Overall View from Miniature Art:Interview with Zhou Changxing

6 days ago

Background
Zhou Changxing is the famous Master of Chinese Miniature Art, and Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts. His nickname is Shi Wen, which means the old man of stones. He was born in 1931, in Zhangzhou, Zhejiang. Since he was 9 years old, he was self-taught how to make bamboo weavings and carvings. After that he has devoted on the miniature craftsmanship more than 70 years, and many of his miniature works gain great reputations of the whole world. Additional, he also has outstanding achievements in literature, calligraphy, painting and epigraphy. His masterpieces include “Miniature Furnishings of Dream of the Red Chamber series" and "China's Treasure" curio, etc. The relevant reports of his works have been successively published in the "Shanghai Cultural Yearbook" in 1988 and 1989, and the overseas edition of "People's Daily" and "China Daily", the "World Journal" of USA, and "Le Figaro" of France, "People's Pictorial", "Shanghai Pictorial", Japanese NHK TV, Phoenix Hong Kong Channel, etc. Also CCTV has take a filmed the "Zhou's Miniature Art" disc as a present to the foreign guests by Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China. Not only that, it also has over 20 medias to record the film of "Zhou's Miniature Art”. In July 1991, Zhou Changxing and his daughter, Zhou Liju, displayed the art of miniature work at the “Chinese Art Exhibition” in Japan, which gained great acclaim from the audiences and medias. In November, 1993 and August, 1994, Zhou Changxing and Zhou Liju were invited to Hong Kong to participate in the “Dream of Red Mansions Culture and Art Exhibition”. The audiences, have over 200,000 people. Additionally, Mr. Zhou won twice of the "Shanghai Folk Art Special Award", and their works also won "Shanghai Arts and Crafts Excellence Award", which has twice the time refreshed in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2000 and 2008, Mr. Zhou wonthe Gold Award of the"Chinese masters' works of arts and crafts cum arts and crafts boutique exposition” for the third time, and the Gold Award of "The Chinese Traditional Arts and Crafts Exhibition” once. In 2004, Mr. Zhou Changxing was awarded the honorary title of “Master of Shanghai Arts and Crafts”. Only two years later, he was also awarded the honorary title of “Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts” by the review team of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China in December 2006. In October 2010, his works “China's Treasure" curio was exhibited at the “2010 Shanghai World Expo – Treasures of Chinese Arts · National Master Gem Exhibition”. Only 15 prestigious masters of Chinese arts and crafts can join the Shanghai World Expo. Over the years, Mr. Zhou Changxing's miniature works have been exhibited in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and many more. They have been collected by Yasuhiro Nakasone(1*), Henry Fok(2*) and Rong Yiren(3*), etc.



OGP:The "Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts" began in 1979, and have been held six times. The selected artists and scholars are highly skilled, have outstanding achievements, and excellent reputations at global scale. It is the highest honor awarded by the State Council of China for the protection of traditional arts and crafts. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, only 444 artists have won this Master award. Han Yu (4*) said, "It does not matter whether a person is high or low in position, young or old in age. Whoever is right, is my teacher! ” What does “Master” mean? In the early years, Tsinghua University and Beijing University jointly published a book called "Unrivaled of National Talents: Fourteen Masters of Tsinghua University", which wrote that "They are maverick, also painstaking accuracy." Masters stand on the peak of culture are in glory of long time and have created the human civilization are defined as the outstanding academics or artists. Masters are a country's academic center, who are leaders in the fields of thought, culture, art and science. They are diverse, talented, creative, insightful, elegant, proud. Also they should have conscience, mission and responsibility. China has a long history in which each of the various art can be described as treasure. With the object as the carrier, it is small utensils displayed on the palm. The miniature is the most delicate and tiny art in Chinese traditional arts and crafts. Miniature means modeling on the real thing in three-dimensional miniature by a certain percentage on small utensils, such as walnut carving and using synthetically carving skills. Some works are as big that can be held by hand and some are as little as sesame seed. Their shapes, qualities and spirits are just like original. Their rival nature and like nature itself. Miniature art is something that we can see overall view from any tiny place. Chinese miniature art can be traced back to 5,000 years ago in the Yellow Emperor period. Ancient books in the pre-Qin Dynasty in China, like "Zhuang Zhou"(5*), "Lie Zi"(6*) , "Oracle bone script of Records of the Grand Historian”, etc, have been documented miniature. The development of contemporary miniature art has a precise high micro level, which highlights humans' creativity and superb skills when challenging the limit. Practice makes perfection. Your works have reached the realm of amazing, we can all call it a "unique talent.” Your life is legendary and its experience is hard, but you always insist on the relentless pursuit of art. Please tell more us about your artistic life?

