chengmanching

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Hermit of Jade Well


Hermit of Jade Well, seal (square relief) ca. 1948


Hermit of Jade Well, signature, ca. 1947



Hermit of Jade Well became Cheng Man-ch'ing's primary sobriquet sometime during the 1940's. As I noted in my work, A Journey Toward Unadorned Sponteneity, the Tang Poet Han Yu (768-824) once wrote:

"Atop Mount T'ai Hua's precipice grows a lotus in a jade well,
Its petals blossom ten feet high and drift like a
boat." [1]

Chinese eremtic literature often posits jewels and other valuable gems throughout the environs inhabited by hermits and recluses to show that these men are so utterly indifferent to wealth and social status that piles of worldy goods lie ungathered upon the ground.


[1] See The Collected Works of Han Chang Li, vol., 3, “Ancient Thoughts,” 韓愈全集 、《古意》、太華峰頭玉井蓮開花十丈藕如船·

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