An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Molin jinhua 墨林今話

May 5, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Molin jinhua 墨林今話 is a book on painting written during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Jiang Baoling 蔣寶齡 (17791-1840), courtesy name Ziting 子延, style Xiazhu 霞竹 or Qindong Waishi 琴東外史, from Zhaowen 昭文 near Changshu 常熟, Jiangsu, and continued by his son Jiang Chensheng 蔣茞生, courtesy name Zhongli 仲籬. Jiang was famous for his landscape paintings and for his poetry, and lived from the selling of his artworks.

The book of 18 juan length was finished in 1840, but Jiang died before it was published. The son revised the work and realized the publication in 1852, after adding information on contemporary painters in one fascicle. One might say that the book continued earlier texts on Qing-period painters, mainly Zhang Geng's 張庚 (1685-1760) Guochao huazheng lu 國朝畫徵錄 and Feng Bojin's 馮金伯 (1738-1810) Moxiangju huashi 墨香居畫識. For the painters already mentioned in these two books, Jiang only provides brief information. The whole text describes, in the style of a critical history of poetry (shihua 詩話), the lives and artistic achievements of no less than 1,560 painters. For some outstanding paintings, the author gives information on the content and composition, notes inscribed (ti-ba 題跋) and seals applied, and rates their quality.

Shi Shijun 舒士俊 (1996). "Molin jinhua 墨林今話", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 888.
Tao Mingjun 陶明君, ed. (1993). Zhongguo hualun cidian 中國畫論辭典 (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe), 321.
Qi Tinggui 戚廷貴, Liu Xiaoyan 劉孝嚴, Tang Fanshu 唐樹凡, eds. (1992). Dong-xifang yishu cidian 東西方藝術辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 625.
Xue Yongnian 薛永年 (1992). "Molin jinhua 墨林今話", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 574.