Mr. Zhou:When God is about to place a great responsibility on mankind, it always frustrates his spirit, exhausts his physical agility, harasses him by troubles and setbacks so as to stimulate his spirit, toughen his nature and enhance his abilities. In a person's life, we will endure several major experiences, and sometimes we must pay enough hardships because there has not been a single thing since ancient times. I am an orphan, my parents and brothers died in my childhood. It was in the age of war, everything is impermanent. My family Zhou, in Ming Chongzhen (1629) was a prominent family. Philosopher Zhou Yideng (7*) is my ancestor, who is Wang Yangming (8*) 's disciples and the commander of the Board of Public Works. Zhou’s members have six Jinshi (9*) in the imperial China, which gained the most praised in Zhangzhou. Until the late Qing Dynasty, it has been gradually declined. I have been a child laborer when I was only nine years old. The apprenticeship is very difficult and must endure the overloaded work and no salary. Even so, I still do the finest and finest. As I grew older and matured, I became a leader in this industry. Rongzhou, Zhejiang, my hometown manufactures various bamboo products. It’s also known as the “hometown of bamboo weaving”. Many workshops on the street are filled with fine bamboo carving products. It’s the beginning of my artistic career, and it also my first step to art. When I got some freetime, I self-taught myself the bamboo weavings and carvings. I used the tin, silver, copper and other remaining materials to make my favorite gadgets, such as small whistles, small brooms, small pistols, small steamships, small cars and so on. Bamboo weavings and carvings have a profound impact on my artistic enlightenment. I design it all by myself, make it myself, and showed my unique talent in the form of miniature. I came to Shanghai alone when I was 24 years old. I was transferred to three companies because my outstanding ability. I entered the Auto Repair Factory of Shanghai Municipal Transportation Bureau in 1957, and served as the technical team leader of the workshop. At that time, the my country urgently needed to repair a batch of trailers, but there was no domestic steel ring. My team worked for a few months and finally developed the first 7.50 inch x 20 inch domestic truck steel ring in the country two years later, which filled that gap of the technology. After that, I successfully designed and manufactured the first complete assembly line of automobile rims in China. I also won the title of “king of the steel ring” and the honorary title of “Advanced Producer” in Shanghai, and as a special representative of the Transport Bureau, I attended the National Day ceremony. My team developed the first bulletproof car in China in 1965, and I also tried to manufacture the SH750 sedan of the "Shanghai" brand in 1973. Until my retirement in 1985, I have been a leader in the automotive industry and have made tremendous contributions to the development in Chinese automotive industry. But no matter what happens to me, I have never stopped the enthusiasm for miniature art. Every day of the year, I have been able to make anything from a variety of materials and used carving, smashing, cutting, engraving, planing, and practicing other skills. After I retired, I had an idea and plan for the future to summarize my whole life’s ultimate work for my descendants to see. So you saw my works “Miniature Furnishings of Dream of the Red Chamber Series", and then derived my “China's Treasure”. It’s a vast project to me that has been continuously improved and replaced in many decades. In 2009, the "China's Treasure" curio reached the sixth series, which is total of 1234 pieces, including all the utensil categories from Neolithic to the Qing Dynasty. Every item can be found in the book "Dream of Red Mansions” (10*). It’s based on research and evidence for the "history" because my works strives to be faithful to the original and restored to history. My "China's Treasure" curio has won several gold medals in many exhibitions for several consecutive years, and it has been recorded in the album of the "Chinese Traditional Arts and Crafts Exhibition”. I had a great honor that the National Development and Reform Commission (11*) awarded I the honorary title and certificate of “Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts” in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 2006. In “2010 Shanghai World Expo (12*) - Treasures of Chinese Arts · National Master Gem Exhibition”, my work "China's Treasure" curio was honored to participate in Shanghai Expo Culture Center. Only 15 prestigious masters of Chinese Arts and Crafts can join in.

OGP:Your private museum is not open to the public, but us, so we can admire the infinite charm of miniature art, which is also our great honor. "China's Treasure” curio is a miracle to gather thousands of representative cultural treasures in a limited space and integrate them in an orderly manner. The big ones are dozens of grams, the small ones are only 0.03 grams, and the heights are only a few centimeters. All kinds of miniature utensils are decorated with delicate and vividly patterns, words and pictures are carved on tiny objects. It absolutely realistic, matchless, and rare. My first series of "China's Treasure" curio was created in 1987, a total of 150 pieces, and gradually increased. To 2009, it has reached the sixth series, containing 1234 pieces of curio. The whole shelves consists of nine straight grids, H.70 cm x W.20 cm x L.200 cm. According to the development of successive generations on the timeline, the zhan pottery and painted pottery of ancient times, the jade of Hongshan culture, the bronze of Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the lacquer ware of the Qin and Han Dynasties, the sancai of the Tang Dynasty, the porcelain of the Song Dynasty, the cloisonné of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the gold and silver ware, the Chinese calligraphy and brush painting, the musical instruments, the purple sand/clay items and so on. From a distance, it is great and magnificent. From a close look, it is nuanced and diverse. All of them show your climax art concept and carving skills. If it is used to pass on to future generations, it is definitely a good work. You are a master of miniature and a profound scholar. Why did you choose to use "Dream of Red Mansions" as your main theme?

