Wang Cheng-hua (Princeton University)1
Translated by Michael Day

Originally published as: Wang Cheng-hua (Wang Zhenghua). “Shenghuo, zhishi yu wenhua shangpin: wan Ming Fujianban riyong leishu yu qi shuhuamen” 生活知識與文化商品:晚明福建版日用類書與其書畫門in Zhongyang yanjiuyuan Jindaishi yanjiusuo jikan 中央研究院近代史研究所集刊 (Journal of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica) 41 (September 2003): 1-85.

Daily-Use Encyclopedias on the Late-Ming (1368-1644) Book Market: Editing Strategies and Potential Readers

The prolific publishers of Jianyang, Fujian, flooded the prosperous book market of the late-Ming dynasty with a wide variety of texts — editions of the Confucian Classics, histories, poetry collections, medical works, fengshui guides, classical tales, vernacular novels and stories, dramas, etc. Of all these works, scholars have been particularly intrigued by Jianyang’s “daily-use encyclopedias” (riyong leishu 日用類書), works purporting to provide all readers with the practical information they needed in their everyday lives. Many have taken this purpose, stated frequently in the encyclopedias’ prefaces and even in their titles, at face value, using them as evidence for the reconstruction of daily life in early modern China. This essay tests the validity of this assumption by analyzing the compilation strategies, contents, and formats of the late-Ming Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, particularly as they compare to daily-use encyclopedias of different periods and regions, in order to understand their place in the stratified book market and, finally, to determine their potential readership. Useful to this understanding is an examination of the characteristics of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias like Santai’s Infinitely Useful [Guide to] How to Do Everything Correctly (Santai wanyong zhengzong 三台萬用正宗, 1599), Five Carts of Select Marvels (Wuche bajin 五車拔錦, 1597), and Deep Ocean of Myriad Books (Wanshu yuanhai 萬書淵海, 1610), all products of the very late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

The earliest extant daily-use encyclopedia, Chen Yuanjing’s 陳元靚 Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs (Shilin guangji 事林廣記), was published centuries earlier, in the late Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). The original edition has been lost, but it survives in the form of a series of editions, which circulated widely throughout the Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming dynasties. Two different lineages of Yuan dynasty editions are extant, one from 1330-1333 and one from 1340, as well as at least eight Ming dynasty editions; these editions were printed and distributed by local governments as well as commercial publishers. Chen Yuanjing, a failed examination candidate who, having given up on an official career, went to work as an editor for a publisher-bookseller, was from Chong’an, a town near Jianyang.2 All the extant Yuan and Ming dynasty commercial editions of Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs originate in Fujian, demonstrating that the publication was a regional product.3 Although some additions and deletions were made across these many editions, the differences mostly affect the arrangement of information, while the contents remain largely the same; the Ming dynasty editions basically follow the Yuan editions and are divided into the 1330-1333 and the 1340 lineages.4 All the extant editions that can be clearly identified as Ming editions (some do not specify publication dates or publishers) were published in the early to mid-Ming dynasty; the latest edition was the 1541 edition published by the Jianyang Yu 余 family Jingxiantang 敬賢堂 publishing house.5

Although Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs was still being reprinted in the late Ming, its circulation was limited. Replacing it in popularity was a new kind of daily-use encyclopedia, published — also by the Jianyang publishers — in thirty varieties; these up-and-coming publications stepped in to fulfill the new demands of the book market in rapidly changing times.

A detailed study of these works shows that the Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs and the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming are to some extent related, firstly in their widespread use of illustration, and secondly in the duplication of detailed content among them. As early as the Song dynasty (960-1279), the Fujian booksellers began to include a large number of pictures, maps, and charts; Expansive Record represents a fairly advanced stage in this development, with illustrations such as “Confucius at the Xingtan Pavilion,” depicting Confucius sitting beneath a tree and strumming a lute in the company of ten disciples (Figure 1).

Figure 1: “Confucius at the Xingtan Pavilion,” from Expansive Record of the Forest of Literati, Newly Edited, Illustrated, and Expanded, and Divided into Categories (Xinbian zuantu zengxin qunshu leiyao Shilin guangji 新編纂圖增新群書類要事林廣記), fascicle 4. Duplicate of Xiyuanjingshe woodblock edition held by the Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Institute of History and Philology, Academic Sinica, Taipei.

The late-Ming texts, as we shall see, were even more heavily illustrated.6 Another indicator of the connections between these works is the frequent repetition of certain Expansive Record entries — such as “Territorial Records,” “National Capitals of the Past,” “Miscellaneous Records of Tributary Lands,” “Tips for Looking at Paintings,” “On Evaluating Paintings,” and “Fu Xiying Evaluates Paintings” —in the Jianyang late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias. Regional tradition appears to have played a role in this repetition.7

But, although these late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias follow some of the conventions set by Expansive Record, there are marked differences between the texts. Nearly every fascicle (juan 卷) of every late-Ming Jianyang text contains pictures and illustrations, pairing text and graphics in a way that outshines the Expansive Record. For instance, while the section on painting in Expansive Record consists solely of text, the later encyclopedias add numerous illustrations, so that the top register of a page consists of text and the bottom is made up of pictures; in the “Farming and Sericulture Section” (“Nong sang men” 農桑門), for instance, the Expansive Record includes three illustrations at the start of the section, but late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias employ illustrations on each page, with text on a top register and pictures on a bottom register, a method that clarifies the information presented. This dual register format, already in use in the Tang dynasty (618-907), was a defining characteristic of many Jianyang publications.8 Illustrations increased not only in quantity, but more significantly in complexity, comprising a new approach to page formatting. The layout of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming heavily emphasized visual impact, and special layouts were designed for many entries for ease of viewing and browsing. In the “Writing” (“Wenhan” 文翰) and “Correspondence” (“Qizha” 啟劄) sections, for instance, although there was no need for the illustration of sample forms of address and calligraphic scripts, the late-Ming works consistently provided pictures that distinguish visually the different forms so that readers immediately see the differences (Figure 2).9

Figure 2: “Model Forms of Address” from the “Writing” section of Five Carts of Select Marvels, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 1:310.

The advantages of the above-mentioned formats are that they provide space for more content, simplify layouts, and reduce costs. If the goal was to reduce costs, however, it made no sense then to add illustrations, because these visually impactful designs entailed a high cost in time and labor, even if crudely engraved. Why, then, did the late-Ming Jianyang daily-use encyclopedias, which depended for success on high quantity and low prices, make use of them? Perhaps layouts with text on the top and pictures on the bottom were favored not only because they provided more room for text, but because they clarified the classification and arrangement of entries, creating a clear and consistent visual effect. Pictures, special formats, and illustrations may also make searching and browsing a text easier, helping users to locate quickly the entries they wish to consult. Given the lively interest in visual impact in the late Ming; given the suitability of the two-register layout to the times; given the vogue for illustrated serial fiction; and given the circulation of images in a wide range of media, these daily-use encyclopedias might not have survived on the market without striking images and an eye-catching format.10

In one other important way, late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias differ from the Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs. They considerably reduce content on traditional ideas and practices, with especially drastic cuts to sections on Confucianism, childhood education, and agriculture.11 For instance, the sections of the Expansive Record on the ancient sages list the names of more than a hundred famed historical figures, including the seventy-two disciples of Confucius; and the section on Confucianism offers instruction in the six traditional scholarly arts (ritual, music, archery, chariot-driving, calligraphy, mathematics) as well as the elements of Confucian teaching (e.g., righteous thinking, cultivation of the self and family, statecraft) that candidates were required to know to pass the lowest level of the civil service examinations. But the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias omit all this material. On the topic of traditional agriculture, only the section on farming and sericulture remains, and such topics as flowers, fruits, plants, trees, livestock, and so on are omitted. Expansive Record depicts a comprehensive picture of agricultural life, but the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias retain only the most basic information, presenting a greatly reduced range of material.

What replaces this information in the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias? They focus on human relations, providing information highly relevant to social intercourse. Sections treat terms of address, letter formats, and other protocol for interpersonal interaction and discuss many types of amusements and social niceties. Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs presents information on cultured pastimes and entertainments enjoyed by the literati such as music, calligraphy, painting, drinking games, board games, etc. under the category “Literature and Arts” (“Wenyi” 文藝). Although the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias include information on these topics, they are preoccupied with group amusements such as social drinking and joke-telling, shifting the focus from literature and art to pure entertainment. It is easy to imagine that, at a boisterous social gathering, the “Social Drinking Section” (“Youshang men” 侑觴門) of these works could be employed to enliven a round of liquor with guests, and the news and jokes of the “Wit and Conversation Section” (“Xiaotan men” 笑談門) could heighten an atmosphere of levity. Late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias fill multiple fascicles on the topic of “Resources for Conversation,” presenting, in addition to the jokes and topics in the “Wit and Conversation” section, historical tales, details of legal cases, and moral advice, all as fodder for conversation. And sections on riddles, poems, and romance, etc. provide information relevant to social interaction on special occasions and at particular celebrations. The “Poetry Section” (“Shidui men”詩對門) includes model antithetical couplets and poems with four, five, and seven characters per line, presenting poetry not only as a way of encouraging interaction at social occasions, but also as an important means of everyday interpersonal socialization at special events such as birthdays, weddings, and so on — indeed, the presentation of occasion-appropriate poetry or rhymed couplets was de rigueur at such celebrations. Whereas the “Elegant Tales of Romance” entry in Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs features love stories, the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias provide “Advice on [Visiting] Courtesan Houses” — that is, how to conduct oneself when visiting prostitutes and picking up women. In the late-Ming dynasty, a time when courtesan houses (qinglou 青樓) were important urban social venues, and courtesan culture was a key element of urban culture, knowledge of prostitutes showed that one was clearly an urbanite “who knew the ways of the world.”12

It is thus apparent that what was seen as valuable knowledge and a desirable lifestyle in the Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs underwent a drastic transformation in the late-Ming dynasty. Traditional knowledge of the sort found in Expansive Record centered on the goal of personal moral cultivation, with an emphasis on learning and scholarship in general, but also manifesting a particular concern with study associated with the lowest level of the civil service examinations, and on the knowledge and lifestyle associated with agriculture and rural living. In selecting what to reproduce from the Expansive Record, the compilers of the late-Ming Jianyang daily-use encyclopedias favored the practical portions of the work, but also made significant changes to these portions, adapting them to suit contemporary social conditions and focusing on social interaction very much within an urban cultural setting.

In addition to the Expansive Record, other early daily-use encyclopedias circulated during the late-Ming dynasty. The Yuan dynasty Complete Collection of Essential Household Knowledge (Jujia biyong shilei quanji 居家必用事類全集) was reprinted numerous times during the Ming dynasty by both local governments and commoners.13 One extant Ming-dynasty edition includes a 1560 preface by Tian Rucheng 田汝成 (?-ca. 1540), a prolific writer well-known enough to receive a mention in the orthodox history of the dynasty, the History of the Ming (Ming shi 明史).14 The preface sets out to confirm the book’s origins, discussing the reasons for its publication and asserting its authenticity. Tian holds that the information on youth education, filial piety, and ritual propriety in Essential Household Knowledge, as well as its maxims for government officials and self-cultivation, are of a high standard, suited for reference in both household and government administration and of use in cultivating moral character, regulating families and administering states.15 A comprehensive survey of the book bears out this description of its contents. Within the framework of Confucian ethics, it instructs elite families in how to administer their households and function as officials, apparently appealing to readers who were the heads of educated households. The first chapter of the book is entitled “Engaging in Study” (“Weixue” 為學) and discusses educational methods for the younger generation, covering everything from manners to reading and writing. It is obviously not intended for reading by the children themselves, but by the parents primarily responsible for their education. The “Family Rules” (“Jiafa” 家法) section covers marriage and funeral rites, citing Sima Guang’s 司馬光 (1019-1086) famous — and rigidly orthodox — Miscellaneous Domestic Rituals (Jujia zayi 居家雜儀).

The “Engaging in Study” and “Family Rules” sections demonstrate that Essential Household Knowledge was intended for use by elite families; the contents of sections on bureaucratic history were clearly selected with educated classes in mind. Nonetheless, the book includes numerous entries of a highly practical, instructional nature, encompassing such subjects as raising poultry and cattle, cultivating vegetables and fruits, identifying medicinal ingredients, pickling vegetables and preserving health and fitness. None of this information is related to scholarship or Confucian household management — what are we to make of its inclusion in a book clearly intended for the elite? A closer look at the contents of these sections shows that they treat the needs of practical household management — that is, they discuss methods of managing family farm life for male heads of household; they are directed to readers who are not in fact farm laborers but estate managers. It is thus clear that this practical lifestyle guidance would support the non-commercial lifestyles of the rural gentry, who owned land and family enterprises; and, at the same time, facilitate the passage of the lowest level of the civil service examination by the heads of household or members of the younger generations — and thus perhaps their appointment as government officials.16

Essential Household Knowledge was repeatedly reprinted throughout the Ming, and it is apparent that there was a market for the work even in the late Ming. In addition to this work, numerous other daily-use encyclopedias, similarly devoted to the Confucian principle of “cultivating the self, regulating the family, governing the state, and bringing peace to the world,” circulated throughout the mid-to-late Ming dynasty. Song’s Family Essentials, Household Rites, Family Regulations, and Leisure [Activities] (Songshi jiayao jiayi jiagui yanxian bu 宋氏家要部,家儀部,家規部,燕閒部), edited by Song Xu 宋詡 in 1504, is another example. Song’s preface explains clearly that the work is guided by the principles of entry-level Confucian studies (that is, the basic Confucian teachings the mastery of which could earn one shengyuan 生員 status, the lowest of the examination ranks) and that it aspires to help regulate the family in order to fulfill these principles — and presumably earn shengyuan status, which came with certain social and economic privileges. In addition to proper family rules and etiquette, the content encompasses all sorts of practical knowledge required for management of prosperous families of some education, including, for example, health tips, information on farming and sericulture, and descriptions of various types of account books for keeping track of real estate, valuables, and livestock. The work is clearly intended for gentry families who owned land and perhaps managed rural businesses.17

Household Essentials (Jujia bibei 居家必備), published in the late-Ming dynasty by the Dushufang 讀書坊publishing house, was also intended to fulfill the family administration and business management needs of the elite. It is graced with a preface by famed early-Ming scholar and poet Qu You 瞿祐 (1341-1427), 18 who declares that the main undertakings of a household are teaching children, making a living, and governing the family — in other words, he sets forth an image of a traditional Confucian family engaged in both work and study similar to that presented by both Song Xu and Tian Rucheng. The target audience is obviously the educated elite, as the work contains texts written by noted authors from Southern Song dynasty author Zhao Xigu 趙希鵠 to late-Ming dynasty authors Tu Long 屠隆 (1542-1605) and Wen Zhenheng 文震亨 (1585-1645) as well as well-known late-Ming works on aesthetics and the good life, such as Shen Hao’s 沈顥 (1586-?) On Painting (Hua zhu 畫麈) and Gao Lian’s高濓 (fl. 16th c.) Eight Treatises on the Nurturing of Life (Zun sheng ba jian 尊生八箋).

