Who is Táng Yín?

By Gwylym Owen

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Tang Yin (Chinese: 唐寅; pinyin: Táng Yín; Cantonese Yale: Tong Yan; 1470–1524), courtesy name Bohu (伯虎), was a Chinese painter, calligrapher, and poet of the Ming dynasty times whose life credit has become a allowance of popular lore. Even even though he was born during the Ming dynasty, many of his paintings, especially those of people, were illustrated later elements from Pre-Tang to Song dynasty art.

Tang Yin is one of the most notable painters in the archives of Chinese art. He is one of the “Four Masters of Ming dynasty” (Ming Si Jia), which next includes Shen Zhou (1427–1509), Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Qiu Ying (c. 1495-1552). His influence upon the art of contemporaries, like Cai Han, is notable. Tang was as a consequence a bright poet, and together afterward his contemporaries Wen Zhengming, Zhu Yunming (1460–1526), and Xu Zhenqing, he was one of the “Four Literary Masters of the Wuzhong Region”.

Tang’s eccentric lifestyle has prompted storytellers to immortalize him as a trickster feel in Chinese folklore. In one such story, he falls in love with a slave woman whom he glimpses upon the ship of a high official passing through Suzhou. He has himself sold as a slave to the official’s household so that he may open her. With the support of his friends, he eventually succeeds in bringing her home. This report prompted the playwright Three Words by Feng Menglong and the opera The Three Smiles.

Tang emerged from the valuable merchant class of Suzhou, at a agreed low economic level of the son of a restaurant operator. Contrary to some accounts, he seems to have studied assiduously during his youth, paying Tiny attention to the worldly charms. His genius, which would later gain him renown as the supreme skill of the Jiangnan area (Southern China), soon drew him into the wealthy, powerful, and bright circles of Suzhou. Wen Zhengming became his friend; Wen’s father, Wen Lin (1445–99), acted as something of a patron, making the right friends for him.

He was a brilliant student and became the protégé of Wen Lin. His friends in Suzhou’s college circles included Shen Zhou, Wu Kuan (1436–1504) and Zhu Yunming. In 1498 Tang Yin came first in the provincial examinations in Nanjing, the second stage in the Imperial laboratory analysis ladder. The taking into consideration year he went to the capital to sit the national examinations, but he and his buddy Xu Jing (?- 1507) were accused of bribing the servant of one of the chief examiners to come in the works with the keep for them the scrutiny questions in advance. All parties were jailed, and Tang Yin returned to Suzhou in disgrace, his justifiably tall hopes for a distinguished civil facilitate career dashed forever.

Denied further qualified progress, he pursued a excitement of pleasure and earned a animated by selling his paintings. That mode of animate brought him into disrepute taking into account a forward-thinking generation of artist-critics (for example, Dong Qichang) who felt that financial independence was indispensable to enable an artiste to follow his own style and inspiration. While Tang is allied with paintings of feminine beauty, his paintings (especially landscapes) otherwise exhibit the similar variety and expression of his peers and tune a man of both artistic capacity and profound insight.

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