Tuhua jianwen zhi 圖畫見聞志 is a history of painting written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Guo Ruoxu 郭若虛 (fl. 1071) from Taiyuan 太原, Shanxi. His father and grandfather were great collectors of ancient paintings, but their private collection was sold when Ruoxu was a young boy. Later on, he attempted to buy back the paintings.
The book of 6 juan length is mentioned in the bibliographical chapter of the statecraft encyclopaedia Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考, but with the name title Minghua jianwen zhi 名畫見聞志, while other book catalogues call it with the transmitted title. Guo's book is written as a sequel to Zhang Yanyuan's 張彥遠 (815-907) Lidai minghua ji 歷代名畫記, and thus explains the works of painters from the late Tang 唐 (618-907) to the early Song period. The first part, Xulun 敘論, lists books on painting, from Xie He's 謝赫 Gu huapin lu 古畫品錄 to Liu Daochun's 劉道醇 (c. 1028-1098) Benchao huaping 本朝畫評 (Songchao minghua ping 宋朝名畫評).
The main part of Guo's book are fascicles 2-4 that present an "art record" (ji yi 紀藝) of 291 painters through the centuries. It is interesting to see that Guo Ruoxu did take into consideration paintings of all genres, from portraits and landscape painting to images of flowers and birds. Juan 5 and 6 (Gushi shiyi 故事拾遺, Jinshi 近事) includes 27 important facts or stories (32 resp.) about individual painters.
Just like Zhang's Lidai minghua ji, the Tuhua jianwen zhi is an important source on the history of painting in ancient China. Guo quoted from older texts, but without providing references. Some sources can be reconstructed, like Guanghua xinji 廣畫新集, Jiangnan hualu 江南畫錄, Jiangnan hualu shiyi 江南畫錄拾遺, Guang Liangchao huamu 廣梁朝畫目 or Shengchao minghua ping 聖朝名畫評. As to those books that have nor survived the ages, Guo's quotations are the only surviving parts. Guo's rating of painters is influenced by their social position.
The text is included in the series Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Sibu congkan xubian 四部叢刊續編, Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編. A modern, annotated edition was published 1986 by the Sichuan Meishu Chubanshe 四川美術出版社.
|嘗試論之。竊觀自古奇迹，多是軒冕才賢，巖穴上士。依仁遊藝，探賾鉤深，高雅之情，一寄於畫。人品既已高矣，氣韻不得不高；氣韻既已高矣，生動不得不至。所謂神之又神，而能精焉。凡畫必周氣韻，方號世珍。不爾雖竭巧思，止同眾工之事。雖曰畫，而非畫。||Let me make this clear: the great masterpieces of the past were created mostly by great scholars of high position, or by hermits living close to nature. Because they lived the lives of true men and sought relaxation in the arts, steeped themselves in them, this high thinking and elevation of spirit found expression in their paintings. The tone and atmosphere of the paintings was high because the character of the artist was high, and when the tone and atmosphere was high, the picture became full of life. As we say, such work is the top of the very best, and seems to capture the spirit of things. All paintings must have this rich, vital tone and atmosphere to be called a masterpiece. Otherwise, the most elaborate work will provide something similar to that of commercial artists. It is called painting, but is not.|
Source: Lin 1967: 82.