Mr. Zhou:“Dream of Red Mansions" is a literary masterpiece that reveals the history of the feudal family from the peak to the decline. The breadth and depth of its content has created the Redology (13*). "Dream of Red Mansions" has also been rated as the pinnacle of Chinese classical chapters, which ideological value and artistic value are extremely high. It has meticulously descriptions many of characters that are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and also portraying the fine antiques and rare treasures. These wealth involving a wide range of arts and crafts, since covering almost all traditional arts and crafts. I through the writers Cao Xueqin's description of the characters and their living environment to rigorous analysis, research, and strived to make my works in line with the original spirit. But the works can not be copied like mechanical imitation, that would be very charm and creation. I used the three different ratios of 5:1, 10:1 and 20:l to create the based on the many characters' rooms in the Daguanyuan (14*), including the identity of the table, chairs, antiques, and vertical screens. I also referenced from the multi-treasure shelves modeling of the Forbidden City of Shufang Zhai Palace, and created unique antique shelves from carrying a large number of cultural treasures. Antique shelves were originally a kind of outstanding decoration in the interior of the Qing court. It cleverly uses the different sizes of the horizontal and vertical dimensions to store, and display various treasures. "China's Treasure" curio is derived from the many precious treasures of "Dream of Red Mansions". Its biggest feature is that it integrates and collects on a certain scale for the cultural relics of the past and presents.

OGP:You have applied exquisite carving, miniature skills to the artistic treasures of "Dream of Red Mansions” have used antique shelves’ form furnished to display. Each of utensils is your meticulously crafted, which used precise proportions and exquisite materials. The works from first to sixth series of "China's Treasure" are related with lots of antiques, including pottery, bronze, porcelain, purple sand, jade, viewing stone, bonsai, cloisonne, sacrificial vessels, and four treasures of the study (brush, ink, paper, and ink stone), etc. Also you used gemstone materials such as jadeite, coral, amber, pearl, crystal, ivory, tianhuang stone, rose quartz, blood stone, qingtien stone, and many others. In addition the wooden materials have Pterocarpus indices (Zitan), Dalbergia odorifera (Huanghuali), Anogeissu, ebony, mahogany, white mahogany... So many materials and items can be controlled, which undoubtedly shows the highest level of skill and wisdom. We are extremely convinced that only masters like you can make such a huge scale and first-class design in China. "Dream of Red Mansions” is also called "The Story of the Stone". In the story, a sentient stone was abandoned by the a goddess when she mended the heavens aeons ago, begs a Taoist priest and a Buddhist monk to take it with them to see the world. The main protagonist Jia Baoyu name meaning Precious Jade, and his lover Lin Daiyu name meaning Blue-black Jade. Confucius said that "Gentlemen are like jade.” In Confucianism, a morality and spirit of gentleman should be a gentle, modest, calm and tough person, who is patient with others and strict to yourself, not arrogant. Your nickname is "Shi Weng", and your museum is call "Qian Shi Zhai (Thousands of Stones Place)". We can imagine that you are extremely fond of stone, and the richness of the stone you have is indeed beyond the reach of ordinary people. We know that you are the master of finding stones of any texture, which can be detected by your hands. So what is your unique understanding of stone?

Mr. Zhou:I always feel that the materials are always limited whenever in need. Any stone is rare. The good stones that can be used are not easy to find, and is usually a coincidence to be found. The stability of the stone is incomparable to other materials, which means it is constant and has a wide variety of items. My works are usually made of stone, and the choices of materials are obtained in practical experience. In fact, long ago, I was already collecting great stones. In order to find and buy all kinds of great stones. I ran all over the major markets selling stones in Shanghai. Also, I went through many other provinces and cities for the stones' original birthplace. I didn’t just spent time and money, but on the journey of purchasing stones, it can also go around the earth more than once. From a stone to a sculpture, and then finishing it into work, is a long and complicated process. Each of these processes must be closely linked, and each step must be accurate. Most of my used the stone materials are the famous four major stone in China are Qingtian, Changhua, Shoushan, and Balin Stone. It makes my works more precious and more valuable. Different types of materials show fascinating effects. The green Changhua stones are good for making bronze. The white Shoushan and pale green Qingtian stones can make beautiful porcelain. The brown Yinhe stones are most efficient for making pottery. The translucent Furong stones are best imitation jade. The russet Balin stones used for making stone teapots, combined with the Yixing purple sand pots are identical. After unremitting practice, I can use stones to replace the original materials on the shape, color, quality, and texture such as using stones to make metal luster, rust spots on bronze, or porcelain into the crystal luster effects. According to stone feature, I can create anything found in nature.

