Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: New Method of Taichi Chuan Self-Cultivation

Cheng Tien-hsi's Calligraphy to
Master Cheng's New Method of Taichi Self-Cultivation

In 1965, Cheng decided to re-write the explanation of his 37 posture form into a more detailed format. He then combined his Thirteen Chapters with this new explanation, and titled the single work, New Method of Taichi Chuan Self-Cultivation. Wu Ching-heng's cover calligraphy to the original Thirteen Chapters was replaced with calligraphy by the outstanding statesman and jurist, Cheng Tien-hsi. Wu had died a decade earlier and was in no position to be offended.
When negotiating this book's translation, I was unable to convince the publ
isher at North Atlantic to use the original cover. Publishers protect their right to determine a book's cover as closely as writers guard the work's content. As it is, North Atlantic produced a wonderful cover, as always. Working with the parameters of the situation, I then decided to reprint the original cover on the inside of the first page, thereby making the cover "content" and thereupon under my control.
Cheng Tien-hsi
鄭天錫 (1884-1970), was a close friend and confidant of Wang Ch'ung-hui, mentioned in a previous post. Cheng was Wang's successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (1936-1942), China's Ambassador to Britain during WWII, President of the Examination Yuan, roving ambassador at large to multiple areas of the world, in addition to countless other official titles. He authored a book on Confucianism which is still widely read today, and has scholarships and prizes in his name from several Taiwanese universities and at University College in London.
Cheng Man-ch'ing's personal relationship to Cheng Tien-hsi is never explained, and Man-ch'ing's choice of Tien-hsi as a calligrapher for his book on taichi seems to be, as usual, politically motivated to garner the utmost influence and prestige.Chinese Ambassador to England, Cheng Tien-hsi, reviews Chinese sailors.


At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

I was just starting at North Atlantic when your book was in the process. I took over as project editor, but I never heard about your cover request. If I had I would have pushed for it! I always prefer calligraphy type covers to photo montages.

How has work been coming on Cheng's other material, have you had a chance to finish any to your satisfaction? The material you sent over the years was quite interesting.


Jess O'Brien
former Martial Arts Editor at NAB


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