Saturday, November 29, 2014

Exhibition of Obaku Calligraphy at St. Louis Art Museum

I am so glad meeting Philip Hu on Facebook. He pointed to me an exhibition of Obaku calligraphy at St. Louis Art Museum which he is curating. It will be there until Feb. 22, 2015. Go to see it. Here is the weblink to the exhibition and a few shots Philip sent to me. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Yinyuan and Chinese Music in Edo Japan

A few weeks ago, Prof. Yang Kuei-hsiang 楊桂香 from Taiwan kindly shared with me her published  paper on Weishi yuepu魏氏樂譜, which was a collection of music notes by the Wei (Gi) family in Japan, commonly known as Mr. Gi's music book in the West. (See Britten Dean's article "Mr Gi's Music Book: An Annotated Translation of Gi Shimei's Gi-shi Gakufu.").

One theory is that this collection represented the repertoire of late Ming literati music sung by students in Confucian Academies, as stipulated by Wang Yangming 王阳明 and his followers when they revived the tradition of Confucian education. In her article, Prof. Yang argues that it represents the best of Chinese court music and has overlaps with Zhu Xi and Zhu Zhaiyu's works. The music was brought to Japan because the Wei family was closely connected to the Southern Ming court in exile. Prof. Yang's paper is entitled 魏双侯は日本に齎した中国の宮廷音楽を再考察:
―『魏氏楽譜』六巻本と朱載堉『楽律全書』と朱熹『儀礼経伝通解』との関連を踏まえて, which is published in Obaku bunka 黄檗文化, 2014.

This reminds me about Yinyuan's connection with Chinese music in Japan. In Yinyuan's poems, there are many allusions to music. Of course, he did not play music. However, because of his connection with the Wei family, he must have opportunities to attend one of Wei's concerts. I briefly discussed the Wei family's connection to music in page 107 in my book.

Because of this connection, couple years ago, we tried to revive some of the music preserved in Weishi yuepu. We picked Xin Qiji's 辛弃疾 Green Jade Cup (Qingyuan 青玉案) for trial. It was not a great performance. But this is truly the late Ming music of elegance and we love it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Zheng Chenggong Cult in Japan (1)

Because the connection between Yinyuan and Zheng Chenggong, I went to Hirado last summer to visit Zheng's birth place. Unfortunately I missed a major festival honoring Zheng. However, I was lucky that a new memorial museum just opened to the public a few months before. There appears to be a strong interest in the local area.

Zheng Chenggong festival in Hirado, photo by Jiang Wu

Statue of Zheng Chenggong and his Japanese mother in front of Zheng Chenggong memorial museum, photo by Jiang Wu