Household Essentials (and most likely the Ming editions of Collected Essentials of Household Knowledge and Song Yu’s Song’s Family Essentials) was published, not in Jianyang, but in the Jiangnan region (the lower Yangzi river delta), whose major cities were the major sites of commerce and culture in the late Ming — and several hundred kilometers away from Jianyang, Fujian. It was published at least twice, once in the 1620s by Duan Jingting’s 段景亭Dushufang, a prolific publishing house in Hangzhou, one of the great cities of Jiangnan; and once by the Xinyuantang 心遠堂, most likely also located in the Jiangnan region.19 Although the Jianyang, Fujian, publishers and the Jiangnan publishers produced, generally speaking, the same types of books and marketed them in the same places, late-Ming publications from Fujian reveal the Fujian publishers’ exclusive focus on market considerations. They did not care for quality or improvement, but valued, rather, speed of production and affordability, aiming to attract a mass audience. They profited richly from this calculation, but the results of their choices are apparent in the relatively low production qualities of their daily-use encyclopedias.20

The three daily-use encyclopedias above, all of which focus mainly on household administration, can be distinguished from Fujian encyclopedias not only in terms of their contents, but also in terms of their layout; in the latter regard, they are poles apart. Household Essentials consists mostly of text, includes few illustrations, and employs a loose, expansive layout with large characters and a consistent page format lacking top and bottom registers. In contrast, as indicated above, the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias are full of illustrations, and pages are divided into upper and lower registers. Character size varies, and the texts are not necessarily easy to read. And, in Household Essentials and similar texts, when earlier writings are reproduced in the text, their sources are noted, and the texts are reproduced relatively completely. Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, on the other hand, copy only fragments of texts and insert them into disparate sections. Thus, not only are the reproductions fragmentary, they are removed from their original contexts, which are never cited.

Contrasts in both contents and layout indicate that these publications served different purposes. Daily-use encyclopedias for the literati elite were meant for study purposes, and thus provided readers with complete original texts and presented a full range of information on each topic. For instance, the “Engaging in Study” section of Household Essentials provides comprehensive information ranging from how to teach children to put on clothes and walk down the street to letter-writing formats to be used once they were able to read. The inclusion of information on writing in this section shows that its purpose is the edification and academic advancement of civil service examination candidates. By contrast, the way in which Fujian daily-use encyclopedias present the “Calligraphy” (“Calligraphy”書法) section shows that they did not envision calligraphy as a necessary part of a Confucian education: they placed it among all the other sections, with no indication of which is more important or which section should be associated with a higher goal (e.g. Confucian education). They treat calligraphy just as they treat social drinking, jokes, and romance — it is just one other form of everyday information the reader might consult if he/she desires. Even the arrangement of the tables of contents makes it apparent that Fujian daily-use encyclopedias are meant for browsing — the reader was not expected to read every character. Each section is listed in a standard two-character title like “Calligraphy” or “Painting Manual (“Huapu” 畫譜); then beneath the title, entries in the lower and upper registers are listed separately, in four-character titles; for instance, the “Painting Manual” section is divided into an upper “Painting Tips” register and a lower “Painting Manual Essentials” register. Beneath these titles are detailed notes in small characters, providing plenty of topics for conversation — a reader perhaps might get all he or she needed just from the table of contents (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Table of contents from Five Carts of Select Marvels, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 1:11.

The table of contents of Essential Household Knowledge, in contrast, indicates the order of entries clearly, and it is apparent which entries belong to which sections; for instance, the information on Confucian education is presented in a logical step-by-step sequence, but no consideration is given to visual ease of reference.

In the mid-to-late Ming dynasty, daily-use encyclopedias of this nature continued to be produced.21 The greater proportion of their contents was dedicated to agricultural information and the concerns of rural life, an orientation that differentiated them sharply from the urban-centered Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. But there was also another kind of daily-use encyclopedia that must be distinguished from the Fujian works. The prime example is the well-known Assembled Illustrations from the Three Realms: Heaven, Earth, and Man (Sancai tuhui 三才圖會), published in 1609. This encyclopedia was closely associated with the elite scholarly class. Its editor, Wang Qi 王圻 (1530-1615), earned the highest civil service examination degree. The work itself includes prefaces by a number of noted officials, literati, and scholars. Assembled Illustrations from the Three Realms presents a complete system of knowledge, illuminated with copious illustrations. One of the prefaces praises it as a “lavishly illustrated work” that revives the classical tradition of learning. Another preface makes a point of distinguishing it from popular encyclopedias and commercially produced texts. Although such works circulate so widely that “a train of oxen would perspire under their collective weight,” as one preface explains, their many pages and many entries amount to little more than “fodder for jokes” — a remark that might have been aimed at the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. Assembled Illustrations from the Three Realms, in contrast, presents orthodox Chinese knowledge through a combination of illustration and text22; it is not at all like the daily-use encyclopedias of the Fujian booksellers, with their truncated citations and piecemeal presentation of information. In production quality, too, Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms, with its exquisite illustrations and meticulous block engraving, far surpasses the Fujian products.

In sum, daily-use encyclopedias published in Jianyang, Fujian have characteristics that distinguish them from other daily-use encyclopedias intended for either a rural gentry or a sophisticated literati audience. They targeted a different, well-defined market segment, and obviously, given their popularity, succeeded in meeting a certain need among contemporary readers. Both their layout and contents indicate that they were designed for reference and to supply conversation fodder, not for scholarly study. They stand apart from traditional imprints made up exclusively (or almost exclusively) of text; their emphasis on visual design and illustration was aligned with the contemporary interest in visuality. Their anticipated readership was not the traditional Chinese social elite, the literati and scholars. Nor was the lifestyle they promoted that of the landed rural gentry — that is, they did not assume a life of studying and farming (and perhaps running household enterprises) — but rather a lifestyle with a profoundly urban character. Although buyers of late-Ming Fujian daily-use encyclopedias did not necessarily reside in cities, the editing strategies of these books were obviously influenced by the widespread appeal of urban culture; the works themselves manifested the cultural impact of urban prosperity.

Who purchased and read these works? The most direct way to determine who bought and consulted the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias is naturally to look at book prices and purchasing power. The list prices of two daily-use encyclopedias, one tael (liang 兩) and one mace (qian 錢), give us a rough idea of the price range; the work costing one liang was ten times the price of the work that sold at one mace.23 Among late-Ming book prices, one mace is inexpensive and one tael is average. Books selling at high prices were usually exquisitely printed editions of famous works or heavily illustrated works; they might cost as much as two or three taels. By contrast, the prices of daily-use encyclopedias were near the bottom of the book market.24

Some scholars argue, however, that these prices placed the works beyond the reach of the lower classes of society, who simply did not have the purchasing power to buy books even at the price of one mace. Others, comparing book prices to the salaries of government officials, argue, too, that ordinary people could not afford any books at all, even those at the lower end of the market.25 The salary records of government officials are not, however, the best gauge of people’s ability to purchase books in the late Ming. The real salaries of government officials exceeded what was on record; various types of unofficial income and extralegal kickbacks raised the figures far in excess of the salaries listed in official records. Moreover, the incomes of other social classes and occupations in the late Ming were not related to the salaries of various classes of officials. That the book market flourished in the late Ming indicates that books were an important component of contemporary cultural consumption; in an age of economic development and burgeoning consumption, families with money to spend did so, often on daily-use encyclopedias.26

Although, because of the lack of relevant sources, it is difficult to determine precisely which people or groups of people read late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias, some clues provide food for speculation. In the seventeenth-century vernacular novel A Marriage to Awaken the World (Xingshi yinyuan zhuan 醒世姻緣傳), set in the late Ming, there is a minor character, Chao Yuan, the wastrel son of the family of a rural county magistrate. He is completely uninterested in classical studies and able to read only children’s books like the elementary primer Thousand Character Classic (Qianzi wen 千字文). One day the young man suddenly falls ill and a doctor comes to take his pulse. In need of a book on which to rest his patient’s arm, the doctor requests a copy of Directory of Officials (Jinshen lu 縉紳錄), but the servant girl returns with a book of pornographic prints and an erotic novel. When the doctor looks askance at these, she changes them for a daily-use encyclopedia, No Need to Seek Advice on Myriad Matters (Wanshi bu qiu ren 萬事不求人).27 Clearly the author believed that daily-use encyclopedias did not require a high level of education, necessitating only the ability to read the Thousand Character Classic, that is, they were accessible to “people with a crude level of literacy.”28 Furthermore, Chao Yuan’s collection includes pornography as well as daily-use encyclopedias — that is, it is made up of works of idle entertainment befitting his immature personality and habit of reading less-than-respectable books.

A Marriage to Awaken the World is set in Wucheng, Shandong, and Huating, Jiangsu, seeming to indicate that distribution of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias extended both north and south of the Yangzi River. Although we lack detailed records of print runs, sales numbers, and marketing networks, scholars, through painstaking research on the Fujian publishers and the bookshops they managed, have concluded that some of them most likely sold their products not just in Fujian, but also in the major cities of the Jiangnan region — Nanjing in particular — and even in the capital, Beijing, far to the north. Publishers like Yu Xiangdou 余象斗 (1550?-1637), perhaps the most prolific of the Fujian publishers, were fully familiar with the publishing business in Nanjing and repeatedly reprinted “capital editions” (jingben 京本) — that is, works published in the capital, suggesting that there was circulation of works between at least two different publishing sites. Some scholars claim that in the late Ming, central and southern Chinese book markets were integrated, and circulation of daily-use encyclopedias was not limited to Fujian. The book market in Fujian province could not compare with that of the flourishing, culturally advanced Jiangnan region, and Jianyang (Fujian) booksellers could not earn sufficient profits from sales to the literate population of Fujian alone. The Jiangnan region was likely the biggest market for books from Fujian.29

Because of the lack of sources, it is difficult to determine either the absolute numbers or the proportion within the general population of the so-called “people with a crude level of literacy” in the late Ming. However, scholars generally agree that the literate population increased at that time as a result of economic development. Although no study has found the increase to be higher than ten percent, it nonetheless had a significant impact on contemporary society and cultural production; and might have also stimulated the proliferation of new publications.30 Other researchers have emphasized the role of “functional literacy” in the Ming and Qing, pointing out that ordinary people uninterested in official service or scholarly advancement did not need to attain high levels of literacy; they might learn to read enough to provide for their everyday needs, but never be able to compose presentable prose. Certain professionals — doctors, fortunetellers, geomancers, accountants, professional letter-writers, officiators at religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, etc. — had to be able to read basic characters. These people, who today would be called “technicians” or “specialists,” were common in Chinese cities and villages throughout the Ming and Qing. They were not necessarily male — women needed to be able to read to do embroidery work. 31 If this functionally literate population had some spare pocket money, they could have purchased books. They were participants in cultural consumption, and their participation shattered the traditional notion of literate cultural consumers as limited to the elite literati and scholarly class.

David Johnson’s study of writing and oral culture in the Ming and Qing dynasties divides Chinese society into nine socio-cultural groups based on various combinations of education/literacy and social dominance (including economic capacity), at three different levels. The highest level of education/literary is comprised of people who received a classical education; beneath this lies an additional literate level, followed by an illiterate level. The intermediate or functionally literate population cuts across the traditional class boundaries of scholars, farmers, laborers, and merchants, as does the population with the economic capacity to share in cultural consumption.32 These are the “four classes of the people” (simin 四民) and the literati and scholars (shimin 士民) the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias mention in their titles and prefaces33 in hopes of attracting the maximum number of literate consumers across all social classes. Chao Yuan, in A Marriage to Awaken the World, for example, had no particular interest in books, but he nonetheless kept them for reference; and he could afford books once his family had become well-off after his father passed the provincial imperial examination and was appointed a county magistrate. Other potential purchasers of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias included medium- and small-scale urban merchants and workshop owners as well as members of the landed class residing in the countryside.

Thus Fujian daily-use encyclopedias were distinct from more traditional works in appearance, the reading practices they assumed, the editing strategies they employed, and the market niche they served. In the late Ming, the lowest classes were barely able to fulfill their basic survival needs and lacked the capacity for cultural consumption; the elite class at the apex of the literate population had no need to consume cheaply priced, crude works like the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. When the need for an encyclopedia arose, they had access to better options, including works like Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms and Household Essentials. At the same time, ordinary people who, though well enough off, lacked extensive education, could afford to purchase a variety of books. From the many options available to them, they could easily purchase Fujian daily-use encyclopedias priced at one tael.

Fujian daily-use encyclopedias were a new type of publication that, laying outside the confines of traditional texts of civil service examination study, poetry and literary collections, and orthodox encyclopedias, provided access to books to people with a limited level of literacy and some degree of economic security. Such people were part of society prior to the late Ming, but during the late Ming they emerged in great numbers, spurring dramatic changes in the book market and in cultural consumption and production. Fujian daily-use encyclopedias became a new type of consumer good, representing a new way of consuming books. Consumption of such works was rooted in contemporary social trends outside the bounds of traditional knowledge frameworks and the way of reading — and the way of life — that assumed that part of one’s time would be devoted to agriculture and part of one’s time to study. New definitions of how one should live and what knowledge was permeated social spaces and shaped the discourse of the day. Below, I will investigate more deeply the novel attitudes toward the proper way to live and the understanding of useful knowledge that emerged in the late Ming by discussing the painting and calligraphy sections of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias and comparing them to different types of artistic consumables. Thus, I hope to attain a fuller understanding of the readers and social spaces of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, and to investigate contemporary social differentiation as it was expressed in the consumption of visual products and information on the arts.

Art, Social life, and Fashionable Topics: Calligraphy and Painting

“Calligraphy” and “Painting Manual” sections are common components of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming. The two sections are generally linked, with the calligraphy section coming first. The upper row of the “Calligraphy” section generally presents key information on calligraphy and examples of writing styles, with text and pictures in equal proportion, while the bottom row consists mainly of illustrations, explaining the eight representative strokes and providing samples of conventional techniques. The upper row of the “Painting Manual” section consists of hints for appreciating and composing paintings and is made up mostly of text, including bits of basic knowledge such as “Secret Tips for Painting Likenesses.” The lower row is a painting manual presenting models of plums and bamboo as well as complete model paintings of landscapes, flowers, and birds, occasionally including human figures and livestock.

Painting and calligraphy sections became standard components of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias because of the contemporary demand for information on these topics. Other related sections of the encyclopedias also treat painting and calligraphy as part of daily life; there is no special explanation of their presence in these sections, indicating that they had already been accepted as elements of social practice. Model letters requesting paintings are found in the “Correspondence” sections designed exclusively to teach readers how to write letters.34 And the sections on selecting auspicious days include auspicious days for painting portraits.35 Extant paintings from the late Ming onward reflect an interest in the depiction of individuals or groups in society, in portraits of ancestors or groups of merrymakers, which often include figures from different social strata.36 “Secret Tips for Painting Likenesses” in the “Painting Manual” section of the encyclopedias cites fragments from Wang Yi’s 王繹 (1333-?) Secret Tips for Painting Portraits (Xiexiang mijue 寫像秘訣), the earliest extant work of the theory of portraiture. Wang Yi was himself a highly skilled professional portrait painter, and his text is highly technical; based on the principles of physiognomy, its instructions on sketching and coloring figures lend an air of advanced knowledge to its discussion of portrait-painting technique.37 The citations from Secret Tips for Painting Portraits in the encyclopedias, however, are likely not intended to educate painters, as portrait painting was a highly specialized technique passed down from master to disciple. Rather, the citations show that painting portraits had become a common social practice about which literate consumers were expected to know.

