Acquired through the generosity of Judith Stoikov, Class of 1963
Feng Fang, who hailed from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, took first place in the juren (or civil) exami(…)
Feng Fang, who hailed from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, took first place in the juren (or civil) examinations in 1519 in Hangzhou, but was not so successful as an official. His father, Feng Xi (1468–1537) served as chancellor of the Hanlin Academy in Nanjing, but political intrigues led to eventual banishment, which also affected the son’s career. Feng Fang possessed an important collection of rare books, paintings, and calligraphy, which had an impact on his own work. He gained notoriety for rather controversial Confucian writings, as well as for his knowledge of the classics and his ability as a calligrapher. This is a fine example of his wild cursive style, inspired by mid-Ming dynasty masters such as Zhu Yunming (1461–1527), who rejected orthodox court-official style in favor of a more direct, natural approach inspired by the eighth-century monk Huaisu.