OGP:How can a stone be wonderful? We have benefited a lot from your words. You just mentioned stone teapot making, which is another important creation in your artistic experience. There is a saying: "A good tea set is famous because of the good tea, a store is full because the scent of tea.” Chinese scholars used the tearoom as a place for sharing ideas, which have favor of an honest and rational discourse. The leisurely consumption of tea promoted conviviality and civility amongst the participants. Even today, Chinese tea culture atmosphere is still dynamic and vigorous. A lot of materials can be used for making teapots. The earliest teapots were made of gold, silver, jade and other materials. They were gradually replaced by copper and ceramic tea sets during the Tang and Song dynasties. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the purple sand teapots were popular. As a result of the tea culture, the craftsmen of the pots have paid more and more attention to the practicality and artistry of the tea set, and the shape of the tea sets has become more varied. In addition, the Yixing teapot is unique in the history of Chinese tea set, the stone teapot that you carved with precious stone materials is also unconventional and make conspicuous by everyone. Since you are one of the earliest masters of stone teapot creation, do you have your own artistic sentiments, and special experiences while inheriting the essence of traditional purple sand teapot art designs?

Mr. Zhou:There is a lot of content in my works, which involves tea culture, so I extended it. Actually, the stone teapot is a derivative choice of my creation. I have not only created many extremely tiny stone teapots, but also created hundreds of large stone teapots. In December 1984, I pioneered the first miniature double stone kettle teapot with inkstone as raw materials. The inkstone is pearlite, the surface is smooth and matte. When I finished it, its appearance was quite like purple sand pot. After that, I concentrated on the stone teapot carving. I blended sculpture, calligraphy, and painting into my works, made them more value in practical, ornamental, and collectible. Also I created a stone teapot special making method, that according to the material conditions to carved stone teapots. My each stone teapot can be inverted after the water storage, and the water does not flow out. I put dozen of stone teapots with beautiful shapes, and different sizes pile up a tall pagoda. The largest one is weighs 3.5 kg the smallest one is like a tiny green bean, and weight only 0.24 g. The cover is sand size, but it can still be used perfectly. Its smooth and round, full-featured, and can also be filled with water in the pot. The water is as smooth as the hair, and is as thin as silk, which amazed the audiences.

OGP:We were astounded by your skills! When we looked at the carefully crafted teapots you made, we found you specially attended to the characteristics of the stone, and also incorporated by cultural connotation, artistic conception, carving skills, and personal style. There are very obvious characteristics with your inscription. On the surface of the stone teapots, you engraved several main categories of Chinese traditional calligraphy "Regular Script, Cursive Script, Semi-cursive Scrip, Clerical Script , Seal Script ", including Wei rubbings, Bronze inscriptions, inscriptions on drumn-shapped stone blocks of the Warring States period, Oracle bone script, and others. You also engraved numerous poems and patterns of flowers and animals, etc. It will be Chinese culture, art reflect, and completed together. You created the stone teapots with fame spreads far and wide, such as the "Big Flat Teapot", "Big Three Friends Bunch Firewood Teapot", "Yin Yang Bagua Big Bamboo Teapot", "Big Raft Tree Teapot", "Double Body Stone Teapot”, and so on. These fine stone teapots are sought by many collectors, but few circulated the market. Your nickname is “Shi Wen", and your daughter Zhou Liju's nickname is “Shi Meng”, which means dream of stones. She followed you into studying at the age of 8, and later she continued learning with some famous carving artists in Shanghai. You created the "Dream of Red Mansions" and the "China's Treasure" series together. She also has created miniature Chinese calligraphy works, such as "Dream of Red Mansions" and "miniature rubbings series of the ancient inscriptions", which has been selected into the "Chinese Characters Yearbook" and "Contemporary Chinese Arts and Crafts Grand View" and many other books. Compare with your generalist, Ms. Zhou seems to be a miniature inscription specialist. She used the "dream" in her pseudonyms, it's more intriguing and far-reaching. Does it contain the daughter's worship and respect for her father, and her unremitting pursuit of art and dreams?

Mr. Zhou:Art is the soul, conception, creativity, mind, and internal strength; Skill is the means, practice, extension, and hard work. If only one that you can not success, you must go both ways that your works would gain the value of handed down. The viewability and research of a piece of work depended on three elements: the ideological, the artistic and the interesting. That‘s nature of the work itself. The common audiences can be enjoy, and feel very interesting. The professional audiences can be appreciate, and learning each other. We always said "In art can be found in yourself." Some arts are not new, but they have new ideas and unique styles. My daughter Zhou Liju's "Dream of Red Mansions" stone work have engrave 10.85 million words on 280 precious stones, she used Clerical Script and Seal Script to carving, which the minimum word is only 0.25 squared millimeters. Her other one work "miniature rubbings series of the ancient inscriptions" engraved rubbings of the past dynasties. More than 30 pieces of rubbings were engraved with the Oracle bone script, Bronze inscriptions, inscriptions on drumn-shapped stone blocks of the Warring States period, and many others. She used her vision to engrave in the entire process, without any equipment. There is no end to the art. But I am very pleased that my miniature art career has a continuation from "father to daughter". Whether I am engaged in miniature art or stone teapot making, I always hope that this art can be passed down continuously. Now that I am old, there was indeed a feeling of exhausted when I created some works. Fortunately, "the old man of stones" has a daughter "Dream of Stones”, my daughter has been surpasses to me. I believe she will pass on the "Zhou's miniature art" and carry it forward.

