Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Song of Taichi Chuan: Music by Lu Su, Words by Cheng Man-ch'ing 2nd

Add another talent to the growing list of talents exhibited by Cheng Man-ch'ing: lyricist. Though this one is surely not an excellence. No, I do not mean Sung Dynasty "lyric" poetry (he already has a book of those.) I mean lyricist as in Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart.
The Song of Taichi Chuan, for very good reasons, was never published in the 1981 North Atlantic version of Cheng's Simplfied Mthod of Calisthenics for Health and Self Defense, though the English version printed in Taiwan still reprints the song.
From a professional musician’s point of view, the song is a pathetic piece of musical triteness. Sure, it possesses a sprightly rhythm reminiscent of that Communist Chinese immortal tune, “Let’s All Work for the Five Year Reconstruction Plan.” And yes, it does contain the eloquent depth of the Kuomintang ditty, “Communist Bandits, Beware Chiang’s Return!” The second phrase in Cheng's song, "You will become good health and happiness," can only really be appreciated when one tries to fit the words into the music.
Then there is the question: Who the heck is the lyricist Cheng Man-ch'ing 2nd?
Why has his lyrics been inexplicably excised from Cheng’s American edition? Why was the American public been unaccountably shielded from the detrimental humorous effects of this opus?
More importantly,
who excised the authorized song from the American edition? Who authored the excised song? Who exercised their authority? Who authorized the excision?
Pressing questions, to be sure.

I await a competent choral of taichi enthusiasts to rehearse and record this long forgotten favorite and make the ensuing recording available via the internet, for the good of the nation !

P.S. If the jpeg image of the song is illegible, consider yourself fortunate and delve no further. According to one Cheng disciple in SF, most of Cheng's works were "never intented for viewing by the American audience." On this one point I just may agree with him.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing:1956, A Simplified Method of Calisthenics for Health and Self Defense

Beauson Tseng, circa 1953

Cheng Man-ch'ing turned to the noted scholar and translator, Beauson Tseng (1899-1967) 程天放,to translate Cheng's Chinese text into English. Mr. Tseng was an English professor at Taiwan Normal University, and in 1953 accepted the post of President of the newly constructed Tunghai University. He had an illustrious career in Taiwan, culiminaitng in his appointment as Minister for Education.
The text itself is rather shallow and the English translation rather urbane. The original Chinese text for the book has never been officially published, except in private copy.
Of particular note, however, is Cheng's description of, "How To Uproot Your Opponent." This section is altogether absent from the Chinese version, and it was not until the mid-eighties that some energetic practioners translated the English back into Chinese.
In addition to this section being omitted from the Chinese text, the English text published by North Atlantic omits what is certainly one of the most comical songs ever created, the musical number entitled, Song of Taichi. In order to correct this obvious oversight, and to provide the musically inclined a good laugh, I am including a copy of this song, for all the world to sing, in my next posting.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: New Method, Ku Wei-chun's Introduction

Wellington Ku, 1921
Photographed in his Chinese Diplomatic Uniform of navy blue cloth, embroidered with corn sheaves in gold with gilt buttons, engraved with the letters RC (Republique Chinoise) in the centre, surrounded by the Chinese motif symbolizing five blessings.Star and sash of The Precious Brilliant Golden Grain (Republic of China); Star of The Golden Grain (Republic of China); Star of The Order of George I (Greece).

The first Introduction that appears in Cheng Man-ch'ing New Method is by Ku Wei-chun, known in the West as Wellington Ku.

Wellington Koo 顧 維鈞 (1887-1985) is best remembered today as a Kuomingtang Chinese diplomat and a representative to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.
Born in Shanghai, China, he travelled to the United States in 1904 to study Western culture.Koo returned to China to attend Saint John’s University in Shanghai, and then went on to study at Columbia College. Where, in 1912 he received his PhD in international law and diplomacy. He returned to China to serve as the President's English Secretary. In 1915 Koo was made Chinese Minister to the United States.
In 1919 he was one of the Chinese delegates to the Paris Peace Conference. The Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference was the only nation that did not sign the Treaty of Versailles, demanding that Japan return Shandong to China. He continually engaged Western countries to end all imperialist institutions such as extraterritoriality, tariff controls, legation guards, and lease holds.

