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Collection of Painting and Calligraphy in Jiangzhe Area During Early Qing: Studies of Gao Shiqi’s Collection

ZHANG Chenlin

My thesis focuses on transfers of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the late seventeenth century in Jiangzhe area and the influence of the establishment of the Qing dynasty on connoisseurs’ activities.

The appraisal, transfer and preservation of Chinese painting and calligraphy were exclusive to elites with higher status in society since ancient times. Since the Qing conquest of the Ming, Royal art collection of Ming had been transferred to public market of Beijing. Soon Beijing became an important city for connoisseurs. Meanwhile literati from the north had more political advantage than literati from the south (in particular, literati from the Jiangzhe area) in the early Qing. Artworks originally collected in the south were gradually transferred to the north. Gao Shiqi, a literati born in southern area but spent most of his early life in Beijing, became the Empire’s favourite official in Hanlin Academy. Because of his birthplace, Gao Shiqi was able to socialize with both southern and northern literati. And for career reasons, Gao traveled back and forth between Beijing and Jiangzhe, two central areas for connoisseurs. Gao’s social circle and constant art collecting activities helped promote the exchange of artworks between Beijing and the Jiangzhe area.