OGP:Most of your life is spent in the world of miniature art. No one can understand how hard it is for you. For the art, you often work for more than a dozen hours. Even if you are afflicted with disease, you have never give up the knife in your hand. Even if you gain a great achievement, you have never enjoyed to luxury life. You have been using almost all of your savings in collecting and buying stones. Except your work, your only hobby is collection, such as royal kiln porcelain, ancient ritual jades, tableware of Russian tsar, gems, etc. These precious artworks and stones were rich and widely collections. Have these collections provided you with artistic inspirations and pleasures?

Mr. Zhou:Correct! For me, collection is also a fun and inspiration. Many collectors visiting my museum left with amazement. I will exchange minds, share ideas, and study together. My physical condition is very bad, but my soul is very strong. I have been carving for a lifetime with rigorous research and has always endeavored my works better. Due to my tenacious belief in the traditional culture of the Chinese nation, and my perseverance in my dreams. I am very cherished in these collections. Always being very careful when I am wiping. I have spent decades of hard work to collect them, and I did not collect for the money and benefits, but from my like. For true collector, the purpose of the collection can not contain extreme utilitarianism, but love and care for things.

OGP:Yes, we strongly agree with your point-of-view. For collectors, knowledge and mindedness are required in life, which are very important. A knowledgeable person, his mindedness is naturally relatively generous. Throughout the ages, those who got a success have a large-minded. What is the great vision? The great vision is a talented, humble and sensible. That is a great wisdom; a warrior is calm and sensible, that is a great courage; a strategist is hidden and cautious, that is a great plan, so they can dare to make great achievements. You are a great collector and artist. We believe that "seeing their friends can read their personality, observing their collections can know their mindedness.” You have interacted with many famous masters such as Chinese painting master Liu Haisu (15*) , Redologist Feng Qiyong (16*), and famous painter Tang Yun (17*), and Ma Chengyuan (18*) curator of Shanghai Museum, etc. We saw a few very interesting photos, one of which is that you were talking with the teapot master Jiang Rong (19*), and other one is you with the Taipei tea expert Fan Zengping (20*), he was very interested in your works. The inner factors of a person's foresight, wisdom, mindedness, and courage are absolutely decided in his way. The beginning of "Yijing" (21*) said: "The earth in its devotion carries all things, good and evil, without exception. In the same way the superior man gives to his character breadth, purity, and sustaining power, so that he is able both to support and to bear with people and things.” Especially in the current relatively impetuous social environment in China, there are many people who use the "art" to pursue their fame and wealth, like you who are worthy of the virtues of the gentleman, it is exactly what is lacking.

Mr. Zhou:The highest virtue a person can attain is like that of water. It reminds people to return to high morality and a noble spirit. (22*) As I told you earlier: "A unique skill has been one on one since ancient times. It's come down to be passed from one generation to another. First, a style or genre of skill is communicating by teachers and students getting along. The students need to imbued to what one had seen and heard. The teacher also has to teach them carefully, and gave all knowledges and skills to their students. Second, a craftsman must have continuous breakthroughs to create the best works, and make an personal style to achieve true art. Third, they can't be driven by fame and fortune. They should have the good quality to lead an honest and clean life. It all comes down to one point, there’s no shortcut to success.” In the ruthless years, I unflinchingly faced trials and tribulations. Although I finished my dream, unfortunately I am too old to continue. All those who succeed in making a difference will have to pursue and give up. Because you can’t keep your cake, and eat it. Others cannot understand the tremendous pressure that the body, and mind are under the aura of this glory. I am agree with Master Gu Jingzhou (23*) said: "Let your works to speaking." I hope that people can watch more my works, and talk with me, so that you will understand me and my works step by step. I am very happy, there are so many audiences who love miniature art and Chinese traditional culture. I hope that a single spark can start a huge blaze, my works also can have a massive effect in the history of traditional miniature art.

