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Title: Shirley's Art 780- Story Behind My Paintings-Chinese Gongbi-42 - A 145-Shirley's 175th Assignment in Chinese National Academy of Arts -Feb,2012
Artist: Shirley Zhang
Size: cm(inches) x cm (inches) on the Silk
Completed Time: Feb 3, 2013
This is my 780th painting since 2003and the 42nd Chinese Gongbi Painting, also it is the 175th assignment that I have completed in Chinese National Academy of Arts .

In the several thousand years' history of China, Confucianism has been the main controlling ideas of the different dynasties.

One of the most important thoughts of the Confucianism is 孝:Xiao -- filial piety. It is the foundation of education of Confucianism, which advocates obeying not only the parents but also all levels of authorities.

There were always some great model people as the examples of the filial piety in the dynasties of past ages.

For example, in Han Dynasty (206 BC - 221), Liu Xiang edited a book named 《孝子传》: Xiaozi Zhuan - Biographies of the Dutiful Sons; in Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368), Guo Jujing (the second versions was his young brother Guo Shouzhen; the third version was Guo Juye) edited the book 《二十四孝》: Er Shi Si Xiao - Twenty -Four Dutiful Sons,the full name was 《全相二十四孝诗选》- Anthology of Twenty-Four Dutiful Sons.

The book 《二十四孝》: Er Shi Si Xiao - Twenty -Four Dutiful Sons wrote 24 good sons from different angles, circumstances and situations, to admire how they treated their parents with their affecting stories of filial piety.

As the popular literatures of Confucianism to admire the filial piety and Confucianism thoughts, most of the printed books included paintings. Therefore, it was also called 《二十四孝图》: Er Shi Si Xiao Tu -- The Pictures of the Twenty-Four Dutiful Sons. Most of their stories came from 《孝子传》: Xiaozi Chuan - Biographies of the Dutiful Sons, few of them came from the other books.

Since I am studying in Chinese National Academy of Arts, I have touched 3 different versions of the 《二十四孝图》: Er Shi Si Xiao Tu -- The Pictures of the Twenty-Four Dutiful Sons. One was by Mr. Ren Bonian (1840—1896)in Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912); another one was by Mr. Chen Shaomei (1909 -1954); the third one does not know who created them.

Since Mr. Ren Bonian was acknowledged the greatest portrait painter in the times of Ming Dynasty (1368-1683) and Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911),and he is one of my favorite artists, therefore, I would like to learn from him to paint all of the 24 paintings one by one.

Meanwhile, I would like to translate all of them into English and try to introduce them to you.

I started this work in Chinese National Academy of Arts last semester and I have drafted the first 2 stories of them in Beijing, but, I forgot to bring them with me back Shenzhen in my winter vacation .

So, this week, I tried to paint the last and the 24th story in the list, but my first painting of the series stories: 黄庭坚 – Huang Tingjian (1045-1105)in Song Dynasty, to see how Mr. Huang treated his mother:

Huang Tingjian (1045-1105) was from Jiang Xi Province. He was a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations in 1067. Then he became an officer to manage the character jobs, to be the editor in chief to record the big events of the emperor, the confidential secretary of the emperor.

Huang Tingjian was famous on his articles, poems, lyrics and calligraphy in the Northern Song or Earlier Song Dynasty (960-1127), was one of the four students of Su Shi.

On Poem, he was the founder of the Jiangxi Poetic School. With Su Shi together, both of them were called "Su and Huang".

On Lyrics, he had the equal reputation as Qin Guan.

On Calligraphy, he was with Su Shi, Mi Fu, Cai Xiang together were called :" the Great Four Calligraphers"

Huang Tingjian was considerate and respectful to our parents, no mater big or small things, as long as his parents wanted or needed, he would do his best.

When he was an 太史: Tai Shi -- official historian, he was quite busy and there were servants enough in his home, he still looked after his mother in person in his free time.

There was no any washing room then, for being convenient with people to go to the toilet, they put a night pail ( nightstool) inside in the night time.

Huang Tingjian's mother was quite love clean, for assuring his old mother was comfortable and for avoiding the servants' serve could not make his mother satisfy, Huang Tingjian poured and cleaned the night pail for his mother in person for several decades, and never stopped for one day.

Someone did no understand him and asked: you were a high rank officer and there were so many servitors, why did you do these small things and even scrubed the night pail these kinds of menial jobs in person?

Huang Tingjian answered: treat our parents well and in fealty, was my obligation, it was no any relationship with my own status and position. How could I let the servitors do that for me? And besides, to treat parents in filial piety was base on my nature with a sincerely grateful heart to my parents, how could we distinguish the jobs to be noble or ignoble?

Therefore, in his times, Huang Tingjian got much respect because of his filial piety. Su Shi admired him "瑰伟之文,妙绝当世;孝友之行,追配古人。" -- His articles were marvelous and great, wonderful and perfect in the present age; his sentiment of showing filial obedience and the friendliness of brothers could compare favorably with the ancient people.

With much respect to Mr. Huang Tingjian, I completed this painting and wrote this article.

I do hope that my effort will be some help with you to learn Chinese culture and art.

How do you think of my new painting? Do you enjoy it?

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please write to or leave your message on Message Board.

Feb 5, 2013(Chinese Time)