Other social customs related to painting are revealed by letter-writing instructions in the encyclopedias. Before guests were treated to a banquet, the host would write letters asking to borrow hanging scrolls to adorn the banquet hall walls;38 a model response from a friend who was sending some paintings refers to ink wash paintings and four landscape paintings.39 Paintings served as a medium of human social interaction, as adornments adding to the atmosphere of joyous eating and drinking at banquets, and as presents exchanged among friends. This was the case with calligraphy as well; samples and practice models played a role in social exchange.40

Formerly only available for consumption and enjoyment by the upper classes, painting and calligraphy had thus by the late Ming become cultural products that played an important social role in the lives of ordinary people. As the literate population grew, inevitably a greater number of people were able to appreciate and create works of calligraphy than in earlier periods. Fujian daily-use encyclopedias provide examples of antithetical couplets (duilian 對聯) for a wide range of occasions and professions; as a form for the display of calligraphy, antithetical couplets, which were de rigueur means of honoring major life events (weddings, official postings, shop openings, holidays, etc.) spread far and wide. As for painting, works with multiple functions began appearing in large numbers in the mid-Ming dynasty, serving as objects of gift exchange in a wide range of social occasions, to commemorate birthdays, weddings, and retirements or to be displayed during celebrations such as the New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival.41 Studies have shown that, by the mid-Ming, celebrating birthdays had become a widespread social custom. Among young and old alike, and across all social strata, it was common to give paintings and calligraphy as gifts on these occasions. Liu Ruoyu’s 劉若愚 (1584-ca. 1642) account of his life as a eunuch in the imperial palace in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, tells us that images of Tian Guan 天官 and Zhong Kui 鍾馗 were hung on New Year’s Day, and pictures of priests and immortals were used in an attempt to drive out the five poisonous creatures during the Dragon Boat Festival. 42 In addition, the “Hanging Paintings, Month by Month” chapter of Wen Zhenheng’s Treatise on Superfluous Things (Zhang wu zhi 長物志), which explains which paintings were appropriate to hang for each season and occasion, states that portraits of Tian Guan and the ancient sages were for the New Year and images of Zhong Kui, mugwort,43 the five poisonous creatures, etc., for the Dragon Boat Festival.44 To be sure, Liu Ruoyu was describing the customs of the imperial court; and most of the paintings Wen Zhenheng recommends hanging (he suggests that they should be changed more than ten times a year) were famous works of the Song and Yuan that ordinary families could not have afforded. But the customs mentioned by the two authors cut across social classes. The paintings selected by different classes would have similar themes, although their size and degree of renown would depend upon individual financial resources and social connections.

Since paintings and calligraphy deeply permeated social life, it is unlikely that they were difficult to buy or sell, although of course purchasing the work of famous artists was not easy, necessitating personal introductions and expenditure of much money and time.45 Fujian daily-use encyclopedias include a letter format that perhaps reflects a state of affairs that was common at the time: the letter requests that the recipient purchase regular script calligraphy practice models for the sender when visiting a nearby city. The letter does not specify the name of a specific shop or seller, indicating that transactions in painting- and calligraphy-related goods were commonplace in cities.46 The scholar-official and art connoisseur Li Rihua 李日華 (1565-1635) writes that, during his term as an official in Beijing during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, long handscrolls such as Along the River during the Qingming Festival (Qingming shang he tu 清明上河圖)47 could be purchased easily at general stores in the capital at the price of one tael.48 Indeed, we know that by the Northern Song dynasty at the latest, paintings and works of calligraphy commonly changed hands at periodic city markets and shops.49 What were the unique characteristics of such transactions in the late Ming? From Li Rihua we learn that paintings and works of calligraphy were bought and sold even more commonly in the late Ming, not only in the capital but in the cities of Jiangnan, and not only at regularly scheduled markets but at shops and streetside stalls. Such transactions took place not just at specialist art stores, but even at general goods stores.50 In seventeenth and eighteenth century illustrations of urban life, shops and stalls selling paintings, calligraphy, and antiques often appear as part of the urban landscape, in contrast to Zhang Zeduan’s 張擇端 Along the River during the Qingming Festival, a late Northern Song handscroll that, in its urban market scenes, depicts no transactions in paintings or calligraphy.51 To be sure, illustrations do not necessarily reflect reality, but it is apparent that the circulation of cultural products such as paintings and calligraphy was part of the image of urban life in the late-Ming dynasty, and the ability to consume paintings and calligraphy easily and quickly was a distinguishing feature of contemporary urban culture as well as a component of “urbanity.”

Thus paintings and calligraphy played important roles in the social networks and relationships in the late Ming. But toward what kinds of lifestyles are the specialized “Calligraphy” and “Painting Manual” sections of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias oriented?

A comparison of the “Calligraphy” sections of the different types of daily-use encyclopedias helps answer this question. Although Expansive Record of the Forest of Literati does not include a separate calligraphy section, it does provide sample calligraphic scripts in its “Literature and Arts” section. There we find models of cursive script (cao shu 草書), seal script (seal script 篆書), clerical script (li shu 吏書), and Mongolian script. At most about seven hundred characters are listed, with their meaning and pronunciation. Instruction is provided in identifying and writing in scripts other than the regular script (kai shu 楷書); the section on cursive script in particular is of a highly practical nature, even including a series of instructions in rhyme. 52 The inclusion of Mongolian script shows that the Fujian publishers had adapted their works to changing geopolitical realities.53 The model scripts of Expansive Record could conceivably serve, like a character dictionary, to instruct a learner in reading and writing characters.

In contrast, the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias seem to fulfill a different purpose. Although also explaining cursive and clerical scripts, they pay special attention to seal script, including up to eighteen different varieties of the script and giving a minimum of five and a maximum of fifty sample characters for each variety. Seal script, the most ancient of the Chinese scripts, was used in a variety of different forms prior to the unification of China under the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE, when the state created a uniform script designed to replace the many kinds of scripts in use at the time. Perhaps because of its antiquity, seal script was regarded as the highest form of calligraphy, but by the late Ming it was obsolete. The unusual — we might say “strange” — forms of this archaic script appealed greatly to late-Ming readers. Scholars of calligraphy attest that there was a vogue for seal script in the late Ming and that the fashion influenced contemporary calligraphic styles.

But the Fujian late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias extravagantly — and inaccurately —exaggerate the “strangeness” of seal script. The Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, for example, provides seal script renderings of two series of characters, 蝌蚪顓頊作 and 暖江錦鱗聚 (reproduced here in regular script), that are meaningless as phrases. In the encyclopedia’s seal script versions, each stroke in each character of the first phrase is made up of tadpole-like dots connected to a long line —and, certainly not coincidentally, the first two characters mean “tadpole” (Figure 4); and each character in the second phrase — which includes the word for “fish scales” — is made up of a school of fish (Figure 5), giving greater priority to visual impact than meaning.54 These examples, bearing no relationship to real seal script, reflect a playful fascination with both striking visual effects and “strange” writing forms that was typical of the late Ming.

Figure 4: From the “Calligraphy” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 6: 436.

Figure 5: From the “Calligraphy” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 6: 441.

Both the literature and art of the period express a thirst for novelty that, in the popular books in vogue at the time, manifested itself in pursuit of unusual pictorial effects as well as widespread use of rare characters and variant character forms. In this context, in which the competition to discover or create the latest curiosity was intense, seal script was the perfect means by which to satisfy the demand for whimsy and the strange. Literati used unusual characters in drinking games; and phrases in odd styles of calligraphy were often presented as visual conundrums to be solved at poetry parties.55 Phrases such as the above-described 暖江錦鱗聚 served as visual riddles which, while lacking intellectual depth, were nonetheless entertaining. There were authoritative reference works on such characters, including contemporary character dictionaries such as Unusual Characters in Ancient Prose (Guwen qizi 古文奇字) and Notes on the Explication of Written Characters (Shuowen changjian 說文長箋).56 However, the made-up characters — the tadpole and fish characters — of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias were not based on these authoritative sources, but were created for visual effect to conform to contemporary popular taste. Moreover, unlike the earlier Expansive Record from the Forest of Literati, these late-Ming encyclopedias, in providing only small extracts of many different varieties of seal script, are of no use to a reader who wished to learn calligraphy.57

Indeed, it is apparent that the “Calligraphy” sections of the late-Ming Fujian daily-use encyclopedias were not created specifically for purposes of educating readers about calligraphy. A comparison of the information on calligraphy in several different daily-use encyclopedias confirms this assessment. One entry seems to have been common to almost all these works: that titled the “Yong Character Eight Strokes Method.” This method was a system for the study of calligraphy that taught the eight basic types of strokes that can be used to write most Chinese characters. As all eight of these strokes are contained in the character yong (永), the method was named yongzi bafa, literally “yong character eight stroke method.” The origins of the method are unknown, although scholars over the centuries have attributed it to calligraphers of the Han, Six Dynasties, and Tang periods. 58

The Yuan dynasty daily-use encyclopedia Complete Collection of Essential Household Knowledge incorporates the method into its section on writing characters, retitling it “The Yong Character Eight Strokes Method of the Gods”, recounting a legend that Eastern Han dynasty calligrapher Cai Yong 蔡邕 (133-192) received the eight-stroke method from divine agents while visiting a cave on Mt. Song. An entry entitled “Li Yangbing’s 李陽冰 Calligraphy Tips,” named after a famous Tang-dynasty calligrapher, offers tips on the eight types of strokes.59 The later Household Essentials reproduces this whole section exactly as it appears in Complete Collection of Essential Household Knowledge.60

Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms, the encyclopedia produced for elite literati readers, opens its fascicles on calligraphy with “Yong Character Eight Stokes Method”, and then provides tips on reading and writing cursive, clerical, and seal scripts. It provides so many sample characters — over one thousand — that this section could function as a small-scale character dictionary. Students are told to copy the style of the famous calligrapher Yan Zhenqing 顏真卿 (709-785) when practicing large block script. Yan’s style, characterized by coarse black strokes produced by pressing outward on the brush with the thumb, was customarily recommended as a model in late-Ming instructional manuals; calligrapher Feng Fang’s 豐仿 (1493-1566) Calligraphy Curriculum for Children (Tongxue shucheng 童學書程) states that eight-year-old children learning the basics of calligraphy should copy Yan Zhenqing’s block script from rubbings of several of his most famous stele inscriptions.61 All these inscriptions are listed as models in Assembled Illustrations.62

Some Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, such as Deep Ocean of Myriad Books and Five Carts of Select Marvels, also discuss the “yong character eight stroke method” and even the divinely bestowed eight stroke method of Cai Yong. The contents of their calligraphy sections — in the illustrations to the yong character method and in “Illustrations of Seventy-two Calligraphic Variations” — overlap with those of Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms,63 but differences in the details of their instructions eliminates the possibility of direct copying. The samples of regular script in Deep Ocean of Myriad Books and Five Carts of Select Marvels include approximately forty characters, the most of any encyclopedia of this type, but far fewer than the number of characters in Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms. The characters are written in the style of Yan Zhenqing, as in the latter work, but in Deep Ocean they were accompanied by rhymed instructions printed in the margins (Figure 6).

Figure 6: “Model of Regular Style Calligraphy” from the “Calligraphy” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 6: 453.

Deep Ocean of Myriad Books is the Fujian daily-use encyclopedia with the highest number of illustrations of calligraphic styles; it did provide students with some models of regular script and thus could be used as a reference for beginners. But most other late-Ming Fujian encyclopedias, including only perfunctory illustrations of the eight stroke method — and omitting entirely any explanation of the seventy-two calligraphic styles — were of limited practical use. One does not learn calligraphy by studying ten characters here and there — and these encyclopedias often provided at the most only ten sample characters.64 During this period, dedicated calligraphy manuals provided plentiful models and inscription rubbings to copy; and their prefaces made clear that they were to be purchased for calligraphy study, not entertainment.65 The calligraphy sections of the late-Ming Fujian encyclopedias, in contrast, were designed to provide prompts for conversation for those wishing to appear knowledgeable about calligraphy rather than helpful instruction in the art itself.66

Although they were not useful instructional texts, these encyclopedias did adapt to contemporary trends in calligraphy through their focus on seal script, their adherence to the Yan Zhenqing style as a model, and in their references to the yong character eight stroke method. They also presented basic information on the evaluation of calligraphy in the form of brief appraisals appearing alongside their models. In the social world of the late Ming, it was important not only to be able to write well, but also to be able to evaluate the calligraphy of others intelligently. Social gatherings were frequent, and associations and clubs devoted to the arts were in vogue. Dedicated instructional texts and literacy manuals were directed to the individual reader-student, but in this period the individual was often pressed to study — or to display the fruits of his or her study — in the presence of others. Calligraphy became a means of showing off individual skill in social contexts; such skill (or lack thereof) could determine one’s prestige and position in society. Particularly because the late Ming was a time of shifting identities and ambiguous class distinctions, an individual’s external appearance, social skills, and demonstration of talent — or ability to recognize and appreciate talent — to some extent determined his or her social identity.67 If the instructions on calligraphy in the late-Ming Fujian daily-use encyclopedias were of little practical help to students, they could at least suggest ways in which their intended readers — people with some education, but not enough to place them in the class of the elite — might talk about calligraphy.

The “Painting Manual” sections of the daily life encyclopedias, like those on calligraphy, reflect contemporary artistic trends and the increased social role of painting in the Ming. Dedicated painting manuals, very popular from the mid-Ming on, often presented models for the painting of a wide range of subjects, including plums, bamboo, orchids, chrysanthemums, animals, birds, and people. By the late Ming, these manuals came to focus on landscapes, flowers, and birds (Figures 15, 16), devoting very little attention to either portraiture or architectural painting, both of which required advanced technical proficiency. In this they were reflecting the tastes of the day: late-Ming artists and connoisseurs embraced the styles and aesthetics of Yuan dynasty “literati” (wenren 文人) painters,68 who emphasized interesting ink work, not skilled technique. As a result, literati-style ink landscape paintings prevailed to such an extent that paintings of structurally, compositionally proficient portrait painting and architectural painting were looked down upon. This mainstream view is often seen in contemporary treatises on literati painting and, though challenged by Fujian literati such as Xie Zhaozhe 謝肇淛 (1567-1624), the trend was so prevalent that even the daily-use encyclopedias of the regional Fujian publishers bowed to it.69

Encyclopedias like Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms treated the whole range of subjects popular in the late Ming. It also quotes several painting manuals compiled by Zhou Lüjing 周履靖 (1542-1633) in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, including his guides to the drawing of plums, orchids, and birds.70 In contrast, few Fujian daily-use encyclopedias contain multiple manuals for a range of subjects. Some feature full-scale woodcut illustrations of landscapes, flowers, and birds, while just two illustrations depict livestock; and depictions of human figures and architecture, following the fashion of the day, are few. They usually include instruction only on plums and bamboo, the most common models in all manuals,71 with far fewer model pictures even of these subjects (see Figures 7 and 8).72

Figure 7: “Plum Model” from the “Painting Manual” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 7: 24.

Figure 8: “Bamboo Model from the “Painting Manual” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 7: 32.

The few isolated illustrations of plums and bamboo and the scant rhymed instructions that accompany them in these texts could not serve to cultivate true painters. Even Five Carts of Select Marvels, which contains the greatest number of illustrations of plums, includes no more than thirty-some models; moreover, its low-grade calligraphy make it unsuitable for instruction (Figures 9, 10).73 The models of plums and bamboo in Fujian daily-use encyclopedias — along with the occasional woodcut illustrations of landscapes, flowers, and birds and the almost complete absence of portraits and architectural models — did, however, provide the reader with hints of recent trends in painting, granting the reader some slight sense of participation in the contemporary art world.

Figure 9: “Landscape Painting Model” from the “Painting Manual” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 7: 24.