OGP:Your reputation of the master is deserved. "Benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and faith" are the criterion that Confucianism (24*) advocates to treat people. Nowadays people, it is still an important spiritual quality. Since the 1980s, your "China's Treasure" has been causing a sensation in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other places. At every art exhibition, the audience often linger in front of your works. It is also praised as “the miniature museum on the countertop” and “the real national treasure art treasure”, which is enough to prove that “Zhou’s miniature art” is the status of traditional culture plays an important role in China. Your miniature works are positioned as traditional Chinese arts and crafts. Unfortunately, we found out that you are often invited to participate in modern art exhibitions, so the audience would also think that your work has the concept of contemporary installation art. What do you think of this point-of-view?

Mr. Zhou:In fact, I am constantly thinking about and constantly improving my own works of various periods. Sometimes I even redo it. Any art must maintain an attitude of advancing with the times, and my art style is both traditional and contemporary. Usually we say that "Art could never be fine enough”. By the same rule, my request for my work is “only bad, not good.” For example, I have done hundreds of tests to solve the problem of glaze effect. The accidental coloring for the Jun kiln is very difficult, and same for the Ru ware. Many experiments have made me exhausted, but ultimately I still didn't give up. I repeatedly to do until got success. Expert all knows that the porcelain need to show the smoothness like mirror, otherwise it‘s not a good porcelain. And the pattern of Chinese ritual bronzes is complicated, every imperial collection is different classification of pieces to carving. It is a difficult to make it, but I like challenge, and enjoy it. Without this experience, you can't appreciate the happiness of success. Many people couldn't understand me, they made up some rumors of me, but I didn't care. I recorded my thoughts and understanding of miniature art with my pen in time. According to this, I have wrote many of my experience notes, which is very good for the miniature art, and my creations. I hope that I can give others more benefit about miniature art.

OGP:The real master is the one that has been searching indefatigably about art. They can tolerate things that people can't stand, and do things that people can't do. They were born for art, and those who are dedicated to art. They push their work to such a zenith level, and success the brilliant work, so that the history of human civilization records their names. The "master" is an outstanding symbol of the field, and represents the human civilization. They must be brave, and not afraid of failure, and nothing would stop them. They have strong perseverance, and a spirit of never giving up. They would continue to be passionate, and this enthusiasm will burn until the end of life, releasing a splendid brilliance. This person is a “master”. You are a magnificent “master”. We thank you for talking, and your intent to write “Gentlemen are like the bright moon light, guiding others to follow his example. I shared the moment with my best friends, hoping this comforting afternoon could last more longer. —— Shi Wen" Please continue to follow OGP .


Postscript
Mr. Zhou is gentle, easygoing, and has extensive knowledge. He is 87 years old, has a strong spirit, clear articulation, and quick response. We spent a wonderful afternoon together in his private collection museum. He patiently introduced us to his many years of hard works and collections. That includes some precious treasures that have never been shown or seen before. He treated every item very carefully, and described the toys he had made, such as miniature small pistols. Also he let us see his other side of a miniature master, who is full of childlike in the life. In the meantime, we also saw the noble qualities, and spirit of a Chinese national master of arts, and crafts. He did his best, and contributed all the time. Over the years, the work has eroded his health and life. He has been working hard, and 1/3 of his stomach has been removed by inhaling too much dust in his early years. In recent years, he has been tortured by the sickness of his body, and repeatedly vomited blood. His body weight is less than a hundred pounds. But he continued his artistic works without regrets and never stopped creating. He believes that cherishing life means leaving meaningful works for future generations in his lifetime. We have to sigh: his heart is crystal clear, and kept jade pure.(25*)by Wang Changling – Seeing off Xin Jian at the Hibiscus Tower.


Note
1* Yasuhiro Nakasone (1918 -) is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 27 November 1982 to 6 November 1987. A contemporary of Brian Mulroney, Ronald Reagan, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Bob Hawke, Margaret Thatcher, Bettino Craxi, Deng Xiaoping, Mikhail Gorbachev and Raúl Alfonsín, he is best known for pushing through the privatization of state-owned companies, and for helping to revitalize Japanese nationalism during and after his term as prime minister.

2* Henry Fok Ying Tung (1923 - 2006) was a Hong Kong businessman. Fok was the vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of PRC since March 1993, and was possibly the most powerful Hongkonger in the politics of the People's Republic of China. In 2006, the Forbes Magazine ranked Henry Fok the 9th wealthiest tycoon in Hong Kong and 181th wealthiest tycoon in the world, with an established net worth of $3.7 billion.

3* Rong Yiren (1916 - 2005) was the Vice President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 1998 and was heavily involved with the opening of the Chinese economy to western investment. Rong is known both in China and in the Western world as "the Red Capitalist" because his family were some of the few pre-1949 industrialists to have been treated well by the Communist Party of China in return for their co-operation with the government of the People's Republic of China. He was listed as one of the richest men in Asia (head the list), with a family fortune of $1.9 billion in 2000. Most of this wealth can be attributed to Rong's son Larry Yung in his role as chair of CITIC Pacific.

