Lecture: The Fording Tiger – Two Painting Colophons by Yang Weizhen in the Lo Chia-Lun Collection of Chinese Calligraphy (University of Michigan)

Date of event:   02/12/2022 − 02/12/2022

Title: The Fording Tiger: Two Painting Colophons by Yang Weizhen in the Lo Chia-Lun Collection of Chinese Calligraphy
Speaker: Dr. Amy McNair
Date: 2 December 2022
Institution: University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


Free and open to the public. Click here to join the live stream.

Earlier this year, UMMA received a transformative gift of more than 70 works of important and influential Chinese calligraphy. The Lo Chia-Lun Calligraphy Collection adds an impressive breadth of works to an already stellar collection of Chinese paintings and ceramics at UMMA. To mark the occasion, UMMA and the U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies are delighted to present this important lecture with Chinese Art Historian, Dr. Amy McNair. McNair will discuss works in the collection by the famous Yuan-dynasty poet, Yang Weizhen (1296-1370), and highlight the importance of the Lo Chia-Lun Collection in the future studies of Chinese calligraphy. These works are colophons to one or two lost paintings, called The Fording Tiger, and are superb examples of his intentionally eccentric, awkward style of writing. The “fording tiger” image comes from the story of the Han-dynasty official Liu Kun (d. 57 CE), whose reputation for good government was so powerful that when he arrived to govern Hongnong (modern Sanmenxia, Henan), the local man-eating tigers swam across the Yellow River rather than face him. Yang was instrumental in establishing the importance of colophons on paintings and reviving the practice of yuefu poetry in the 14th century, making these two colophons containing yuefu poems highly significant works.

Prior to the keynote, we are delighted to offer a rare opportunity to see works from the Lo Chia-Lun collection in UMMA’s object study rooms. You must register for a study room session. Please register for only one time slot. Capacity is extremely limited.

4 p.m. Study Session 1
4:30 p.m. Study Session 2

Dr. Amy McNair is a Professor of Chinese Art History at the University of Kansas and Editor-in-chief of the Asian art history journal Artibus Asiae. Her research interests are Chinese calligraphy and painting, and Chinese Buddhist sculpture. Her 1998 book on the Tang-dynasty calligrapher Yan Zhenqing was recently translated into Chinese as 中正之笔——颜真卿书法与宋代文人政治 (The Righteous Pen—Yan Zhenqing’s Calligraphy and the Song Dynasty Literati Politics). Her latest book, The Stigma of the Painting Master: Liang Shicheng and The Xuanhe Catalogue of Paintings, will appear in 2023, published by Harvard Asia Center Publications.

For more information, please visit the website here.

Image: Yang Weizhen (1296 – 1370), Two Calligraphy of Poetry (detail), Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368), handscroll in two sections, ink on silk, 8 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches (first section); 8 ¼ x 16 ½ inches (second section), Gift of Jiu-Fong Lo Chang and Kuei-sheng Chang, University of Michigan Museum of Art