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A Study on “The Collected Essentials of Ink-making Methods” (Mo fa ji yao tu shuo) by Xu Yang (1712-1779)
mo fa ji yao tu shuo
mo fa ji yao
emperor Qian Long
This thesis is focused on the Xu Yang's "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" in the forty-first year of emperor Qian Long (1776 A.D.). The volume was drawn according to the emperor Qian Long's revised version of Shen Jisun's "mo fa ji yao" in the Ming dynasty. In this thesis, we analyze the twenty-one graphs of "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" drawn by Xu Yang at first, and then discuss the similar productions of the Qing courts in comparison with Xu Yang's "mo fa ji yao tu shuo". The contents and graphs depicted by Xu Yang's "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" are quite similar to the "gentlewoman paintings" and "tao ye paintings" produced by the Qing courts, but they are slightly different to some extent. Xu Yang's "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" was presented in the form of a long scroll, and the graphs illustrated the tools images in detail. The results have never appeared in the same type of production at the Qing courts. The second part of this thesis is back to the context of the "mo fa ji yao tu shuo", which was edited in the Qian Long dynasty, and probing how emperor Qian Long revised this book of the previous generation to be a contemporary ink book. Through the compilation skeleton of "siku quanshu" and the status of recording other ink books, it further illustrated how the Qian Long dynasty defined the "mo fa ji yao" as a book of practical nature. In the end, we will investigate into many versions produced in the Qian Long dynasty, and explore which one is the predecessor of "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" drawn by Xu Yang. The third part is from the illustrations to objects together with the actual appearances of other Ink models to examine the "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" drawn by Xu Yang. In this study, we discover that the ink models drawn by the revised "mo fa ji yao" of the Qian Long dynasty is indeed different from those of the previous generation. This discrepancy is also an innovation in the ink-making technology of the Qian Long dynasty. We eventually return to the illustration of ink models in Xu Yang’s "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" that he changed the patterns on the ink models into "ink of chunhua xuan inscription". This "ink of chunhua xuan inscription" was indeed produced in the Qian Long period, and hence it can be further demonstrated the relationship between the "mo fa ji yao tu shuo" and "chunhua xuan".
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