4* Han Yu (768 - 824) was a Chinese writer, poet, and government official of the Tang dynasty who significantly influenced the development of Neo-Confucianism. Described as "comparable in stature to Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe" for his influence on the Chinese literary tradition, Han Yu stood for strong central authority in politics and orthodoxy in cultural matters. He is considered by many to be among China's finest prose writers. Ming Dynasty scholar Mao Kun ranked him first among the "Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song".

5* Zhuang Zhou , often known as Zhuangzi, "Master Zhuang"), or Chuang Tzu, was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States period, a period corresponding to the summit of Chinese philosophy, the Hundred Schools of Thought. He is credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name, the Zhuangzi, which is one of the foundational texts of Taoism.

6* The Liezi is a Daoist text attributed to Lie Yukou, a c. 5th century BCE Hundred Schools of Thought philosopher. Liezi is known as one of the three most important texts in Taoism, together with the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzi. Outside of Taoism, the biji genre story Yi Jian Zhi by Hong Mai borrowed the character of Yi Jian, a contemporary of the ancient mythical emperor Yu, from Liezi.

7* Wang Yangming (1472 – 1529), courtesy name Bo'an, was a Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general during the Ming dynasty. After Zhu Xi, he is commonly regarded as the most important Neo-Confucian thinker, with interpretations of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox philosophy of Zhu Xi. Wang was known as "Yangming Xiansheng" and/or "Yangming Zi" in literary circles: both mean "Master Yangming". In China, Japan, and Western countries, he is known by his honorific name rather than his private name.

8* Zhou Rudeng (1547 - 1629), known as "Mr. Haimen." was a scholars and politicians during the Ming dynasty. He was the principal of the Ministry of Works, which was one of the Six Ministries under the Department of State Affairs in imperial China. Zhou Tudeng's writings are quite abundant. The most popular ones have been "Dong Yue Zheng Xue", "Mr. Zhou Haimen's Wen Lu", "Sheng Xue Zong", "Wang Men Zong Zhi", "Si Shu Zong Zhi", "Dharma Wheel" and so on, and edited "Sheng Yi Zhi”.

9* Jinshi was the highest and final degree in the imperial examination in Imperial China, and also derivative systems in Korea, Vietnam, and to some extent Japan. The jinshi has been compared to a modern doctoral degree.The jinshi degree was first created after the institutionalization of the civil service exam. Most senior officials of the Song Dynasty were jinshi holders.

10* Dream of Red Mansions, or Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, composed by Cao Xueqin, is one of China's Four Great Classical Novels. It was written sometime in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing dynasty. Long considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature, the novel is generally acknowledged to be the pinnacle of Chinese fiction. "Redology" is the field of study devoted exclusively to this work. Red Chamber is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the rise and decline of author Cao Xueqin's own family and, by extension, of the Qing Dynasty. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese society.

11* The National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (NDRC), formerly State Planning Commission and State Development Planning Commission, is a macroeconomic management agency under the Chinese State Council, which has broad administrative and planning control over the Chinese economy. The NDRC's functions are to study and formulate policies for economic and social development, maintain the balance of economic development, and to guide restructuring of China's economic system.

12* Expo 2010, officially the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, was held on both banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010. It was a major World Expo registered by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), in the tradition of international fairs and expositions, the first since 2000. The theme of the exposition was "Better City, Better Life" and signifies Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as the "next great world city". It had the largest number of countries participating and was the most expensive Expo in the history of the world's fairs. The Shanghai World Expo was also the largest World's Fair site ever at 5.28 square km. By the end of the expo, over 73 million people had visited – a record attendance – and 246 countries and international organizations had participated. On 16 October 2010, the expo set a single-day record of over 1.03 million visitors.

13* Redology is the academic study of Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of China. There is now a whole field of study known in China as ‘Redology’.

14* The Daguanyuan, variously translated as Grand View Garden or Prospect Garden, is a large landscaped interior garden in the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber, built within the compounds of the Rongguo Mansion. It is the setting for much of the story.

15* Liu Haisu (1896 – 1994) was a prominent twentieth-century Chinese painter and a noted art educator. He excelled in Chinese painting and oil painting. He was one of the four pioneers of Chinese modern art who earned the title of "The Four Great Academy Presidents”. In 1910 he opened a painting school in his county. In 1912, together with Wu Shiguang and Zhang Yunguang, he founded the first school of fine arts in modern China, Shanghai Academy of Chinese Painting, the former Shanghai School of Fine Arts. He lectured in Beijing University and held his first personal exhibition in 1918. He went to Japan in October 1920 to attend the opening ceremony of Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, and after he returned, he wrote "Biography of Jean-François Millet" and "Biography of Paul Cézanne" to introduce western arts into China.He was a teacher of Pan Yuliang, a Chinese female artist who brought Western influence into Chinese painting.