Figure 10: “Flower and Bird Painting Model” from the “Painting Manual” section of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 7: 24.

In their (limited) value as a source of information about painting — as opposed to instruction about how to paint — the Fujian daily-life encyclopedias bear comparison with another kind of painting manual popular in the late Ming. These were manuals whose purpose was to provide some degree of information about the history of Chinese painting. Examples include Gu’s Painting Manual (Gu Shi huapu 顧氏畫譜) and Tang Poetry Painting Manual (Tang shi huapu 唐詩畫譜). The former, edited by Gu Bing 顧炳, claims to provide pictures of paintings by famous artists; each picture is accompanied by a biography of that artist. The volume includes 106 pictures, including work by Six Dynasties artist Gu Kaizhi 顧愷之 (ca. 344-406), Tang dynasty artist Yan Liben 閻立本 (600-673), and mid-Ming dynasty artists Wen Zhengming 文徵明 (1470-1559) and Lin Liang 林良 (ca. 1424-1500). Even the work of contemporary artist Dong Qichang 董其昌 (1555-1636) is exhaustively treated (See Figures 11 and 12). The biographies following the pictures are attributed to contemporary celebrities like Qi Chenghan 祁承㸁 (1565-1628), to whom is credited the biography of the even greater celebrity Dong Qichang74I will address later on the problems associated with the accuracy of the representations of artistic styles in this work; here the point is that the publication of books such as this in the late Ming shows that there was a demand for information about painting as well as a need for actual paintings to appreciate and enjoy. For those who could not afford scroll paintings, as well as those with the means to purchase them but not the knowledge to appreciate them, Gu’s Painting Manual offered help: a handy digest of high-class cultural products.75 Thanks to his pictures, which claimed to represent the work of such artistic greats as Gu Kaizhi and Dong Qichang, elite lifestyles seemed to be within reach.

Figure 11: “Model of Eagles by Lin Liang” in Gu’s Painting Manual. Peking University Library Collection.

Figure 12: “Model of Painting by Dong Qichang” in Gu’s Painting Manual. Peking University Library Collection.

The Tang Poetry Painting Manual, by visually interpreting famous lines of poetry, attempts to achieve the ultimate embodiment of the “unity of painting and poetry” celebrated in theories of painting by artists and scholars throughout the ages. Tang poetry was popular in the late-Ming dynasty, and lines with clear narrative qualities and distinct imagery were chosen for inclusion in painting manuals.76 In this particular work, the figures in the paintings are clearly posed so as to illustrate the plot details of the poems, while the landscape portions emphasize a range of brush techniques of famous painters, including Ma Yuan’s 馬遠 (1160-1225) “ax hacking strokes,” the Mi 米-family’s “raindrop strokes” (Figure 13), and Wang Meng’s 王蒙 (ca. 1308-1385) “ox hair strokes” (Figure 14), as well as skillful use of ink and water.77

Figure 13: “Landscape in the Style of the Mi Family” from Huang Fengchi, Tang Poetry Painting Manual, in Zhongguo gudai banshu congkan er bian, 265, held by the Shanghai Library, Peking University Library, and East China Normal University Library.

Figure 14: “Landscape in the Style of Wang Meng” from Huang Fengchi, Tang Poetry Painting Manual, in Zhongguo gudai banshu congkan er bian, 265, held by the Shanghai Library, Peking University Library, and East China Normal University Library.

It was no simple matter for woodblock illustrations to depict each stroke and ink blot of paintings, and that this painting manual nonetheless made the attempt indicates the degree to which the fashion in late-Ming painting circles was to value ink work above all else. The Tang Poetry Painting Manual conformed to prevailing tendencies in both poetry and painting, attempting to imbue the text with an elite cultural ambiance not normally accessible to its readers, as well as to provide paintings for them to appreciate and enjoy.

Fujian daily-use encyclopedias also follow these trends, as is evident in their inclusion of painting manuals alone. There is a high degree of overlap among the paintings depicted in different editions; and the paintings selected are quite similar across the encyclopedias.78 In terms of quality, the woodblock prints in the encyclopedias are far more modest than those in the two above-mentioned painting manuals; they do not even come close to capturing mainstream painting styles. Only two of the illustrations of brush technique bear any resemblance to real paintings, a Mi family-style ink dot landscape (Figure 15) — the ink dot style was relatively easy to represent — and a picture of flowers, birds, and branches. In spite of their crudeness, such illustrations were selected for inclusion in daily-use encyclopedias because it was necessary for the works to keep up with contemporary trends in order to attract readers.79

Previously, scholars have emphasized the practical nature and instructional functions of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. It is possible that certain sections may have helped readers resolve practical problems or learn basic skills but, based on the above discussion, it is apparent that these works were ultimately concerned with topicality and popularity; their functions differed from those of other types and editions of daily-use encyclopedias, either those intended for the rural gentry or those designed for sophisticated literati and scholars. From this discussion of the painting and calligraphy sections in particular, it should be clear that Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, in choosing to present up-to-date information on social trends, greatly limited their potential as guides to practical action or to the education of children. The lifestyles promoted in the encyclopedias did not center on the everyday pursuit of basic necessities or household management, as has been surmised but were, rather, preoccupied with social performance — the techniques of successful social interaction and the ability to know what was fashionable and topical “now.” A “profligate entertainment culture” (zidi wenhua 子弟文化80), closely bound to urban culture, and both pushing against the bounds of orthodoxy and chafing at the limits imposed by conventional norms and rules, had already become mainstream in the late Ming. If this had not been the case, the Fujian booksellers, motivated by profit and thus sensitive to current trends, would not have all produced such similar publications, all designed to appeal to an entertainment culture. Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming existed within an enormous, dense network of human relations; and they engage with worldly life and social spectacle, not with scholarly pursuits or the practical daily life concerns of the gentry.

Information on the Arts, Social Divisions, and Alternative Social Spaces: The “Calligraphy” and “Painting Manual” Sections of the Fujian Daily-use Encyclopedias

In their reflection of contemporary lifestyle concerns, the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias are manifestations of social trends and common tendencies cutting across the division between the middle and upper classes in late-Ming China. The illiterate population and those scraping for basic survival needs obviously lacked the power to pursue these trends, but all those who were literate and capable of consuming books could hope to participate in them thanks to the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias which purported to play the role of socioeconomic equalizer. But books of this type not only manifested sociocultural commonalities, but also social class divisions: when all people who are capable of doing so immerse themselves in prevailing trends, the positions of different classes become even clearer, especially when it comes to possession of cultural capital such as knowledge of painting and calligraphy. Those with the ability to appreciate mainstream artistic ideas could obtain cultural capital by investing large sums of money, in addition to relying upon their family background and education. But functionally literate people who lacked significant amounts of capital had difficulty finding an entry point to the enjoyment of and participation in mainstream culture. The Fujian daily-use encyclopedias stepped in to help them.

We have already seen, in the previous section, that the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias sought to keep up with contemporary trends and conform to mainstream social expectations. Yet, in terms of the formation and circulation of knowledge, the contents of these books not only reflect contemporary social trends, but also prescribe cultural knowledge — that is, they take part in the creation of late-Ming society and culture. The encyclopedias played an active role in constructing culture through the information they conveyed. When we compare and contrast the information on painting and calligraphy in these books with those of other publications, it becomes clear that the information differs significantly — and is even at times conflicting — across publications. It seems that different types of information about the arts circulated among different groups of people. In these different types of information we glimpse the vague outlines of different social spaces which, while not rigidly demarcated, nonetheless have discernible contours. The definition of these different social spaces is the focus of this section.

In the late Ming, information on the arts circulated and artistic discourse took shape through two channels. The social clubs that were in vogue among literati are the first; through these personal networks, discourse related to the arts was formed through either consensus or debate. The commercialization of knowledge, a process closely bound up with publishing culture, is the second channel. Presumably, these two channels interacted, overlapped, and interlocked extensively, so that they are difficult to separate; they jointly formed a shared marketplace of artistic ideas in the late Ming.81 Two examples illustrate how these channels might interact. Dong Qichang originally expressed his ideas about painting and calligraphy in the form of brief annotations on painting and calligraphy scrolls written at gatherings of friends and circulated through literary circles by means of oral discussion. Dong then later wrote and published (twice in his lifetime) On Painting (Hua zhi 畫旨), which commercialized his artistic knowledge by giving readers — for a price — the information they needed to express opinions on painting at social gatherings.82 Popular in the late Ming, too, were works on lifestyle aesthetics and taste like Treatise on Superfluous Things and Eight Treatises on the Nurturing of Life, which purported to reveal to the public the various articles and ornaments that marked the material lives of literati — and to offer lifestyle guidance to readers.83 Judging by Shen Chunze’s 沈春澤 preface to Superfluous Things, the opinions expressed by the book do to some extent reflect the consensus of taste in literati social circles.84

It is difficult to determine the degree to which the compilers of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias relied on the first channel — personal networks and oral transmission — for their information about mainstream culture. The commercialized nature of the information presented in the books is very clear, however. By extracting and rearranging content from other books, such encyclopedias became cultural products providing instruction in the latest trends. Readers could use them to take part in conversations at social gatherings, entertain one another, and surround themselves with an air of urbanity. This was not traditional information on science, statecraft, or scholarly knowledge controlled by the imperial court or officialdom, but common knowledge integrated seamlessly into social life. Commercialized knowledge, gained through the transactions of buying and selling, gradually shaped the social norms of the masses, touched off new trends, and enabled crossover between social classes. At the same time, because different information circulated among different groups, it also shaped unique social spaces that, while remaining distinct, were occasionally in dialogue with one another.

The Treatise on Superfluous Things advertises the elegance and taste of the lifestyles of the literati. To distance themselves from the newly rich, who lacked culture in spite of their affluence, this and other late-Ming publications set forth a distinction between “connoisseurs” (shangjianjia 賞鑒家) and “the curious” (haoshijia 好事家).

According to Superfluous Things, connoisseurs collect, intellectually appreciate, and enjoy works of art, as well as know how to display and arrange them. On the other hand, the curious merely collect works of art, without the education to appreciate them. As a result, in displaying them, they place forgeries side by side with genuine works and new works alongside old.85 But of course once the tastes and aesthetic practices of the literati, championed by such publications as Superfluous Things, were for sale on the marketplace, “the curious” could not be prevented from imitating them, and they became shared trends. Thus, scholars hold that in the late-Ming dynasty, the boundary between the refined (ya 雅) and the common (su 俗) was fluid. Of course, for that very reason, it frequently became necessary to uphold boundaries, and a dialectical opposition developed between refined and common, high and low tastes, each exerting a pull over the other.86

Superfluous Things author Wen Zhenheng forcefully defended the distinction between refined and common out of a concern that the merely curious had overstepped their bounds, blurring traditional identity distinctions and making it impossible to tell real from fake. He expends much effort distinguishing between refined and common because the nouveaux riches, newly prosperous as a result of the economic changes of the late Ming, were capable of obtaining a quality of life originally restricted only to connoisseurs; the two groups now had similar identities on the social pyramid, and it was frequently impossible to differentiate them. Collecting had become the basic activity of both the curious and the connoisseur.

But Wen Zhenheng need not have worried. Even if purchasers of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias had been capable of collecting the inscriptions of the famous artists and the ancient Song and Yuan-dynasty paintings recommended by Superfluous Things, they would have been able to purchase only a few such works — certainly their collections could not have extended to the hundred-odd works Wen Zhenheng knowledgeably sets forth.87 And the information on painting and calligraphy presented in these encyclopedias was so remote from the knowledge shared in literati social circles that, to literati like Wen Zhenheng, it should have posed no threat, nor any need to enforce distinctions.

For it is clear that the information in the previously discussed painting and calligraphy sections of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias departs dramatically from the aesthetic knowledge shared by the literati. When it came to seal script and unusual characters, literati and scholars possessed knowledge drawn from authoritative historical sources and enjoyed distinguishing orthodox from inferior knowledge. Even the information on calligraphy in the daily-use encyclopedias designed for gentry or literati readers was quite solid and precise. The Complete Collection of Essential Household Knowledge cites nearly the entirety of Jiang Kui’s 姜夔 (1155-1221) Calligraphy Manual, Continued (Xu shu pu 續書譜), one of the most famous works in the history of calligraphy.88 Household Essentials cites works on calligraphy by recognized authorities like Li Yangbing, Ouyang Xun 歐陽詢 (557-641), and Jiang Kui.89 Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms concisely traces the artistic lineages through which the works of important calligraphers circulated and spread, making clear the lines of transmission of knowledge from master to disciple. Assembled Illustrations also recommends calligraphic practice models suited to each stage of study from age eight to age fifteen. Numerous scripts are featured, all representing the masterpieces of the past.90

The Fujian daily-use encyclopedias do not begin to supply information of this precision or accuracy. The enjoyment of the readers of the Fujian encyclopedias derived, not from references to authoritative sources, but from the visual impact of the “strange” seal characters pictured in the encyclopedias; they were unconcerned with origins and historical accuracy.

But to a considerable extent it is not the accuracy of the information in the texts that distinguishes the encyclopedias for gentry and literati from the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. It is the difference in the forms the information takes that is most noteworthy. Even if the information in publications such as Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms was inaccurate, the forms in which such information was conveyed were well grounded in traditional sources of traceable provenance. The information is attributed to named, non-fictitious authors; it is complete, clear, of known origin and development, and accords with a Chinese knowledge system that emphasizes historical transmission and artistic genealogies. Although Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms does not present the roughly one hundred calligraphers and calligraphic practice models found in the Treatise on Superfluous Things, its selection is sufficient for readers to show off their knowledge; and all the information presented is backed by evidence. Further, in Assembled Illustrations, information on calligraphy is organized into clear and detailed categories such as small, medium, and large regular script, seal script, and Mongolian script as well as stone and bronze inscriptions, demonstrating that the knowledge system of the text is mature and complete. This is not the case in the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, which invariably cite ancient calligraphers and theories of calligraphy without explaining either clearly; and they consistently fail to specify particular calligraphic practice models and inscriptions, leaving readers unable to understand a tradition of calligraphy which by the late Ming was already fully systematized and meticulously defined.

The differences in quality and presentation of information and their relationship to social distinctions seen in the “Calligraphy” sections become still clearer in “Painting Manual” sections. After all, one had to be literate to learn calligraphy, and even though hierarchical distinctions in understanding and appreciation existed, calligraphy was ultimately an asset shared only by the literate classes. On the other hand, literacy is not required to understand painting, though class distinctions remain apparent in matters of artistic taste and cultural consumption.

