplating the Ancients: Aesthetic and Social Issues in Early Chinese Portraiture. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1990 1990.