A cultural awakening in the ‘Wan-Li Era’

The China Post
Date: November 23, 2016
By: Chris Chang

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Ancient China not only saw profound cultural developments within its borders, but

Writing in Cursive Script after Drunk (醉後浪書) by Fu Shan (傅山) (Courtesy of Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts)

Writing in Cursive Script after Drunk (醉後浪書) by Fu Shan (傅山) (Courtesy of Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts)

also influenced the varied nations that surrounded it, especially during the Wan-Li Era (萬曆) of the Ming Dynasty (明朝) — from the 16th century to the early 17th century. Many of these influences are still visible in the present day.

For instance, if you take a closer look at Korea’s thousand-won note, you will see the characters “ming lun yang” (明倫堂) imprinted on the drawing of Sungkyunkwan (成均館). This writing is the work of Chu Chih-fan (朱之蕃), a famous Chinese calligrapher, painter and politician in the Wan-Li Era, and was bestowed as a gift to the Kingdom of Joseon at the time.

Described as one of the most prominent Ming Dynasty figures, Wang Yangming (王陽明), a Chinese idealist, neo-Confucian philosopher and military general, also had a significant impact on the values, thinking and moral conduct of people in Japan.

Co-hosted by the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (高雄市立美術館) and the HCS Calligraphy Foundation (何創時書法藝術基金會), the “Wan-Li’s Era of Talent and Elegance” (萬曆萬象—多元.開放.創意的晚明文化) exhibition takes place from now through Mar. 12, 2017. It not only contains Wang’s calligraphy and painting works under the theme “Cultural Giants Who Influenced Japanese and Korean Cultures” (影響日韓的明人), but is also host to 110 precious masterpieces by distinguished cultural and artistic figures from the same period, illustrating the national power, literary refinement and artistic sophistication of the Wan-Li Era.

On display under the themes of “Outstanding Governmental Officials” (治國能臣), “Great Military Strategists” (軍事), “Science & Technology Masters” (科學大師), “Great Thinkers” (思想大師), “Eminent Monks” (高僧), “Masters of Arts and Cultures” (文藝), “Calligraphy Masters” (書法), “Painting Masters” (繪畫) and “Talented People in Life Aesthetics” (生活美學), are works by Li Shizhen (李時珍), pharmacologist and author of “Compendium of Materia Medica” (本草綱目); Xu Xiake (徐霞客), travel writer and geographer; Zhang Juzheng (張居正), reformer and grand secretariat of the Ming Dynasty; Tang Xianzu (湯顯祖), playwright and author of “The Peony Pavilion” (牡丹亭) and many more.    [SOURCE]

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