A hierarchy of sorts can be established for works that reproduced paintings in the late Ming. At the very top would stand the albums of miniaturized versions of famous ancient paintings copied by famous late-Ming painters. Such albums, which “manifested the large within the small” (“xiao zhong xian da” 小中現大) were painted by artists of the standing of Dong Qichang and Wang Jian 王鑑 (1598-1677), and replicate original paintings by the likes of Song dynasty painter Fan Kuan 范寬 and Yuan dynasty painter Wang Meng in the collections of the artists themselves. They are not painting manuals, but rather works that display the artistic skill and — perhaps more importantly — the aesthetic discernment of their collector-artists.91

In contrast, the above-mentioned Gu’s Painting Manual was, as its title indicates, a painting manual designed to educate the reader about the great works and artists of China, past and present. Its author, Gu Bing, was himself a professional painter, a native of Hangzhou associated with the Zhe 浙 school of painting,92 a group of conservative academic painters dismissed by the fashionable literati artists of the day. Gu had also at one time served as a painter at the imperial court in Beijing. The preface of his manual emphasizes his painstaking efforts to collect the famous paintings pictured in the work, all of which, he implies, are based on actual paintings. In fact, researchers have shown that only a handful of the hundred-odd paintings in the manual can be cross-referenced with extant pieces — and most of these are inaccurate attributions. For instance, the painting Noble Horse (Junma 駿馬) by Tang dynasty artist Han Gan 韓幹 (ca. 706-783) is obviously derived from a work by Ming dynasty court painter Hu Cong 胡聰 in which Han Gan had no hand.93 Many works affect a style similar to that of the attributed artist, often an artist of the Zhe school or a court painter. The collection closely reflects the painting styles Gu Bing had mastered — and perhaps the fact that in the Hangzhou region it was easy to obtain paintings of the Zhe school. Given Gu’s social identity and place of origin, it is perhaps not surprising that his knowledge of contemporary mainstream literati painters of the Songjiang and Wu regions94 and of literati painting styles was spotty. In a piece attributed to Wen Zhengming, the human figures are much larger than the background landscape; but Wen was not known as a painter of human figures, and in his extant paintings, human figures are crudely depicted, distant and few. And the work Gu attributes to Dong Qichang could not be his, as both the composition and the brush technique are absolutely unlike Dong’s — there is no indication that he had a hand in the work (Figure 18). Not only are Gu Bing’s attributions of Ming literati paintings erroneous, his statements about earlier Jin (266-420) and Tang dynasty painting styles are also inaccurate.

It is clear that Gu’s Painting Manual, unlike the albums produced by literati painters like Dong Qichang and Wang Jian, did not copy actual ancient works in contemporary collections. The pieces in Gu’s Painting Manual are not signed, nor do they display any collectors’ seals. The sizes of the paintings have been standardized; there are none with unusual dimensions. Gu Bing’s claims notwithstanding, these are not reproductions of specific works, but attempts to represent the general styles of different artists. Gu’s Painting Manual tells us nothing about the collection or appreciation of actual works of art in the Ming dynasty. But it does tell us a great deal about the popular contemporary understanding of the history of painting and artistic styles.95

In that it has no connection with the collection or appreciation of actual artwork, Gu’s Painting Manual clearly stands apart from the aesthetic debates and tastes of elite literati of the late Ming and belongs to a social realm distinct from that of the Treatise on Superfluous Things. As mentioned, at that time, discourse on painting and calligraphy mainly took the form of short comments on scrolls and was thus necessarily tied to the collection (or at least the ability to gain access to a collection) of painting and calligraphy scrolls. Mainstream discourse on art was sustained within the social communities and spheres of activity of literati who gathered to view paintings and calligraphy. Those who lacked the ability to collect art could not partake of this life of refinement and taste; and those who could not participate in discussions about the identification of painters, calligraphers, and their works were excluded from this discourse.

Yet Gu’s Painting Manual nonetheless played a role in constructing ideas about the history of painting. Even though it is full of false attributions and inaccuracies, the form in which the information is presented has a basis in orthodox painting history. The practice of writing biographies of artists originated in the fourth century, so Gu Bing was adhering to at least one tradition in Chinese painting history. He cites biographies drawn primarily from two established sources, Precious Mirror of Illustration (Tuhui baojian 圖繪寶鑑, 1365 preface) by Yuan dynasty author Xia Wenyan 夏文彥 and Precious Mirror of Illustration, Continued (Tuhui baojian xubian 圖會寶鑑續編, 1519 preface) by author Han Ang 韓昂 of the mid-Ming dynasty. And in his biographies he is attentive to artistic lineages, noting (albeit not always correctly) the master-student relationships that conventionally defined these lineages. 96 He thus provides readers ignorant of the history of painting and painting styles with a way of thinking — and talking — about painting that conforms to the conventional, mainstream approaches to those topics.

A similar point can be made about the Tang Poetry Painting Manual. This work is not a reliable guide to Chinese painting, as it exaggerates the unique qualities of brush and ink to an excessive degree. Yet, as Tang poetry provided the subject matter for paintings that were both in demand on the market and valued for their artistic worth in late-Ming Suzhou,97 this manual, both in its emphasis on brush and ink and its incorporation of poetic subject matter, served as a site of negotiation between mainstream painting circles and painting history. In an age when block printing flourished, the label “reproduction” was no black mark, and these two types of painting manuals provided people who could not afford paintings or works of calligraphy the chance to acquaint themselves with the ideas of the mainstream art world and get some sense of the finer things in life.

In contrast, the sections on painting in the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias have little to do with mainstream painting history. While the images in Gu’s Painting Manual are not accurate depictions of actual paintings and works of calligraphy, they are at least rectangular — roughly the correct shape. But the miniature paintings in the painting manuals of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias like Deep Ocean of Myriad Books tend to be square, bearing even less resemblance to hand or hanging scrolls. The compositions within these squares depart still further from those of real paintings and works of calligraphy; they employ different compositional principles and bear a greater resemblance to the decorative paintings on stoneware and porcelain, with uniformly distributed imagery and little of the variation in spacing and shading characteristic of paintings (see Figure 15). The images in the dedicated painting albums or manuals are called “reproductions” because they are intended to be like — and successful in capturing some of the flavor of — an original work. The manuals by Dong Qichang and other painters that “manifest the large within the small” come closest to achieving these goals. Gu’s Painting Manual takes second place. The painting manuals in the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias depart so dramatically from actual paintings that they are best thought of as a distinct category of visual product. They are absolutely unrelated to the works collected and enjoyed by literati and belong to a very different social space.

Figure 15: “Painting Manual Model” from the “Painting Manual Section” of Deep Ocean of Myriad Books, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 7: 23.

The “Painting Manual” sections of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, in addition to attempting to reproduce paintings, also include much information on the appreciation of paintings and their history. Much of this information is simply copied from other texts. As previously stated, nine entries, including “Tips for Recognizing Paintings,” “Tips for Viewing Paintings,” and “Painting Criticism by Fu Xiying” were most likely copied from Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs; additionally, the “Tips for Depicting Landscapes” entry is drawn from the work of the same name by Yuan dynasty literati painter Huang Gongwang 黃公望 (1269-1354). Today, it may be tempting to dismiss such copying as a form of plagiarism that diminishes the value of the encyclopedias as historical sources, but copying from other texts was quite a common — we might say even a conventional — practice in pre-modern China. More to the point, copying from other works does not render a source useless, as Roger Chartier has pointed out. 98 Copied texts can reveal information about textual circulation, as a text that appears again and again through repeated rounds of copying most likely penetrates a wider range of social spaces, either through reading or oral transmission. And copying might open opportunities for new meanings: when a text appears in different publications, its context and layout differ, as do the environments within which it is read and circulated; and its effect and meaning change accordingly. Even though Fujian daily-use encyclopedias reproduce content from other books, these reproductions possess a meaning and have an impact that cannot be equated with those of the original works.

In these encyclopedias, information on the appreciation of painting generally takes the form of rhymed instructions in lines of equal length that set forth simple, brief explanations of specific points. “Tips for Recognizing Paintings” begins by enumerating six requirements (e.g., “style coupled with strength,” “mature structure,” “lustrous color”) and six strong points. These six requirements and six strong points first appear in the preface to Liu Daochun’s 劉道醇 Criticism of Famous Paintings of This Sage Dynasty (Sheng chao ming hua ping 聖朝名畫評), an eleventh-century work that sets forth a thorough process for recognizing and appreciating paintings.99 In the late Ming, the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias extract and truncate portions of the original text in a way that distorts and radically over-simplifies its meaning, presenting it in the form of simple, easily memorized rhymed verses identified by number. The most influential criteria for the evaluation of Chinese painting, Xie He’s 謝赫 “Six Principles of Chinese Painting,” receive no better treatment: the six principles are removed from Xie’s famous sixth-century work, Classification of Ancient Paintings (Guhua pinlu 古畫品錄), 100 and presented, like Liu Daochun’s requirements, in six rhyming lines of four characters each. Moreover, the title of Xie He’s famous formulation is frequently inaccurately reproduced as “Paintings Have Six Patterns.”101 To return to the earlier point about the significance of copying, these “miscopyings” and distortions of important standards of art appreciation clearly did make a difference. How else are we to explain Gao Lian’s critique of the six laws, six requirements, and six strengths in his Eight Treatises on Nurturing Life? “To discuss paintings on this basis is to degrade them,” he writes. Gao Lian, born in Hangzhou to a wealthy family, gained renown for his art collection and was recognized as a person of cultural refinement.102 Clearly the target of his derision was not the original — and firmly orthodox — six laws and six requirements of Xie He and Liu Daochun, but the mutilated version of them published in the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias.

The entries “Tips for Viewing Paintings” and “Essentials of Recognizing Paintings” in the Fujian encyclopedias are also excerpted from different parts of the preface to Criticism of Paintings of This Sage Dynasty. They present very general principles for appreciation: “When viewing an inferior work, do not speak ill of it, but seek its strengths; when viewing a superior work, do not praise it, but seek its flaws.” Somewhat more specifically, they make short statements about how to appreciate paintings of different subjects, mentioning, for example, the majesty and merciful air of Buddhist and Daoist paintings and the beauty and leisurely quality of paintings of flowers and bamboo. The entry “Painting Criticism by Fu Xiying” opines that “there should be no slopes on distant mountains, no waves on distant water, and no eyes on distant birds,” but that “the scales of fish should be brightly colored” and “the scales of dragons should flash like coins.” These simple rules for the most part address the physical appearance of the paintings’ subjects, enabling readers to distinguish them visually. There is no need here for the reader to know anything of art history — that is, to be able to recognize iconology or the transmission of styles between painters. Indeed, there are no references to specific painters or paintings here.

Moreover, the “Painting Manual” sections of the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias are riddled with errors. They refer to the “Six Patterns” rather than the “Six Laws,” revealing a lack of familiarity with an essential set of principles of Chinese painting discourse. The “Famous Paintings of the Past and Present” entry misprints the name of the Tang dynasty painter Li Zhaodao 李詔道 (675-758).103 Yet the work that the encyclopedias were copying, the Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs, makes no such mistakes, either about the “Six Laws” or Li Zhaodao. Other errors include a number of mistaken characters in citations from Huang Gongwang’s “Tips for Depicting Landscapes.” For instance, the phrase “the cunfa 皴法 technique of depicting textures involves letting the ink seep, forming wrinkles” has a mistaken character, making the sentence unintelligible.104 The most startling error is the writing of the personal name of Gu Kaizhi as “Kai,” omitting the final character. Gu is one of the most famous painters in Chinese history (and the first painter listed in Gu’s Painting Manual), and his position as such was firmly established as early as the Tang dynasty.105 Missing characters and missing sentences further complicate efforts to follow the text in full. Indifferent to quality, the Fujian publishers pursued profits through low production costs, high print runs, and speed, and the result was naturally error-ridden texts. The errors listed above were not technically difficult to correct, but the Fujian publishers never corrected them, revealing that they were unconcerned with petty matters such as accuracy and conformity to orthodox painting history — and, more to the point, that there was a social space for such erroneous information to exist.

But there is one interesting way in which the Fujian encyclopedias were in a sense participating in the construction of Chinese art history. Most of the eighteen painters of the past and present featured in the “Famous Paintings of Past and Present” entry in the late-Ming encyclopedias are drawn from the entry of the same name in the Expansive Record from the Forest of Literati. The sole exception is Chen Zihe 陳子和, whose name is newly added; he is identified as a painter of celestial beings. The inclusion of Ming dynasty painter Chen Zihe among mostly Jin and Tang dynasty painters is unusual in itself, and it is still more curious that Chen Zihe is the only contemporary painter selected for inclusion. Chen Zihe, from Pucheng, Fujian, was active in the early and mid-sixteenth century. Classified as a professional painter of the Zhe school, his works include The Air of an Immortal (Shuyou xianqi 殊有仙氣).106 He was indeed known for his depictions of immortals, but literati from the lower Yangzi delta region had, as early as the mid-sixteenth century, dismissed him as unworthy of attention for practicing “a misguided, disgraceful approach” to painting. His name was included in a list of Zhe school painters whose works were not to be studied or viewed.107 Why then does he appear, alone among all Ming painters, in these encyclopedias? Geography appears to be the reason: Pucheng, his birthplace, is located in the northwestern mountainous region of Fujian, near Jianyang, the major site of Fujian publishing in the late Ming. The inclusion of Chen Zihe among the towering greats of Chinese painting history demonstrates that, despite the commercial connections and textual exchanges between Jianyang and Jiangnan publishers and the integration of the southeast China book market, Fujian publishers did not always follow the lead of Jiangnan, despite its leading cultural position in the Ming empire. The daily-use encyclopedias from Jianyang maintained a unique regional flavor.

As we have seen, however misguided Gu Bing’s efforts to reproduce famous paintings were, he was working within the bounds of orthodox painting history when he selected the painters to represent in Gu’s Painting Manual. But the painting-related contents of the late-Ming Fujian daily-use encyclopedias lie outside orthodox painting historical discourse; neither the form nor the content of the information they presented would have been accepted by figures like Dong Qichang and Gao Lian, major participants and directors of mainstream artistic discourse. Yet the close relationship between the publishing industries of Jianyang and Jiangnan refutes the notion that the Fujian publishers were unfamiliar with mainstream knowledge of and the discourse on painting history current in Jiangnan. We are led to assume, then, that, in their encyclopedias, these men — shrewd judges of the book market — were carving out a social space distinct from that of mainstream painting and calligraphy discourse. While their readers were aware of contemporary trends, their ignorance or imperfect knowledge of cultural touchstones in painting and calligraphy set them apart from the elite class, at the same time that their new purchasing power made them an attractive target audience for works that promised to give them at least a glimpse of what they were missing.

Conclusion: Cultural Products and Social Spaces

Large numbers of cultural products irrelevant to the necessities of life were in vogue in late-Ming society; commercial publications are just one example. The aspect of these cultural products that proves most difficult to research is not their production, but their consumption. This is especially true in the case of crude, inexpensive publications like the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias, because contemporary documents do not contain sales figures or data on regional distribution and because there are no records of readers’ feedback. Hence researchers struggle to gauge the extent of their circulation and social impact. However, as with any product, the thing itself provides clues to its own consumption. Publishers, in the early stages of production, had to plan how to market their works by estimating market demand and targeting potential consumers. This planning was then clearly displayed in a book’s precise content and form of compilation — that is, in the publishing strategies designed to attract readers to the work. As soon as a book appears on the market, it faces competitors, and publishers could also use their assessment of this competition to further shape their products for the most desirable audience — that is, the audience likeliest to yield the greatest profit. Therefore, gathering examples of the same genre of text and analyzing their contents and form and identifying their similarities and differences is an important way of determining their purchasers and their circulation. As books become cultural products upon entering the marketplace, and people purchased and read them, they generated social practices and reading behaviors that provide us with a means to survey social spaces.

This project is similar to that of Pierre Bourdieu’s well-known Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, which attempts to explore and delineate social spaces through the forms taken by cultural products. Using a questionnaire to survey the cultural consumption of people of various classes and professions, Bourdieu selects cultural products such as music and paintings as they are divided into distinct classical and contemporary or elite and popular forms and uses these distinctions to gauge different consumer groups and social spaces.

