The Lingnan School

N 9t o. p..w: Cl, s. IJ. ~b ~ ~[m 0 ~ *1 t7~ ~~ ~T TfI 1.; g _: ": I ({AN X"ANwEN A. E. C. "D. O. f'. 1f f' ~ ~ *.a J(,J , *~ , *t ~El ::.- ".... :.--- ., 1:- J- J.t ~~ From this bottle alone we could rea– sonably draw the conclusion that the character wen is part of the artist's name. But we need not rest our as– sumption on only this one case. The artist's seal on his long handscroll, also introduced to us since 1978, reads 'Gan Xuanwen yin' (see figure 2, T; read the characters anticlock– wise from top right: 'seal of Gan Xuanwen'). It proves beyond doubt that wen is part of his zi or given name. Gan adopted various hao which appear on his works. Many of these include a place name, Gugang (see figure 2, L), which means 'andent ridge.' We may assume that it was a very small place since it is not re- corded in the copious dictionaries of place names; and we know it was in the Lingnan region from Gans in– scription on the handscroll which is signed 'Gan Xuanwen of Gugang in Lingnan.' Frequently Gugang was used as the self·identifying device common in Chinese signatures, where the place name precedes the family and given name. Thus 'Gugang Gan Xuanwen' or 'Gugang Gan Xuan,' in the shorter form, simply means 'Gan Xuanwen of Gugang.' Alternatively, the place name formed the basis for a number of other hao. He also referred to himself as 'Gugang yuzhe' (see fig– ure 2, G: 'fisherman of Gugang') or 'Gugang qiao' (see figure 2, H: 'woodcutter of Gugang'). The four basic professional activities of an– cient China were being a fisherman, a farmer, a woodcutter, and a scholar; these four depicted in a sin– gle subject frequently appear on snuff bottles. In using forms G and H, Gan Xuanwen the scholar associ– ates hi mself with the fisherman and woodcutter in their simple eremitic existence. He was also known as 'Gugang shanren' (see figure 2, I: 'hermit of Gugang') and 'Gugang jushi' (see figure 2, J: 'retired scholar of Gugang'). Jushi may also indicate a Buddhist and suggest a level of ma– turity an~ age commensurate with retirement or seniority in religious studies. Another of his known haD, which appears only on his hand– scroll in a seal, is Qingshan (see fig– ure 2, E and U: 'clear mountain'). Three further hao appear on bottles reasonably attributed to Gan Xuan– wen (fig. 2). One is Shucun (column N: 'village dawn'). Another is Lena (column Q), a name which appears on a bottle in the Christopher Sin Collection depicting a foreign lady. It is a strange name and does not sound comfortable as a purely Chi– nese name; however, both the name, which is not clearly written, and its implications require further re– search. The third is Juxi (column P: 'chrysanthemum stream'). Each ap– pears only once. One other haD is sensibly attrib– uted to Gan Xuanwen-Shi shanren (see figure 2, K: 'the hermit of the stone' or possibly 'the man from L. k. Fig. 2. Names and seals used by Gan Xuanwen. he is signing himself, instead of tak– ing it from another source. Thus the possibility arises that Gan Xuan is the artists name and that when he adds the character wen, he refers to his literary activity in writing a pre– ceding passage. This was what Gerard Tsang and I believed when we wrote Snuff bottles ofthe Ch'ing Dynasty in 1978. It is sustainable by the majority of Gans works, since many of them have the wen charac– ter added only when preceded by what appear to be his own composi– tions. However, since that time one bottle has come to light where the wen appears in relation to a land– scape painting to which this alter– nate use would be inappropriate. <1. H 1 1 J-& 1; -i -$ Jtl J~ ~ ~ J.\ .~ ~;t J1 A 1- 1",· ~ J- ~ 6