Koo also was involved in the formation of the League of Nations as China's first representative to that body. He was acting president of China from 1926-1927 during a period of chaos in Beijing. He later served as Foreign Minister under Zhang Zuolin, and represented China at the League of Nations to protest the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. He served as the Chinese Ambassador to France from 1936-1940 until France was occupied by Germany. Afterwards he was the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom until 1946. In 1945 Koo was one of the founding members of the United Nations. Afterwards he was the Ambassador to the United States trying to maintain the alliance between the Republic of China and the United States as the Kuomintang began losing to the Chinese Communists and had to retreat to Taiwan.

Ku in later years, wearing a fine wing-tip collar white shirt and black judicial robes posing in front of what apears to be a transparent window (unknown construction)

Koo retired from the Chinese diplomatic service in 1956 after 44 years and two world wars. He was China's most experienced and respected diplomat. In 1956 Koo became the Vice-president and judge in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. In 1967 he retired and moved to New York City where he spent the rest of his life with family and friends until his death in 1985 at the age of 98.

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.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: 1947 Thirteen Chapters, Chiang Kai-shek's Introduction

Strengthen and Build Both Mind and Body
to Comrade Man-ch'ing
Chiang Chung-Cheng

Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石 (1887-1975) requires no introduction to the average reader. Cheng Man-ch'ing's relationship with Chiang most likely began after Cheng's 1941 marriage to Ting Wei-chuang, daughter of the first Air Marshall of the Republic. Cheng's staunch anti-communist, anti-Imperialist Japanese sentiments, together with his profound scholarship, was just the right mix the Generalissimo searched for to support his politcal and power base. First, to fight the War of Resistance against the Japanese, and later, to counter Mao Tse-tung's Cultural Revolution with his own Cultural Rennaisance.
During Cheng's early years in Taiwan, he would often accompany Chiang and his wife, Soong Mei-ling, on excursions to the countryside. Soong Mei-ling eventually asked Cheng to teach her his artistry in floral painting--Huang Chun-pi
黃君璧 became her landscape teacher.
Most of Chiang Kai-shek's calligraphy was written by a secretary of his, as is common with presidents, movie stars and the like. It is likely, however, due to Cheng's relationship with the "Gimo," that this calligraphy is authentic.
Today, Chiang Kai-shek is universally acknowledged as having been a ruthless, murdering, despot whose brutal repression and butchering of intellectuals and peasants virtually sealed the failure of the Kuomingtang government, the subsequent loss of its control over the mainland, the loss of its United Nation's seat, and its eventual demise over absolute control of Taiwan.
Cheng's friendship with the Chiang, whether prompted by political alligience or personal security, remains a subject for investigation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: 1947 Thirteen Chapters, Wang Ch'ung-hui's Dedication

The mysterious art of Taichi, interlaces and penetrates the hundred vessels.
It bestows longevity, cures illnesses, and is a teaching the entire world may follow.
With profound study a nourishment is achieved that garners praise and admiration.

Dedicated to
Mr. Man-ch'ing and his Thirteen Chapters on Taichi Chuan.
Wang Ch'ung-hui.

It would be difficult to underestimate the importance of a man like Wang Ch'ung-hui.王寵惠 1881–1958, the foremost Chinese jurist of modern times. Educated in China, Japan, Europe, and the United States Wang was greatly influenced by Sun Yat-sen. In 1912, Wang became the first Minister of Justice of the Chinese republic. An important figure in the Kuomintang, he held numerous positions in the field of Chinese and international law. He was Chief Justice of the Chinese Supreme Court (1920), Minister of Justice (1922, 1927–31), Deputy Judge (1923–25), and Judge of the World Court (1931–36). Wang was also Minister of Education (1926), and President of the Judicial Yuan (1928–31, 1948–50).

Sun Yat-sen's Cabinet Ministers, circa 1920. Wang Ch'ung-hui is to the immediate right of the seated Sun Yat-sen.Second from left is Yu Yu-jen.

Wang Ch'ung-hui, (front seated, fourth from left), to the right of Yu Yu-jen, and Chiang Kai-shek. This photo taken in the mid-50's outside the Presidential Palace in Taipei.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: 1947 Thirteen Chapters, Yu Yu-jen's Dedication

Portrait of Yü Yu-jen

The first Dedication contained in Cheng's 1947 Thirteen Chapters is by one of the great figures in Republican Chinese modern history; Yü Yu-jen 于右任 (1879-1964).
Yü Yu-jen was a noted poet, a world famous calligrapher who specialzed in cursive script, a close confidant of Sun Yat-sen, and then Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Legislative Yuan, editor of three newspapers, and much more. He was a towering figure who sported a long flowing beard and wore traditional Chinese garb. His friendship with Cheng was of inestimable value.
His Dedication to Cheng's book is a well composed piece of literature written in cursive script.