There are no questionnaires to aid in research on the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late-Ming dynasty or in the analysis of the relationship between people of different classes and consumption of cultural products. However, the duplication of content and layout among the encyclopedias and their uniform level of quality make it possible to carry out cluster analysis. A detailed investigation of the content and form of many of these encyclopedias leads to the finding that they bear some resemblance to Expansive Record of the Forest of Affairs, in that they were published in Fujian and often reproduce portions of the Expansive Record. But ultimately the late-Ming texts distort the original meaning of the Expansive Record. They define both knowledge and lifestyle differently; and they sold on the market for different prices and to different consumers. The daily-use encyclopedias with “domestic” (jujia 居家, also “familial”) in the title were aimed at a landed gentry readership and emphasize the administration of household enterprises and children’s education. On the other hand, the exquisitely printed Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms was, in the information it purveyed, oriented toward the literati and scholarly class and its traditions. Both these types of daily-use encyclopedias — the domestic and the scholarly — are dramatically different from the Fujian daily-use encyclopedias. The former two types are grounded in traditional Chinese ideas and their associated lifestyles — and it is precisely for that reason that Fujian publishers with sharp business minds were able to seize on a gap in the book market and produce a new type of daily-use encyclopedia suited to contemporary sociocultural and lifestyle demands.

Indeed, Fujian daily-use encyclopedias appeared for reasons closely related to new social and cultural trends of the late Ming, most particularly to the rise of cities as centers of cultural transmission and sites of social interaction and the marketplace of ideas. The thirty-some extant Fujian daily-use encyclopedias appeared at just the right time to engage in dialogue with these new phenomena, meeting a demand among the lower-level literates with a bit of extra pocket money to appear knowledgeable about and perhaps even to participate in the latest social trends. But these works also enhanced and perpetuated the new cultural phenomena, discovering and creating an alternative social space — as we saw in the departure from mainstream discourse in the painting and calligraphy sections of the works. This social space is distinct from that of the society and culture of the highest elite classes that have been the main focus of previous scholarship. In other words, the social space of that portion of the population that could read and had the ability to consume cultural products remained divided. Despite the fact that this space was traditionally seen as homogeneous, it is now apparent that it was marked by clear social divisions, particularly with regard to arts and culture.

Can it be said, then, that the social space specific to Fujian daily-use encyclopedias is part of “popular culture?” According to Roger Chartier, scholars today use the term “popular culture” —incorrectly — to refer to the intellectual class, failing to take into account the culture of the illiterate population. Chartier further points out two contradictory views taken by previous studies of German popular culture, both in fact informed by similar assumptions: first, popular culture is seen as independent, that is, entirely divorced from high culture, and simultaneously, it is believed that high culture controls culture and society in general — that is, that the masses accept its enlightened teachings and passively receive mainstream culture. Both assumptions take the view that popular culture is monolithic, standing in diametric opposition to high culture, that certain things are intrinsically a part of “popular culture,” and that “popular culture” as researchers conceive it reflects an accurate understanding of popular culture.108 There are also cases in which studies of late-Ming culture make these two assumptions. For instance, when discussing morality books,109 precious scrolls,110 and daily-use encyclopedias, some scholars tend to see such texts as part of popular culture, even to believe that they reflect the lives of the common people, as if “popular culture” were a single unified concept, and as if there were no need to compare them in order to identify competition and coordination among these publications. But other scholars assume that texts like morality books are subject to a significant influence by upper-class culture and that they represent the diffusion and popularization of orthodox Confucian thought — that is, that Confucian education plays a guiding role, and morality books and daily-use encyclopedias are the products of its popularization.

Rather than assuming as a matter of course that Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming are part of “popular culture,” we should study them in detail to determine their readership and the nature of the information they present. These publications targeted people who were literate, able to consume cultural products, and had the leisure and ability to know of the latest trends in social life —although their ability to participate in these trends was limited. They may not have been upper-class, highly educated people, but they interacted to some extent with upper-class culture; the two populations occupied distinct social spaces that overlapped in complex ways. The market competition between Fujian daily-use encyclopedias and other types of encyclopedias hints, too, at the existence of different groups of consumers occupying different social spaces, just as the ways in which these works distorted the original meaning of the works they copied alert us to the existence of distinct classes of information. The results of this detailed research could not have been obtained through an approach assuming a diametric opposition between “popular culture” and “high culture.”

