On the morning of March 15, the opening ceremony of Professor Jao Tsung-I's lotus painting and calligraphy exhibition tour, organized by Shandong University, the University of Hong Kong, Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole, and Jao Studies Foundation, was jointly held by the Museum of Shandong University and Hong Kong University Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole on the central campus of Shandong University. Before the opening ceremony, Zhang Rong, President of Shandong University, met with Tang Wai-hung, deputy director of Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole, University of Hong Kong.
Tang Wai-hung, Hu Jinyan, Vice President of Shandong University, and Professor Zhang Wang, chairman of Shandong Artists Association and professor of Shandong Normal University, also attended and addressed the ceremony.
During the meeting, Zhang Rong recalled the scenes of meeting Professor Jao Tsung-I in Hong Kong and Beijing, and expressed his gratitude to the University of Hong Kong for its strong support for the exhibition.
At the opening ceremony, Hu Jinyan in his speech recalled the history between Shandong University and Professor Jao Tsung-I, and said Shandong University would actively advance Jao studies by including it in the Project of Reviving Literary and History Studies.
Tang Wai-hung conveyed Professor Jao Tsung-I’s best wishes and gratitude to Shandong University. He said, the exhibition of Professor Jao Tsung-I’s works of lotus painting and calligraphy at Shandong University was particularly significant because Professor Jao has a special feeling for Shandong University, and the location of this exhibition, Jinan the city of springs, is also special, as the famous couplet goes, “lotuses on four sides and willows on three, mountains outside and a lake within.”
Professor Zhang Wang said that Professor Jao Tsung-I began to read Buddhist scriptures since childhood, making his lotus works, regardless of size, full of inspiring Zen spirit. A master of Dunhuang studies, Professor Jao Tsung-I created techniques and art of “Chinese Northwest landscape painting”. His works based on Dunhuang paintings are not imitation but original works with his own understanding of art. It is particularly valuable that he has successfully integrated in his works the arts of calligraphy, painting, and Zen.
This exhibition is an important demonstration of Professor Jao Tsung-I's achievements in calligraphy and painting. His works are in various forms, including ink wash painting and color painting, painted on paper, silk scrolls, and round silk fans, which have opened up a new art world for teachers, students, and other spectators. At the opening ceremony, the guests watched a documentary titled Jao Tsung-I and Shandong University.
Fang Hui, Curator of the Museum of Shandong University, presided over the opening ceremony. Leaders from the circle of arts and famous painters and calligraphers from Shandong Province, representatives of the Hong Kong University Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole and the Jao Studies Foundation, officials of relative departments and schools of Shandong University, and reporters from major media in Shandong attended the opening ceremony as well.
Professor Jao Tsung-I is an internationally renowned scholar of Chinese studies, Honorary Doctorate and Honorary Professor of Shandong University. He is also a foreign academician of the French Academy, president of the Xiling Seal Engraving Society, the hundred-years-old Chinese traditional stone seal engraving association, and the only member alive now of the Yu Gong Society, an influential academic society of historical geography studies founded in the 1930s. He was and is a close friend to many teachers and students of Shandong University (including Cheeloo University, one of the predecessors of Shandong University), such as Gu Jiegang, Qian Mu, Tong Shuye, Lin Yangshan, Xu Xianming, Pang Pu, Liu Dajun, and Tan Shibao.
Professor Jao Tsung-I has been actively involved in affairs of Shandong University. For example, he proposed to restore the “Mount Tai Annals”, and gave much support to archaeological studies of ruins of Daxin Village Site and the Journal of Literature, History, and Philosophy. He wrote inscriptions for the museum at the Qingdao campus and the Institute of History and Language, Shandong University. He also wrote for the 110th anniversary of Shandong University, to express the best wishes of an old alumnus to his alma mater.
Translated by: Lang Cuicui
Photo by: Liu Mengdong, Yan Jingyi, Wang Huan
Edited by: Feng Wei, Meng Shuai