Gazing into the Past Lectures by James Cahill
Gazing into the Past Lectures
1. Wang Meng and His "Qingbian Mountains"
We begin our new series with a prolonged look, in many detail images, at one of the great landscapes of the Yuan period, Wang Meng’s “Dwelling in the Qingbian Mountains,” painted in 1366. I attempt to set it in both art-historical and historical contexts, and include visual treatments of other Wang Meng paintings as comparisons.
2. Cheng Shifa
A fond and respectful presentation of the paintings of this recent Shanghai master, whose great potential may have suffered from the over-popularity of some of his paintings. This lecture partakes of the autobiographical, since Cheng Shifa, during his later years, was a good friend of your lecturer.
3. Huang Gongwang
Another of the “Four Great Masters” of late Yuan landscape, and the one who would most profoundly set the course for much of later scholar-amateur painting, here receives an encompassing visual treatment that looks at all his known extant works. Aspects of his brushwork and his influential landscape style are revealed in close-in details.
4. Orthodox Masters and Shao Mi
After a look at some works by members of the “Orthodox” school of landscape in the late Ming and early Qing periods, the so-called Four Wangs, we explore at length the leaves in a strange and fascinating album of “dream” landscapes by the less-known Suzhou master Shao Mi.
5A. The Hikkoen Album I
This “Garden Plowed by the Brush” is a collective album in the Tokyo National Museum made up of sixty small Chinese paintings, mostly of Song and Yuan date and entertainingly diverse in subject and style. We examine these at length, using original images and details, and putting them in context with similar paintings. Part I.
5B. The Hikkoen Album II
This “Garden Plowed by the Brush” is a collective album in the Tokyo National Museum made up of sixty small Chinese paintings, mostly of Song and Yuan date and entertainingly diverse in subject and style. We examine these at length, using original images and details, and putting them in context with similar paintings. Part II.
6. Shitao's Album for Daoist Yu
Everybody’s favorite work by this greatest of the Individualist masters, once owned by Victoria Contag, later by C. C. Wang, present whereabouts unknown—but viewable in images made from the original album, with lots of visually exciting details. A feast for the eyes hard to match in the Chinese or any other painting tradition.
7. More Wang Meng Paintings
8. Four Pictorial Handscrolls and an Album
9. The Shen Zhou Album
14. Chen Hongshou and "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove"
18A, preface. Pictorial Woodblock Printing in China
Professor Cahill prefaces the main lecture on pictorial woodblock printing in China by first introducing the materials, tools, and techniques of Chinese painting practice. He also discusses print-adjacent mediums, like rubbings.
18A, part 2. Pictorial Woodblock Printing in China
19A. Sesshu and Chinese Painting
This lecture expands on the observation I made in the postlude to our first series, "A Pure and Remote View," that the great achievements of the ink monochrome landscape paintings of the Song Dynasty are scarcely carried out in post-Song China, but instead were taken up in the Japanese development of ink monochrome landscape paintings.
19B. Sesshu and Chinese Painting
In this continuation of my lecture on Sesshu, I discuss his strangely neglected twenty-two-leaf album of ink monochrome landscape paintings. I make the case that it is not only a genuine work by him, but a work that is deeply important in understanding his relationship to Chinese painting, especially that of the Southern Song period. I show his transition from a Chinese-influenced artist to a thoroughly Japanese master.
19C. More Sesshu Landscapes
In this conclusion of my lecture on Sesshu, I offer no new scholarly materials, but rather simply show some more images of his landscape paintings and talk about them freely. Many details are presented, and several images suggest that Sesshu may very likely have painted some works from locations in China.
20. Continuation of Song Professional and Academic Landscapes
Large numbers of Chinese paintings from early times were lost, but some were taken to Japan and preserved there. In this lecture, I show and discuss Song landscapes as practiced by the real artists—the professional or vocational masters who made up the main tradition, and whose works we know through their preservation in both China and Japan. Following this, I show and discuss images of paintings of post-Song works that continue the great tradition.
21. BAM Sakaki Hyakusen Lecture
Based on a talk I gave at the Berkeley Art Museum, this video lecture deals with a pair of screens painted by Sakaki Hyakusen. I purchased them and donated them to the museum. The brushwork and compositions suggest that Hyakusen had significant knowledge of Chinese works of art. One of the goals of this talk was to encourage funding to help restore these screens.
22A. Chinese Paintings of Beautiful Women ("Meiren" Part 1)
22B. Chinese Paintings of Beautiful Women ("Meiren" Part 2)
23. The Huangshan Album Attributed to Hongren
This video lecture is based on a controversial paper that I wrote on the Huangshan Album. The paper was presented and published in China, but has never been published in English, largely owing to the large number of illustrations that would be required to support my argument—a problem solved by the video presentation format. My contention is that the Huangshan Album was incorrectly attributed to Hongren and should be attributed to his less famous and older contemporary, Xiao Yuncong.
24. Continuations of Chan Ink Painting into Ming-Qing and Type Images
This video lecture is based on a paper that I wrote of the same name. I present here two main arguments. First, that Chan painting, generally thought to have ended during the beginning of Ming, continued to be practiced in Chan monasteries in later centuries, though not well preserved. Second, that the motifs and styles that survived in this tradition, which could be called "type images," were painted in ink monochrome by both amateurs and professionals of the era.