  1. This paper is the product of research conducted under a subprogram of the themed program “Ming and Qing societies and lifestyles” of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica. Thank you to the general director of the program and the participating scholars for their three years of continued effort. A draft of this paper was presented at the international academic conference “Lifestyles, ideas, and Chinese modernity” hosted by the Institute of Modern History (November 2002). Thank you to the scholars in attendance, especially Professor Hsiung Ping-chen, for their valuable feedback. Thanks are due as well to Professors Cynthia Brokaw, Dorothy Ko, Bai Qianshen, and Shang Wei, and to my two classmates Ma Meng-ching and Chen Dexin. They have contributed greatly to the completeness of this paper, and I wish here to extend thanks to them all.
  2. For a comparison of Shilin guangji editions and their content, see Hu Daojing 胡道靜, “1963 nian Zhonghua Shuju yingyinben qianyan” 1963 年中華書局影印本前言, in Chen Yuanjing 陳元靚, Shilin guangji 事林廣記 (1340 edition by the Zheng family’s Jichengtang publishing house) (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1999), 559-565; Morita Kenji 森田憲司, “Guanyu zai Riben de Shilin guangji zhu ben” 關於在日本的《事林廣記》諸本, in Shilin guangji, 566-572. For more on Morita’s views, see “Shilin guangji no shohanbon ni tsuite: Kokunai shozō no shohon o chūshin ni” 「事林広記」の諸版本について——国内所蔵の諸本を中心に, in Sōdai no chishikijin: Shisō, seido, chiiki shakai 宋代の知識人——思想・制度・地域社金 (Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 1993), 287-317; see also Wu Huey-fang [Wu Huifang] 吳蔥芳, “Minjian riyong leishu de yuanyuan yu fazhan” 民間日用類書的淵源與發展, Guoli Zhengzhi Daxue lishi xuebao 國立政治大學歷史學報 18 (2001): 7-10.
  3. In addition to the studies by Hu Daojing and Morita Kenji cited in the previous footnote, the woodblock editions of the Zhan family’s Jindejingshe 進德精舍 publishing house and the Xiyuanjingshe 西園精舍 publishing house held by the Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica were also issued by commercial booksellers in the Jianyang, Fujian region. Regarding Jindejingshe, see Xie Shuishun 謝水順 and Li Ting 李珽, Fujian gudai keshu 福建古代刻書 (Fuzhou: Fujian People’s Publishing House, 1997), 317. Xiyuanjingshe may have been owned by the Yu family, the great publishing family of Jianyang; see Du Xinfu 杜信孚, ed., Mingdai banke zonglu 明代版刻綜錄 (Yangzhou: Jiangsu Guangling Guji Chubanshe, 1983), 2: 8; Lucille Chia, Printing for Profit: The Commercial Publishers of Jianyang, Fujian (11th-17th centuries) (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Asia Center for Harvard-Yenching Institute, 2002), 231. Both booksellers were active in the early and mid-Ming dynasty.
  4. See the previously cited papers by Hu Daojing and Morita Kenji as well as Chia, Printing for profit, 360, note 110.
  5. See Morita, “Guanyu zai Riben de Shilin guangji zhu ben,” 571. Regarding publications by the Yu family’s Jingxiantang publishing house, see Du, Mingdai banke zonglu, 6: 38. The Yu family was an important family of commercial booksellers in the Fujian region from the Song dynasty to the Ming.
  6. See Ashida Kōshō 蘆田孝昭, “Mindai kanpon ni okeru binpon no ichi” 明代刊本における閩本の位置, Tianli Tushuguanbao Biblia 天理圖書館報Biblia 95 (Nov. 1990): 91-93; Chia, Printing for Profit, 39-42, 52-62.
  7. This point and the discussion that follows are based on the Xiyuanjingshe woodblock edition held by the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.
  8. This format was employed by Fujian publishers particularly in illustrated editions of popular pinghua 平話 tales (“plain talks,” from their origins in oral literature), from the Song dynasty onward. Chia, Printing for Profit, 40-42, 193-220.
  9. On the late-Ming daily-use encyclopedias referred to here and below, in addition to the previously cited editions, see Xu Huiying 徐會瀛, ed., Xinqie Yantai jiaozheng tianxia tongxing wenlin jubao wanjuan xingluo 新鍥燕臺校正天下通行文林聚寶萬卷星羅 (serial woodblock edition of 1600), in Beijing Tushuguan guji zhenben congkan 北京圖書館古籍珍本叢刊 (Beijing: Shumu Wenxian Chubanshe, 1998), 76: 113-405, which consists of the previously cited edition held by the National Library of China in Beijing; the 1610 Xinke quanbu shimin beilan bianyong wenlin huijin wanshu yuanhai 新刻全部士民備覽便用文林彙錦萬書淵海 (abbreviated hereafter as Wanshu yuanhai) held by the National Library of China in Beijing; and the 1614 serial edition Xinke souluo wuche hebing wanbao quanshu 新刻搜羅五車合併萬寶全書 (abbreviated hereafter as Wuche wanbao quanshu). The latter two are included in Sakade Yoshinobu 坂出祥伸 and Ogawa Yōichi 小川陽一, eds., Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei 中国日用類書集成 (Tokyo: Kyūko shoten, 1999-2004). Despite some differences in content, the various editions are nonetheless very similar.
  10. On the circulation of images and the importance of visual representation in late-Ming culture, see Craig Clunas, Pictures and visuality in early modern China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 25-76; Ma Meng-ching 馬孟晶, “Er mu zhi wan: Cong Xixiang ji banhua chatu lun wan Ming chuban wenhua dui shijuexing de guanzhu” 耳目之玩:從〈西廂記〉版畫插圖論晚明出版文化對視覺性的關注, Meishushi yanjiu jikan 美術史研究集刊 13 (2002): 202-276.
  11. For a summarized comparison of Fujian daily-use encyclopedias of the late Ming and Shilin guangji, see Wu, “Minjian riyong leishu de yuanyuan yu fazhan,” 13-14.
  12. On late-Ming qinglou culture, see Wang Hung-tai 王鴻泰, “Liudong yu hudong: You Ming Qing jian chengshi shenghuo de texing tance gongzhong changyu de zhankai” 流動與互動——由明清間城市生活的特性探測公眾場域的展開 (Master’s thesis, National Taiwan University Graduate School of History, Taipei, Nov. 1998), 246-291; Wang Hung-tai 王鴻泰, “Qinglou: Zhongguo wenhua de houhuayuan” 青樓——中國文化的後花園, Dangdai 當代 137 (Jan. 1999): 16-29.
  13. See “Chuban shuoming” 出版說明, Jujia biyong shilei 居家必用事類 (1560 woodblock edition with preface by Tian Rucheng; Kyoto: Zhongwen Chubanshe, 1984), no page numbers; Wu, “Minjian riyong leishu de yuanyuan yu fazhan,” 9-10.
  14. See Zhang Tingyu 張廷玉 et al., eds., Ming shi 明史, 24: 7372. According to Tian Rucheng, this edition was published by Hong Zimei (courtesy name). Hong, personal name Geng, was born in Qiantang into a wealthy family that collected and engraved books. See Du, Mingdai banke zonglu, 3: 23.
  15. See Tian Rucheng 田汝成, “Jujia biyong shilei xu” 居家必用事類敘, Jujia biyong shilei 居家必用事類, 1-2.
  16. According to Wu Huey-fang’s paper “Minjian riyong leishu de yuanyuan yu fazhan,” there is a 1579 serial edition of Jujia biyong shilei quanji, but as this could not be located in Taiwan, I have no choice but to exclude it from this discussion. A comparison of the four available versions shows that their content is identical. See Unknown, Jujia biyong shilei quanji 居家必用事類全集, in Beijing Tushuguan guji zhenben congkan 北京圖書館古籍珍本叢刊 (Ming dynasty woodblock edition; Beijing: Shumu Wenxian Chubanshe, 1988), 61: 1-422; Jujia biyong shilei quanji, in Siku quanshu cunmu congshu: Zibu 四庫全書存目叢書,子部 (Ming dynasty woodblock edition, Tainan County: Zhuangyan Wenhua Shiye Youxian Gongsi, 1995), 117: 28-444; Jujia biyong shilei (1560 edition with preface by Tian Rucheng); Jujia biyong shilei quanji, in Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書 (1568 woodblock edition; Shanghai, Shanghai Guju Chubanshe, 1997), 1184: 309-728. An edition of Jujia biyong shilei quanji excavated from the tomb of a Mr. Shi and his wife in Nanzhuan Village, Taicang, Jiangsu includes the preface by Tian Rucheng. Shi passed away in 1631 after spending his entire life as a reclusive scholar, never taking up an official post. Other books excavated from the tomb include Gujin kao 古今考and Zhanguoce suoyin 戰國策索引; it is clearly the book collection of a country gentleman. This demonstrates the extent of the distribution of the woodblock edition of Jujia biyong shilei quanji with Tian’s preface, and also gives a glimpse of the characteristics of readers. Wu Yuming 吳聿明, “Taicang Nanzhuan Cun Mingmu ji chutu guji” 太倉南轉村明墓及出土古籍, Wenwu 文物 3 (1987): 19-22.
  17. See Song Xu 宋詡, Song Shi jiayao bu, jiayi bu, jiagui bu, yanxian bu 宋氏家要部・家儀部・家規部・燕閒部, in Beijing Tushuguan guji zhenben congkan 北京圖書館古籍珍本叢刊, 61: 3-69.
  18. Qu You, courtesy name Zongji 宗吉, was from Qiantang (modern Hangzhou), and renowned in his time as a poet. Qu does not state that the preface was written specifically for Household Essentials, but it is placed before the main text, demonstrating that the publisher approved of its content.
  19. The ownership of the Xinyuantang is not known. Only one of its other publications is extant, an early seventeenth-century edition of the collected works of the early-Ming intellectual Tang Wenfeng 唐文鳳of She County.
  20. Chia, Printing for profit, 250-253.
  21. For instance, Bianmin tuzuan 便民圖纂, in Zhongguo gudai banhua congkan 中國古代版畫叢刊 (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe, 1985), 887-995.
  22. See Wang Qi 王圻, Wang Siyi 王思義, eds., Sancai tuhui 三才圖會 (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe, 1985), 1: 1-11.
  23. See Sakai Tadao 酒井忠夫, “Mindai no nichiyō ruisho to shomin kyōiku” 明代の日用類書と庶民教育, in Kinsei Chūgoku kyōikushi kenkyū 近世中国教育史研究, ed. Hayashi Tomoharu 林友春 (Tokyo: Kokudosha, 1958), 87-89.
  24. See Isobe Akira 磯部彰, “Minmatsu ni okeru Saiyūki no shutaiteki juyōsō ni kansuru kenkyū: Mindai ‘kotenteki hakuwa shōsetsu’ no dokushasō o meguru mondai ni tsuite” 明末における『西遊記』の主体的受容層に関する研究——明代「古典的白話小説」の読者層をめぐる問題について, Shūkan Tōyōgaku 集刊東洋学 44 (1980): 55; 張秀民 Zhang Xiumin, Zhongguo yinshua shi 中國印刷史 (Shanghai: People’s Publishing House, 1989), 518; Ōki Yasushi 大木康, “Minmatsu Kōnan ni okeru shuppan bunka no kenyū” 明末江南における出版文化の研究, Hiroshima Daigaku Bungakubu kiyō 広島大学文学部紀要 50 (1991): 102-108; Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 35-37; Shen Jin 沈津, “Ming dai fangke tushu zhi liutong yu jiage” 明代坊刻圖書之流通與價格, Guojia Tushuguan guankan 國家圖書館館刊 vol. 85, no. 1 (1996): 101-118; Chia, Printing for profit, 190-192; Inoue Susumu 井上進, Chūgoku shuppan bunkashi: Shomotsu sekai to chi no fūkei 中国出版文化史——書物世界と知の風景 (Nagoya: Nagoya Daigaku Shuppankai, 2002), 262-266.
  25. See Isobe, “Minmatsu ni okeru Saiyūki no shutaiteki juyōsō ni kansuru kenkyū,” 55-56; Shen Jin, “Ming dai fangke tushu zhi liutong yu jiage,” 116-118.
  26. See Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers, 35-37.
  27. Xi Zhousheng 西周生, ed., Huang Suqiu 黃肅秋, annotation, Xingshi yinyuan zhuan 醒世姻緣傳 (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe, 1983), vol. 1, 2. Ogawa Yōichi also cites this passage in his book but takes a different perspective. See Ogawa Yōichi 小川陽一 Nichiyō ruisho ni yoru Shin Min dai shōsetsu no kenkyū 日用類書による清明代小説の研究 (Tokyo: Kenbun Shuppansha, 1995), 43-44. Titles using the phrase “bu qiu ren” [without outside assistance] are found only in daily-use encyclopedias from Fujian. See Wu Huey-fang 吳蕙芳, Wanbao quanshu: Qing Ming shiqi de minjian shenghuo shilu 萬寶全書:明清時期的民問生活實錄 (Taipei: Guoli Zhengzhi Daxue Chubanshe, 2001), 641-658. On dating the setting of the work, see See Xu Fuling 徐復嶺, Xingshi yinyuan zhuan zuozhe he yuyan kaolun 醒世姻緣傅作者和語言考論 (Jinan: Qilu Shushe, 1993), 1-31.
  28. Qianzi wen, Sanzi jing, and Baijia xing are the most common children’s books of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Once familiar with these texts, the reader can recognize a thousand characters. See Evelyn S. Rawski, “Economic and social foundations of late imperial China,” in Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, eds. David Johnson, Andrew J Nathan and Evelyn S. Rawski (Berkeley: University of California oppress, 1985), 29-31.
  29. See Su Dongfa 蕭東發, “Fuyang Yu Shi keshu kaolü (zhong)” 建陽余氏刻書考略(中), Wenxian 文獻 22 (1984): 215; Su Dongfa 蕭東發, “Fuyang Yu Shi keshu kaolü (xia)” 建陽余氏刻書考略(下), Wenxian 文獻 23 (1985): 244-246; Miao Yonghe 繆咏禾, Ming dai chuban shi gao 明代出版史稿 (Nanjing: Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe, 2000), 392; Kin Bunkyō 金文京, “Tang Binyin yu wan Ming shangye chuban” 湯賓尹與晚明商業出版, in Shibian yu weixin: Wan Ming yu wan Qing de wenxue yishu 世變與維新:晚明與晚清的文學藝術, ed. Hu Siao-chen 胡曉真 (Taipei: Zhongyang Yanjiuyuan Zhongguo Wen Zhe Yanjiusuo Choubeichu, 2001), 81-83; Chia, Printing for Profit, 149-150, 250-253.
  30. Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers, 34-41.
  31. Evelyn S. Rawski, Education and Popular Literacy in Ching China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1979), 1-17; David Johnson, “Communication, Class, and Consciousness in Late Imperial China,” in Johnson et al, Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, 38-39, 54-65; James Hayes, “Specialists and Written Materials in the Village World,” 93-111; Grace S. Fong, “Female Hands: Embroidery as a Knowledge Field in Women’s Everyday Life in Late Imperial and Early Republican China” (paper presented at Shenghuo, zhishi yu Zhongguo xiandaixing: Guoji xueshu yantaohui 「生活、知識與中國現代性」國際學術研討會, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 21-23 November, 2002).
  32. Johnson, “Communication, class, and consciousness in late imperial China,” 55-67.
  33. See Sakade Yoshinobu 坂出祥伸, “Kaisetsu: Min dai nichiyō ruisho ni tsuite,” 解説——明代日用類書について, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei 中国日用類書集, vol. 1, Xinqie quanbu tianxia simin liyong bianguan wuche bajin 新鍥全補天下四民利用便觀五車拔錦 (serial woodblock edition of 1597; Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 1999), 7-8. The “four classes of the people” are scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants.
  34. James Cahill, The Painter’s Practice: How Artists and Lived and Worked in Traditional China (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 35-39; Ann Burkus-Chasson, “Elegant or Common? Chen Hongshou’s Birthday Presentation Pictures and His Professional Status,” in Art Bulletin 76:2 (June 1994): 285-298.
  35. See Xu, Wanjuan xingluo, j. 19: 12; Wuche bajin 五車拔錦, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 2: 36-37.
  36. There are a number of studies concerning portraits of ancestors, for example Jan Stuart, “Introduction,” in Worshipping the ancestors: Chinese commemorative portraits, ed. Jan Stuart and Evelyn S. Rawski (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 2001), 15-116. For a different sort of study of portraits, see Li Guoan 李國安, “Ming wei xiaoxianghua zhizuo de liangge shehui tezheng” 明末肖像章製作的兩個社會特徵, Yishuxue 藝術學 6 (1991): 119-156; Cheng-hua Wang, “Material culture and emperorship: The shaping of imperial roles at the court of Xuanzong (r. 1426-1435)” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1998), j. 4; Yu Hui 余輝, “Shiqi, shiba shiji de shimin xiaoxianghua” 十七、十八世紀的市民肖像畫, Gugong Bowuyuan yuankan 故宮博物院院刊 3 (2001): 38-41.
  37. Wang Yi 王繹, Xiexiang mijue 寫像祕訣, in Hualun congkan 畫論叢刊, ed. An Lan 安瀾 (Beijing: Renmin Meishu Chubanshe, 1960), 852-855. The history of portraiture can be traced back to the Northern Song (960-1126) and even earlier, but no texts survive from these periods.
  38. See Xu, Wanjuan xingluo, j. 7: 7.
  39. Ibid., 11; Wuche bajin, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 1: 353-354; Li guangyu 李光裕, ed., Dingjuan Li Xiansheng zengbu simin shiyong jiyu quanshu 鼎鴿李先生增補四民使用積玉全書 (woodblock edition from the reign of the Ming dynasty Chongzhen emperor [1611-1644]) (Beijing: held by the National Library of China) j. 12: 11-12; Wanshu yuanhai 萬書淵海, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 6: 276.
  40. See Xu, Wanjuan xingluo, 7: 10.
  41. James Cahill, The Painter’s Practice: How Artists Lived and Worked in Traditional China (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 19-24, 33-35; Shih Shou-Chien 石守謙, “Wen Zhengming yu dazhong wenhua” 文徵明與大眾文化, in Taiwan 2002-nian Dongya Huihua Shi Yantaohui lunwen ji 台灣2002 年東亞繪畫史研討會論文集 (Taipei: Graduate Institute of Art History, National Taiwan University, 2002), 193-206. See also Qiu Zhonglin 邱仲麟, “Danri chengshang: Ming Qing shehui de qingshou wenhua” 誕日稱殤一明清社會的慶壽文化, Xin shixue 新史學 11: 3 (Sept. 2000).
  42. See Liu Ruoyu 劉若愚, Zhuo zhong zhi 酌中志 (Beijing: Beijing Guji Chubanshe, 1994), 177-184. Translator’s note: Tian Guan and Zhong Kui were Daoist deities. Tian Guan, the “official of heaven,” was believed to bring blessings. Zhong Kui was worshipped for his skill in quelling demons. The five poisonous creatures were scorpions, vipers, centipedes, lizards, and toads; it was believed that these five harmful creatures would begin appearing on the Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, unless preventive measures were taken.
  43. Translator’s note: The herb mugwort was believed to repel the five poisonous creatures.
  44. See Wen Zhenheng 文震亨, Zhang wu zhi jiaozhu 長物志校注 (Jiangsu: Jiangsu Kexue Jishu Chubanshe, 1984), 222-224.
  45. James Cahill, The Painter’s Practice, 35-45.
  46. Xu, Wanjuan xingluo, j. 7: 11.
  47. Translator’s note: “Along the River during the Qingming festival,” originally the work of Song dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145). Countless copies of this extremely famous work were produced.
  48. For materials concerning transactions of “Qingming shang he tu” in Beijing, see Li Rihua 李日華, Weishui Xuan riji 味水軒日記, vol. 39 in Congshu jicheng jibian: Shi bu 《叢書集成績編》,史部 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shudian, 1994), 739-740, and Zitao Xuan youzhui 紫桃軒又綴, vol. 89 in Congshu jicheng jibian: Zi bu《叢書集成績編》,子部, 400. For biographical materials on Li Rihua, see Zhang, Ming shi, 7400.
  49. On transactions of paintings and works of calligraphy in major cities in the Tang and Northern Song dynasties, see Michael Sullivan, “Some notes on the social history of Chinese art,” Zhongyang Yanjiuyuan Guoji Hanxuehui yilunwen ji: Yishu shi zu 《中央研究院國際漢學會議論文集》,藝術史組 (Taipei: Academia Sinica, 1980).
  50. See Craig Clunas, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 133-137; James Cahill, The Painter ‘s Practice, 45-50.
  51. Numerous images of cities from the late-Ming dynasty specifically depict locations where paintings and works of calligraphy changed hands, including “Huangdu jisheng tu” 皇斗積勝圖, “Nandu fanhui” 南都繁會, “Shangyuan dengcai” 上元燈彩, and numerous versions of “Qingming shang he tu.”
