Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Chien

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3672722Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Wang ChienJohn C. Ferguson

WANG Chien 王鑑 (T. 圓照, H. 玄照, 湘碧, 染香庵主人), 1598–1677, a native of T'ai-ts'ang, Kiangsu, was a great-grandson of Wang Shih-chên (see under Ch'ên Chi-ju), in recognition of whose distinguished services Wang Chien was made prefect of Lien-chou, modern Ho-p'u-hsien, Kwangtung, during the reign of the last Ming emperor (see under Chu Yu-chien). Although he did not remain at this post for any length of time before retiring to private life, he is commonly known as Wang Lien-chou 王廉州 after the prefecture in which he served. He was fond of painting, and in this art had the great advantage of owning a rich collection of old pictures which he inherited from his great-grandfather. He was a landscape painter in the style of Tung Yüan (see under Tung Pang-ta) and Chü-jan (see under Tung Ch'i-ch'ang), but he also studied the works of many other prominent artists, which he copied diligently. He was thus able to combine many of the best points of other artists with the general style of Tung Yüan. His work shows the care in execution and the exactness and freedom that come with a thorough mastery of all the intricacies of the art.

Wang Chien was a few years younger than Wang Shih-min [q. v.] and really belonged to a later generation, but in the field of painting they were the closest of friends. These two distinguished artists were chiefly responsible for carrying the Ming tradition over into the new era of the Ch'ing. They had both received their early training in painting during the last years of the Ming and lived on until the Ch'ing dynasty was firmly established. Both of them believed in thorough training, and in this they laid the foundation for painters of the Ch'ing period. They were generous in giving help to the young artists of their time, among whom Wang Hui [q. v.] later became the most celebrated.

A few of Wang Chien's annotations on paintings may be found in the Hua-hsüeh hsin yin (see under Wang Hui) under the heading 染香庵畫跋 Jan-hsiang an hua-pa.

[1/509/1b; 3/428/35b; 20/1/00 (portrait); 畫史彙傳 Hua-shih hui-chuan (1825) 29/3a; Wu Wei-yeh [q. v.], Mei-ts'un chia-ts'ang kao 19/1a; L.T.C.L.H.M. pp. 69–71.]

John C. Ferguson