三七十年十一月 于右任

"Mr. Man-ch'ing studied the inner teachings of taichi chuan with Yang Ch'eng-fu. Through his fullness of scholarly vigor, depth of medical knowledge, and with the immediacy of strengthening the individual and rebuilding the nation, he has authored an exceptional book that expounds the essential principles needed to learn taichi chuan. He explains the Taoist theory of attaining softness and the Mencian principle of nourishing ch'i entirely with the laws of modern physics.
This inspired work is trully excellent educational material on our national arts."

37th year (1948) Eleventh month. Yü Yu-jen

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: 1947 Thirteen Chapters Frontpiece

Many practioners of Cheng's taichi may have wondered about the men whose names Cheng mentions in his articles, and the authors who offered Dedications and cover calligraphy to adorn his books. On the whole, none of these men were taichi practioners, but rather polticians, scholars, and Koumingtang elite.
As no translator of Cheng's Thirteen Chapters, authorized or otherwise, has yet to provide any information on these Dedications and cover art, I took it upon myself to research the subjects and compose a monograph that deals solely with the various Dedications and calligraphic Frontpieces to all of Cheng's works. Excerpts from this article will be posted occasionally.
Today I present the frontpiece calligraphy from the first edition of Cheng's Thirteen Chapters.
This calligraphy to Cheng's 1947 first edition of his Thirteen Chapters was written for Cheng by Wu Ching-heng.
There is little connection between the book's subject and Wu, and Cheng's choice seems to be politically motivated.Wu was not only one of the founders of the Republic of China, and a self-proclaimed anarchist--but also a noted essayist, and a famous calligrapher.

Wu Ching-heng
吳敬恆 (March 25, 1865 - October 30, 1953), born Wu Tiao 朓, having the courtesy name Chih-hui (稚暉) was a specialist in linguistics and philosophy. He was the chairman of the 1912–13 Commission of the Unification of Pronounciation which created the chiyin fuhao, or "symbols for annotating sounds," and known by every student of Chinese as bopomofo, a name excerpted from the first four symbols. He became the first Academic Scholar of the Humanity Division (人文組院士) of the Academia Sinica and a representative in the National People's Delegate Conferences (國民大會).
As a respected calligrapher, the symbols he created for the chuyin fuhao contain strokes bearing the essential elements of calligraphy.
His publications can be found in The Collected Works of Mr. Wu Chih-hui 《吳稚暉先生集》

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Brushwork

Cheng demonstrates his central-brush technique in bamboo motifs and calligraphy ca.late 1950's

Cheng's artistry of the central-tip brush (chung-feng) yielded mature characters and motifs that exude depth and energy. This manner of holding the brush keeps the tuft centered and erect while the tip moves evenly along with the stroke; the right arm that holds the brush must remain suspended throughout the composition. This technique greatly increases the difficulty of
drawing an even stroke due to the absorbency of the paper.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Essays on Man and Culture

Cheng Man-ch'ing's Essays on Man and Culture, Jen Wen Ch'ien Shou, was completed in the early 70's while Cheng lived in New York. The calligraphic manuscripts were photolithographed in Taipei and subsequently, privately published in the trditional string-bound method.

Of particular interest is Cheng's calligraphy, which he writes entirely in his unique, even-pressured stroke. He had been developing this stroke for several decades and the present work shows us the culmination of his endeavor.Though this even-pressure method at first appears simpler and easier to draw, it in fact takes consummate skill to produce works where the compositions of strokes are truly uniform. The flexibility of the brush naturally lends itself to the slightest variations in pressure. This style evokes the salient characteristics of evenness and simplicity found in Seal Script, an archaic style of script originating from the Shang (1600-1050 B.C.E.) and Chou (1050-221 B.C.E.) eras.
In researching my earlier translation of this work, I was able to procure three copies of the original, privately published work. I am making these available to the public at $125.00 each. The book has long been unavailable to any buyer at any price.
All inquiries may be made to me at:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Man Jan

Three Seals of Man Jan 曼髥

Seal carving has existed in China since the dawn of the first millennium, but it was not until the thirteenth century that it became customary for artists to affix their seals on paintings and calligraphy. Generally speaking, no work of Asian art is considered complete and authentic without the artist seal affixed upon it—his imprimatur—even if there is no signature. This distinguishes casual practice copies and sketch models from the completed work.
Early seals in China were made of hard materials such as metal, ivory, and jade. These materials were difficult to carve and were reserved for the wealthy elite. The rise of seal carving as an art form came about during the latter sixteenth century with the introduction of soft stone (soap stone) as the commonly accepted medium for seals. The malleability of soft stone allowed greater freedom of expression when chiseling the characters, and allowed the viewer to trace the process of the carving as the art became ever more spontaneous.
Cheng Man-ch’ing’s seals offer a unique insight into the image Cheng wished to portray of himself. His seals can be divided into several categories: names seals, which include his given name, family name, sobriquet, styled name, studio name, or any other name by which he referred to himself by; phrase seals, which were chosen to reflect a particular poetic verse or character, or call to mind a certain ability, desire, or memorable event; and pictorial seals, which had pictures in place of characters carved.