  52. See Chen Yuanjing, Shilin guangji, j. 9, final scroll: 180-187.
  53. The inclusion of Mongolian script might date back to the original edition of the Shilin guangji, which was published after the Mongols had conquered north China; the Mongols remained a serious threat to the Ming through the fifteenth century.
  54. For example, Wanshu yuanhai, in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei, 6: 433-445; Chen Yun-chung 陳允中, ed., Xinke qunshu zhaiyao shimin bianyong yishi bu qiu ren 新刻群書摘要士民便用一事不求人 (Ming dynasty Wanli era woodblock edition; held by the Tanimura Archive of the Kyoto University Library, Kyoto), j. 18: 1-15; Zheng Shangxuan 鄭尚玄, ed., Xinke Renruitang dingbu quanshu beikao 新刻人瑞堂訂補全書備考 (Ming dynasty Chongwen era serial woodblock edition; Taipei: in the collection of the Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, originally held by the Kyoto University Research Centre for the Cultural Sciences), j. 10: 7.
  55. On the vogue for calligraphy and important publications in the late Ming, see Qianshen Bai, Fu Shan’s World: The Transformation of Chinese Calligraphy in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 10-71.
  56. See Bai Qianshen 白謙慎, “Ming mo Qing chu shufa zhong shuxie yitizi fengqi de yanjiu” 明末清初書法中書寫異體字風氣的研究, Shulun 書論 32 (2001): 181-187; Ibid., 67. At the time, “unusual characters” often referred to multiple alternate versions of characters found in seal and clerical scripts, or to characters that could be written in a variety of ways, as in Zhu Mouwei 朱謀瑋, Guwen qizi 古文奇字, in Siku weishou shuji kan 四庫未收書輯刊 (Beijing: Beijing Chubanshe, 1997), part 2, vol. 14: 105-186; Guo Yijing 郭一經, Zixue san zheng 字學三正, in Siku weishou shuji kan, part 2, vol. 14, 187-348; Zhao Yiguang 趙宜光, Shuowen changjian 說文長箋, in Siku quanshu cunmu congshu 四庫全書存目叢書, Jing bu 經部 [Classics section], vol. 195 and 196.
  57. There are exceptions; the Jiyu quanshu edition held by the National Library of China in Beijing prints Qian zi wen in kai shu, cao shu, seal script, and li shu attributed to famed mid-Ming calligrapher Wen Zhengming. Li, Jiyu quanshu, j. 10: 1-15.
  58. According to Han Fangming 韓方名 (fl. 8th c.), well-known calligrapher of the Tang dynasty, the eight representative strokes are of an extremely early origin. See his Shou bi yao shuo 授筆要說, in Lidai shufa lunwen xuan 歷代書法論文選 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe, 1981), 286.
  59. Jujia biyong shilei quanji, A: 30-33. Regarding the legend of the “extraordinary eight-stroke method,” see Fushimi Chūkei 伏見冲敬, “Yongzi bafa” 永字八法, in Shodō shi tenbyō 書道史點描 (Tokyo: Nigensha, 1979), 145-158. Thank you to my classmate He Yan-chiuan of the Graduate Institute of Art History, National Taiwan University for making me aware of this text.
  60. Jujia bibei, Yixue shang 藝學上 [Arts section 1], j. 8: 1-3..
  61. See Feng Fang 豐坊, Tongxue shucheng 童學書程 [Calligraphy study course for children], in Ming Qing shufa lunwen xuan 明清書法論文選 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuju Chubanshe, 1995), 97-102.
  62. Wang and Wang, Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms, Renshi juan 4 人事卷4 [Human affairs chapter 4]: 16. Dong Qichang also recommends that instructional texts begin with standard writing techniques; see Wang Qingzheng 汪慶正, “Dong Qichang fashu ketie jianshu” 董其昌法書刻帖簡述, in Wai-kam Ho, ed., The Century of Tung Ch’i-chang 1555-1636 (Kansas City: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 1994), 2: 337.
  63. Wanshu yuanhai, j. 15: 2-14; Wuche bajin, j. 13: 1-34; Xu, Wanjuan xingluo, j. 15: 1-13; Wanbao quanshu, j. 11: 2-7; Wang and Wang, Sancai tuhui, “Renshi juan 3” 人事卷3 [Human affairs chapter 3]: 2-15.
  64. For instance, Chen, Xinke qunshu zhaiyao shimin bianyong yishi buqiu ren, j. 18:1-6.
  65. Regarding the circulation of late-Ming calligraphic works and practice models, see Ōno Shūsaku 大野修作, Shoron to Chūgoku bungaku 書論 と中国文学 (Tokyo: Kenbun Shuppansha, 2001), 262-264; Wang Jingxian 王靖憲, “Ming dai congtie zongshu” 明代叢帖綜述, in Zhongguo fatie quanji 中國法帖全集, Qi Gong 啟功, Wang Jingxian 王靖憲, eds. (Wuhan: Hubai Meishu Chubanshe, 2002), 13: 1-2; Masuda Tomoyuki 増田知之, “Min dai ni okeru hōjō no kankō to Soshū fumiuji ichizoku” 明代における法帖の刊行と蘇州文氏一族, Tōyō shi kenkyū 東洋史研究 62:1 (July 2003), 43-48.
  66. For instance, Chen, Xinke qunshu zhaiyao shimin bianyong yishi bu qiu ren, j. 18, 1; Dingqin Chongwen Ge huizuan shimin jieyong fenlei xuefu quanbian 鼎鋟崇文閣彙纂士民捷用分類學府全編 (1607 Ming woodblock edition; Taipei: facsimile edition held by the Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, originally held by the Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo), j. 16: 1.
  67. With regard to the shifting social identities of the late Ming, see Kishimoto Mio 岸本美緒, “Min Shin jidai no mibun kankaku” 明清時代の身分感覚, in Min Shin jidai shi no kihon mondai 明清時代史の基本問題 (Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 1997), 403-428; Wang, “Liudong yu hudong: You Ming Qing jian chengshi shenghuo de texing tance gongzhong changyu de zhankai,” j. 2.
  68. Translator’s note: This term distinguishes “literati” painters, men of education and culture who practiced painting as a pastime from professional artists who worked for a living.
  69. See Wang Cheng-hua 王正華, “Cong Chen Honghuan de Hua lun kan wan Ming Zhejiang huatan: Jian lun Jiangnan huihua wangluo yu quyu jingzheng” 從陳洪緩的《畫論》看晚明漸江畫壇:兼論江南繪畫網絡與區域競爭, in Quyu yu wangluo: Jin Qian Nian Lai Zhongguo Meishu Shi Yanjiu Guoji Xueshu Yantaohui lunwen ji 區域與網絡:近千年來中國美術史研究國際學術研討會論文集 (Taipei: Graduate Institute of Art History, National Taiwan University, 2001), 339-353.
  70. These are: Dreaming of the Mountain of Floating Silk (Luo fu huan zhi 羅浮幻質), on drawing plums; Lingering Beauty of the Nine Fields (Jiu wan yirong 九畹遺容), on drawing orchids; and Chirping and Flying in a Spring Valley (Chun gu ying xiang 春谷嚶翔), on drawing birds, etc. Wang and Wang, Sancai tuhui, Ren shi juan 4 人事卷4 [Human affairs chapter 4]: 27-40. Zhou Lüjing 周履靖, “Luo fu huan zhi” 羅浮幻質, in Zhongguo lidai huapu hui bian 中國歷代畫譜匯編 (Tianjin: Tianjin Guji Chubanshe, 1997), 14: 697-736; Zhou Lüjing 周履靖, “Chun gu ying xiang” 春谷嚶翔, Zhongguo lidai huapu hui bian, 13: 437-484.
  71. In the Southern Song and Yuan dynasties these became standard, popular subjects for painting. Song Boren 宋伯仁, “Meihua xishen pu” 梅花喜神譜, Zhongguo lidai huapu hui bian 中國歷代畫譜匯編, 14: 347-500; Li Kan 李衎, Zhu pu 竹譜, in Zhongguo lidai huapu hui bian, 16: 133-234. For related research, see Shimada Shūjirō 島田修二郎, “Song Zhai huapu kaidai” 《松齋梅譜》 解題 in Song Zhai meipu 松齋梅譜 (Hiroshima: Hiroshima City Central Library, 1988), 3-37; Chen Dexin 陳德馨, “Meihua xishen pu yanjiu” 《梅花喜神譜》研究, (Master’s thesis, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 1996), 74-80; Maggie Bickford, Ink Plum: The Making of a Chinese Scholar-painting Genre (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 180-196; Chen Dexin, “Meihua xishen pu: Song Boren de ziwo tuijian shu” 《梅花喜神譜》——宋伯仁的自我推薦書, Meishu shi yanjiu jikan 美術史研究集刊 5 (1998), 123-152.
  72. For exceptions, see Xin qie tianxia bei lan wenlin lei ji wanshu cuibao 新鍥天下備覽文林類記萬書萃寶 (1596 woodblock edition; Taipei, facsimile edition held by Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, originally held by the Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo), j. 16: 5-15; Zheng, Xinke Renruitang dingbu quanshu beikao, j. 8: 7-8. The former includes pictures of chrysanthemums, people, and animals, and the latter generally depicts orchids, people, and animals, but in both cases the quantity of pictures is low.
  73. Wuche wanbao quanshu, j. 11: 16-19.
  74. See Gu Bing 顧炳, Gu Shi huapu顧氏畫譜 (Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 1983). Qi Chengye (1565-1628) was from Shanyin, Zhejiang, passed the highest imperial examination in 1604, and was the father of Qi Biaojia. For biographical sketches, see Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊, Ming shi zong 明詩綜, j. 59: 23; Zhu Yizun, Jing zhi jushi hua 靜志居詩話, in Xuxiu siku quanshu, vol. 1698, j. 16, 37-38. The writings attributed to Qi Chengye are likely not by him; the attribution should be treated with suspicion.
  75. See Clunas, Pictures and visuality in early modern China, 134-148.
  76. On the spread of Tang poetry in the late Ming, see Liu Qiaomei 劉巧楣, Wan Ming Suzhou huihua 晚明蘇州繪畫 (Master’s thesis, National Taiwan University Graduate School of History, Taipei, 1989), 115-117; Tang Guoqiu 唐國球, “Shilun Tang shi gui de bianji, banxing ji qi shixue yiyi” 試論﹛唐詩歸﹜的編集、版行及其詩學意義, in in Shibian yu weixin: Wan Ming yu wan Qing de wenxue yishu 世變與維新:晚明與晚清的文學藝術, ed. Hu Siao-chen 胡曉真 (Taipei: Zhongyang Yanjiuyuan Zhongguo Wen Zhe Yanjiusuo Choubeichu, 2001), 32-42.
  77. See Huang Fengchi 黃鳳池, ed., Tang shi huapu 唐詩畫譜, in Zhongguo gudai banhua congkan er bian 中國古代版畫叢刊二編 (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe, 1994).
  78. For an exception, see Zheng, Xinke Renruitang dingbu quanshu beikao, j. 8: 1-6. The paintings in this woodblock painting manual are the best of any extant edition. Presented as fan-shaped book inserts, they are highly characteristic of Southern Song dynasty paintings.
  79. Another way in which the publishers advertised the up-to-date quality of their works was the use of color. The “Barbarians” (“Zhuyi” 諸夷) sections of some of the encyclopedias were even reproduced in red ink, presumably to display to the reader that the works were produced with the most advanced print technology available in the late Ming. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to employ such a costly technique to such a minor effect. For instance, Bo Lanzi 博覽子, ed., Ding juan shier fangjia canding wanshi bu qiu ren Bo kao quanshu 鼎鐫十二方家參訂萬事不求人博考全書 (Wanli era woodblock edition; Beijing: held by the National Library of China), j. 2.
  80. Translator’s note: “Zidi” 子弟, literally “sons and younger brothers,” referred at this time to the profligate sons of men of privilege — usually officials — who took advantage of their fathers’ wealth and status to live a life of idle luxury. In some daily-use encyclopedias, the section explaining brothel etiquette was titled “Zidi men” 子弟門.
  81. See Wang, “Cong Chen Honghuan de Hua lun kan wan Ming Zhejiang huatan,” 339-353. Also see Inoue Mitsuyuki 井上充幸, “Min matsu no bunjin Li Rihua no shumi seikatsu: Weishui Xuan riji o chūshin ni” 明末の文人李日華の趣味生活——「味水軒日記」を中心に, Tōyō shi kenkyū 東洋史研究 59: 1 (June 2000): 1-28.
  82. For information on Dong Qichang’s commentary on paintings and calligraphy as well as related works, see Fu Shen 傅申, “Hua shuo zuozhe yanjiu” 《畫說》作者研究, in Dong Qichang yanjiu wen ji 董其昌研究文集 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe, 1998), 44; Wang Shiqing 汪世淸, “Hua shuo jiu wei shei zhu” 《畫說》究為誰著, in Dong Qichang yanjiu wen ji, 61-62; Zhang Zining 張子寧, “Dong Qichang yu Tang Song Yuan huace” 董其昌與《唐宋元畫冊》, in Dong Qichang yanjiu wen ji, 581-590.
  83. Craig Clunas, Superfluous things, j. 1-3; Wang Cheng-hua 王正華, “Nüren, wupin yu ganguan yuwang: Chen Honghuan wanqi renwu hua zhong Jiangnan wenhua de chengxian” 女人、物品與感官慾望:陳洪緩晚期人物畫中江南文化的呈現, Jindai Zhongguo funü shi yanjiu 近代中國婦女史研究 10 (Dec. 2002), 12-16, 25-51.
  84. See Wen Zhenheng, Zhang wu zhi jiaozhu, 10-11.
  85. Ibid, 135. Regarding the distinction between appreciative audiences and the curious, see also Xie Zhaozhe 謝肇淛, Wu za zu 五雜俎, in Lidai biji xiaoshuo jicheng 歷代筆記小說集成 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei Jiaoyu Chubanshe, 1995), vol. 54, j. 7: 26; Shen Defu 沈德符, Wanli yehuo bian 萬曆野獲編, in Yuan Ming shiliao biji 元明史料筆記 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1997), j. 26: 653-656.
  86. See Wang Hung-tai 王鴻泰, “Ming Qing shiren de shenghuo jingying yu yasu de bianzheng” 明清士人的生活經營與雅俗的辯證 (paper presented at Discourses and Practices of Everyday Life in Imperial China, a conference organized by Academia Sinica and Columbia University, 25-27 Oct. 2002).
  87. See Wen, Zhang wu zhi jiaozhu, 185-188, 221.
  88. See Jujia biyong shilei quanji, A: 33-40. This book also contains a text called Dong Neizhi shu jue 董內直書訣, which is of unknown origin. For Zhang Kui’s text, see Lidai shufa wenlun ji, 383-395.
  89. Jujia bibei, j. 8, 3-8. For Ouyang Xun’s text, see Lidai shufa wenlun ji, 99-104.
  90. Wang and Wang, Assembled Illustrations of the Three Realms, Renshi juan 4 人事卷4 [Human affairs chapter 4]: 15-17.
  91. The approach of capturing a large work in miniature is first discussed by Dong Qichang in the preface to “Fang Song Yuan ren suoben hua ji ba.” The genuineness of the paintings and text of this album are in dispute, with sources variously attributing the work to Dong Qichang, Chen Lian, Wang Shimin, and Wang Hui, among others. In the author’s opinion, the brushwork of the numerous pictures is smooth, skillfully contrived, and extremely suggestive of Dong Qichang. For studies of such works, see Wen C. Fong, Images of the Mind (Princeton: The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1984), 177-192; Kohara Hironobu 古原宏伸, “You guan Dong Qichang ‘Xiao zhong xian da ce’ liang sange wenti” 有關董其昌‹小中現大冊›兩三個問題, trans. 王建康 Wang Jiankang, in Dong Qichang yanjiu wen ji 董昌研究文集 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe, 1998), 594-604; Xu Bangda 徐邦達, “Wang Hui ‘Xiao zhong xian da’ ce zaikao” 王輩《小中現大》冊再考, in Qing chu siwang huapai yanjiu 清初四王畫派研究 (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe, 1993), 497-504; Zhang Zining 張子寧, “Xiao zhong xian da xiyi” 《小中現大》析疑, in Qing chu siwang huapai yanjiu 清初四王畫派研究, 505-582; Wen C. Fong and James C. Y. Watt, Possessing the past: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996), 474-476.
  92. Translator’s note: “Zhe” is short for the name of the province “Zhejiang,” where the style originated; this Ming-dynasty school of conservative, academic landscape painting would have been easily accessible to Gu, a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang. Literati painters tended to be contemptuous of what they considered the outmoded style of the Zhe school painters.
  93. See Kobayashi Hiromitsu 小林宏光, “Chūgoku kaiga ni okeru hanmen no igi: Gan Shi huapu (1603 nen kan) ni miru rekidai meiga fukusei o megutte” 中国絵画史における版面の意義——《願氏画譜》(1603年刊)にみる歴代名画複製をめぐって, Bijutsushi 美術史 128 (March 1990), 123-135.
  94. Respectively, present-day Shanghai and a region encompassing present-day Suzhou and the area around Lake Tai, in Jiangsu province. These were the centers of literati painting in the late Ming.
  95. Clunas, Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China, 134-148.
  96. Gu Bing himself regarded Zhou Zhimian 周之冕 (1521-1610), artist of a flower and bird painting presently held by the Palace Museum in Beijing, as his teacher. The events of Zhou’s life are recorded in Jiang Shaoshu’s 姜紹書 early Qing work on the history of poetry entitled History of Poetry without Sound (Wusheng shi shi 無聲詩史). See Kobayashi, “Chūgoku kaiga ni okeru hanmen no igi,” 124.
  97. See Liu Qiaomei 劉巧楣, “Wan Ming Suzhou huihua zhong de shi hua guanxi” 晚明蘇州繪畫中的詩畫關係, Yishuxue 藝術學 6 (Sept. 1991), 33-103.
  98. Roger Chartier, The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 1-24; Chartier, Forms and Meanings: Texts, Performances, and Audiences from Codex to Computer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 1-24.
  99. Liu Daochun 劉道醇, “Sheng chao ming hua ping xu” 聖朝名畫評序, in Sheng chao ming hua ping 聖朝名畫評, in Zhongguo shu hua quanshu (Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe, 1993), 1: 446.
  100. There are multiple interpretations of Xie He’s six laws. See Shih Shou-chien 石守謙, “Fu cai zhi xing: Chuantong meixue sixiang yu yishu piping” 賦彩製形——傳統美學思想與藝術批評, in Meigan yu zaoxing 美感與造形, ed. Jason C. Kuo 郭繼生 (Taipei: Linking Publishing, 1982), 33-36.
  101. Very few editions correctly print “Hua you liu fa” rather than “Hua you liu ge.” Among those that do is Yu Xiangdou 余象斗, ed., Santai wanyong zhengzong 三台萬用正宗 (1599 woodblock edition), in Chūgoku nichiyō ruisho shūsei 中國日用類書集成 (Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 2000), j. 12: 13.
  102. Gao Lian 高濂, Zun sheng ba jian jiaozhu 遵生八箋校注, ed. Zhao Lixun 趙立勛 (Beijing: Renmin Weisheng Chubanshe, 1994), 553. For information on Gao Lian’s family background, life, and education, see Clunas, Superfluous Things, 14-16.
  103. Translator’s note: As 李詔道 rather than 李昭道; pronounced the same way, but written with the wrong character.
  104. Translator’s note: In the phrase 皴法要滲軟, the character 軟 is mistakenly given as 較 [compare], Huang Gongwang 黃公望, “Xie shanshui jue” 寫山水訣, in Hualun congkan, 55-57.
  105. For information regarding the role of Gu Kaizhi, see 石守謙 Shih Shou-Chien, “Fu cai zhi xing: Chuantong meixue sixiang yu yishu piping” 賦彩製形—傳統美學思想與藝術批評 in Meigan yu zaoxing, 25.
  106. For information regarding Chen Zihe and his painting style, see Shih Shou-Chien 石守謙, “Shen huan bianhua: You Fujian huajia Chen Zihe kan Ming dai Daojiao shuimo hua zhi fazhan” 神幻變化:由福建畫家陳子和看明代道教水墨畫之發展, Meishu shi yanjiu jikan 美術史研究集刊 2 (1995): 47-74.
  107. Richard Barnhart, “The Wild and Heterodox School of Ming Painting,” in Theories of the Arts in China, eds. Susan Bush and Christian Murck (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 365-396.
  108. Roger Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print in Early Modern France, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 3-12; Roger Chartier “Popular appropriation: The readers and their books,” in his Forms and Meanings, 83-98.
  109. Translator’s note: Texts relying on beliefs in supernatural retribution and reward (found in Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) to urge readers to avoid evil and do good.
  110. Translator’s note: A genre of folk religious texts written in a mixture of prose and verse.

Cite: Wang Cheng-hua, “Lifestyles, Knowledge, and Cultural Products: Fujian Daily-Use Encyclopedias of the Late-Ming Dynasty and Their Painting and Calligraphy Sections,” translated by Michael Day, Lingua Franca, Issue 6 (2020),