16* Feng Qiyong (1924 - 2017), a renowned Chinese scholar, famous for his contributions to Redology, the study of the famous Qing Dynasty novel A Dream of Red Mansions, Feng headed the team that worked on the 1982 version of the novel published by the People's Literature Publishing House. With its numerous corrections and annotations, this version remains the best-selling edition of the Chinese classic. Feng wrote more than 20 books on Chinese literature and history, as well as was the head editor for dictionaries on A Dream of Red Mansions and encyclopedias of Chinese art.

17* Tang Yun (1910 - 1993), was famous painter. He was good at flowers and birds, landscapes, figures, poetry and painting are described to wonderland. He served as a council member of the Chinese Artists Association, vice chairman of the Shanghai Branch of the Chinese Artists Association, member of the Chinese Painting Academy, deputy dean of the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy, honorary director of the Chinese Calligraphers Association Shanghai Branch, director of Xiling Seal Art Society, member of the Shanghai Cultural Relics Storage Committee, Honorary Dean of the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy, and the Shanghai Museum Appraisal Committee.

18* Ma Chengyuan (1927 – 2004) was a Chinese archaeologist, epigrapher, and president of the Shanghai Museum. He was credited with saving priceless artifacts from destruction during the Cultural Revolution, and was instrumental in raising funds and support for the rebuilding of the Shanghai Museum. He was a recipient of the John D. Rockefeller III Award, and was awarded the Legion of Honour by French President Jacques Chirac. Ma was an authority on ancient Chinese bronzes and published more than 80 books and academic papers, including a 16-volume encyclopedia of the bronzes. He was responsible for recovering ancient relics including the Jin Hou Su Bianzhongs and Warring States period bamboo strips, which are now considered China's national treasures.

19* Jiang Rong, alias Lin Feng, was an outstanding female artist, and renowned contemporary pottery master. In 1955, she joined the Shushan Pottery Manufacturing Co-op (which became Yixing Zisha Factory later) and assumed the post of instructor for the Zisha Arts, and Craft Classes. “Nine Fruits”, one of her masterpieces, was presented by then premier Zhou EnLai as an official gift during one of his overseas visits. She was honoured as one of the “Seven Zisha Artists” by the Jiangsu Province in early 1956. In 1978, she was conferred the title of the Arts and Crafts Master, and subsequently the Senior Arts and Crafts Master honour by the nation in 1989 and the Grand Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts by the nation in 1995. Her works are renowned at home and abroad. Her lifetime works have won her the highest prestige among veteran masters. What she has achieved in Zisha pot-making is comparable to Yang Fengnian of the Qing Dynasty.

20* Fan Zengping(1945 - ) born in Taiwan, is a director of the Taipei-based Chinese Tea Culture Association, Professor of Mingxin University of Science and Technology, ‘Visiting Professor of Tea Industry Department in Anhui Agricultural University, and China Tea Culture Research Institute, Honorary Director of China International Tea Culture Research Association. His published books, include "Taiwan Tea Culture Theory", "Taiwan Tea Industry Development History", "Chinese Tea Art", "Life Tea House", "Life Tea Science", "Cup of Good Tea", "Taiwan Tea" Interviews, "Interview with Chinese Tea People", "Taiwan Tea Art View", and a lot of thesis.

21* Ten Wings, also called Yijing, or Zhouyi, is a collection of commentaries to the classical Chinese Book of Changes traditionally ascribed to Confucius. It's one of the most important Confucian classics. It has not only influenced Confucian and especially Neo-Confucian thinking but is also deeply rooted in the Daoist tradition. It is so important that the discipline of yixue "Yijing studies" came into being.

22* by Laozi, the founder of Daoism, who lived around the same time as Thales, gave this answer: “The person with the best morality is like water: He can nurture everything and everyone around him will receive his help. He will treat himself lower than everyone just as water accommodates the rivers, lakes, and oceans, being all-encompassing. He will be as soft as water, never fighting with others. With time, water can even change the shapes of rocks and mountains and so too can the most cold-hearted people be transformed.”

23* Gu Jingzhou (1915 - 1996) was a Chinese ceramic artist who specialised in the creation of zisha-ware teapots. He was a founder and Deputy Director of Research and Technology at the Number One Yixing Factory. He wrote and researched the topic of zisha-ware extensively, and was granted the title "Master of Chinese Industrial Art". Works by Gu are highly valued, and sell for as much as $2 million.

24* Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BCE).

25* It is a poem by Wang Changling, who was a major Tang dynasty poet. “Seeing off Xin Jian at the Hibiscus Tower: You arrived in the Wu region when icy rain rendered the river full, Now at dawn I'm seeing you off to cross the isolated mountains of Chu. If my family and friends in Luoyang asked about my situation, You could say that my heart is crystal clear and kept jadeite pure. ”


* By OGP Editors / Zhou Changxing, and Zhong Lingqiang Provides File Photos


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