It has been said that Cheng, like many other talented artists, carved some of his seals himself—but we will never know by their imprints which ones these are. Seal signatures and dedications are inscribed on almost any surface of the seal except the imprint side.

Man Jan, Beautiful Whiskers, was a sobriquet used by Cheng since his early fifties, saying, "Once I turned fifty, I grew my sideburns long and took the sobriquet Man Jan." Of particular note in the three seals above, is the left character Jan "Whiskers" of the middle seal. The character is carved as simply two hanging sideburns. Many artist used this form of the character to sign their works.Cheng, together with Yu Yu-jen 于右任 (1879-1964) and Liu Yen-t'ao 延濤 (1908-1998) became known the the Three Old Whiskers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ng: Hermit Fu Ch'iu

Hermit Fu Ch'iu, signature, ca. 1932

By the year 1932, the thirty year old Cheng Man-ch’ing had completed his self-imposed, three year exile studying classical literature in the Chi Yuan study house of the retired Ching scholar, Ch’ien Ming-shan.
Cheng's 1932 painting album exhibits his continuing development as an artist, poet, and calligrapher, and his search to paint nature scenes as a spontaneous reflection of the Zen mind. Though he still sealed many of his works as the Monk Who Listens to Falling Snow, a new and important sobriquet makes its first appearance in this album; Hermit Fu Ch’iu.
Fu Ch’iu浮丘“Floating Hills,” is the name of several places in China, but more germane, it is the name of a minister to the legendary Yellow Emperor. By assuming this sobriquet, Cheng suggests a change is his artistic/philosophic temperament from Zenism toward Taoism. This coincided with his continuing study of taichi chuan and suggests a fuller appreciation of the alchemical traditions of esoteric Taoist lore.
Another, more personal reason Cheng may have chosen this name was as a pun of his given name, Yüeh. The character, yüehcontains two radicals; ch’iua hill, above shana mountain.Cheng's given name depicts a hill floating above a mountain, though in nature, mountains tower over hills.

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·

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Crazy Tiger Head

In plate #18, Little Things In My Garden from The Art of Cheng Man-ch'ing, published in Taipei in 1961, Cheng uses a rare seal of his, Ch'ih Hu T'ou癡虎頭or "Crazy Tiger Head."
Crazy Tiger Head originates from volume 29 of the Collected Poetry of Su Hsih, the first poem of, “Two Rhyming Poems on Mi and Pi on the Two Wang’s Colophon,” 蘇軾詩集 卷二十九、〈次韻米黻二王書跋尾二首〉、巧偷豪奪古來有一笑誰似癡虎頭·In the poem, Su describes the similarities of a great work of art, whose lively effervescence disperses from the paper, and a great artist, whose immortal presence flees from the world. Cheng certainly chose to engrave this seal with this reference as a self-effacing view his own works and his semi-hermitized artistic life, but also as a comical portrait of himself--recall his flowing whiskers and that his birth-year animal was the cat.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Zen Monk Who Listens to Falling Snow

This post explains the tantalizing hints revealed at the end of the August 1st post.

From his early twenties until his mid-thirties, Cheng Man-c
h'ing maintained a youthful fascination with Zen Buddhism. As early as 1924, Cheng was signing his artwork the Monk Who Listens to Falling Snow 聽雪居士and creating works in a studio named Listening to Falling Snow Zen Hut 聽雪禪廬. As I explained in my forthcoming book on Cheng, A Journey Toward Undivided Spontaneity:
Of particular note in this early 1924 painting album is Cheng’s interest in Zen Buddhism, a fascination altogether absent from his later, more mature works. Zen exerted a profound influence on Chinese artists of the early Republican period, as the fall of the Confucian tiered system of the Late Ching Dynasty gave way to the free and open exchange of philosophical viewpoints from scholars and artists who were once tethered to that system. The authors of leaves two and four mention Cheng’s youthful fascination with Buddhism, and specifically Zen, and Cheng himself assumed the sobriquet, Monk Who Listens to Falling Snow. Artists who styled themselves as floral, or nature artists, found unique inspiration in the precepts of Zen. Zen inspired the artist to see beyond the illusion of reality in a motif and encouraged them to delve deep within both themselves and the motif, dissolving apparent distinctions and illuminating the primal unity of life. Though a pure Zen adept would propound the elimination of thought and consciousness, Chinese artists altered, or corrupted Zen, so as to allow their consciousness to interact with their sub-consciousness. Later in life, Cheng would reclaim his Confucian heritage and oppose Buddhism as akin to fantasy and pornography."
Below is a reproduction from Cheng's 1924 album entitled Lonely Pine:

Lonely Pine
Exiled in Yenpei for five years now,
Yellow dust floats upon a clear day.
Since no longer can I visit my old garden,
I lock my door and paint a lonely pine.

Signature Poetry and Painting by the Hermit Who Listens to Falling Snow on Temporary Exile at the Capitol Gate
One Seal Man (rectangular relief)

In this painting from his 1932 album entitled Silver Wu Silkworms, we see that Cheng still seals his paintings with his studio name Listening to Falling Snow Zen Studio:

Silver Wu Silkworms
The mulberry leaves are already scarce and their fruit has turned ripe,
Eat heartily you silver silkworms, then slumber your three sleeps.
Every home spends the long night sitting in the garden drinking,
After spring your Wu offspring will never see the sky.

Colophon Signature Man Ch’ing’s Poetry and Painting
Colophon Seal Cheng (square intaglio)
Painting Seal Listening to Falling Snow Zen Hut (square relief)

Magnified details of the seal and signature from these two works are available on my August 1st post.
During the mid-thirties, Cheng's Taoist tendencies led him to assume a new sobriquet, the Hermit Fu-ch'iu. This and other new material will be presented in my next post.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Probing Tang Poetry; 1958

Probing Tang Poetry
was privately published in 1958 by Cheng Man-ch'ing while residing in Taiwan. The work contains the poems commonly collected under the title Three Hundred Tang Poems, all written in Cheng's calligraphy, together with Cheng's commentary and analysis above each poem. Influential friends and artists provided Introductions to the book. The work is artfully b
ound in the Chinese traditional string-bound method.
Chiang Shih-chieh
蔣士杰 wrote the front cover and first Introduction.
Cheng's close friend, Chiang Hsiang wrote the next Introduction.
The famous Buddhist and noted calligrapher Chu Mei-ying
玖瑩 (1896-1996) wrote the third Introduction.
Cheng himself wrote the fourth Introduction in his unique even-pressured stroke.

Cheng's Introduction in his Even-pressured Stroke

Cheng's Standard Script Text and Running-standard Script Notes

Of particular note and interest is the variety of calligraphic styles Cheng employs in this work. Each poem is penned in standard script, each commentary is written in standard-running script; and Cheng's Introduction is written in his own unique script which he developed in the fifties, and which may be called his even-pressured stroke.

This very rare copy took several years to acquire; only two copies remain in my collection. Both copies are in perfect condition.
Each copy is available for $125.00.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

News, Facts, Trivia, and Answers from America's Foremost Translator of Cheng Man-ch'ing; Mark Hennessy

During these past two years, I have been working diligently collecting information in reseaching the development of Cheng Man-ch'ing's calligraphy from 1924 thru 1971. The book, entitled A Journey Toward Undivided Spontaneity, discusses the aesthetic direction and artistic philosophy guiding the calligraphy of Cheng, with artwork and lectures selected from each decade of Cheng's life. Included in the volume will be reproductions from three of Cheng's albums, 1924, 1932, and 1971, together with new biographical information culled from his poetry, his works on art theory, magazines from Taiwan, and articles written by Cheng's artistic friends.
I embarked upon creating this blog for several reasons.
First, the sheer volume of i
nformation I have collected could not possibly ever be included into the final version of my newest work, and therefore I wished to share this information with whoever has the wherewithal to find this blog, and the goodwill to appreciate new facts on Cheng's early life.
Second, I hope to provide a forum for answering questions regarding my translations from any of my readers
who may have stumbled upon a turn of phrase or a twist of nuance.
Third, having collected limited editions of Cheng's privately published books, his original artwork, and his publicly published works, I hope to present these works slowly to the public for purchase.
Before closing for today, I present a teaser: Who was The Monk Who Listens to Falling Snow

that once painted in a studio named Zen Hut of Falling Snow?