Seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems: Letters from LIAN Quan to OMURA Seigai
The Modern/Contemporary Art Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems is proceeding with a research project on “Research on the history of cultural exchanges in modern and contemporary art.” This project covers modern and contemporary art in Japan and other countries in East Asia. As part of this project, ZHAN Xiaomei, Associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology delivered a presentation entitled “Letters from LIAN Quan to OMURA Seigai” at a seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems on April 25. LIAN Quan (1863‐1932) was a modern Chinese man of letters who was active as a collector of calligraphic works and paintings and as a poet. LIAN made several trips to Japan, where he exhibited his collection and published catalogs. LIAN wrote to OMURA Seigai (1868‐1927), who was known to be an authority on Oriental art history, and 34 of those letters were among the materials related to OMURA that were recently donated to the Educational Materials Office of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. ZHAN’s presentation was based on a study of those letters. LIAN Quan had 1,000 or so fans with paintings by Ming and early Qing painters such as TANG Yin, WEN Zhengming, and WANG Jianzhang. The letters to OMURA mostly concern the sale of LIAN’s fan collection, and the text indicates the extent of the trust LIAN had in OMURA. The letters also reveal that OMURA was indebted to LIAN Quan since LIAN introduced OMURA to notables in the world of calligraphic works and paintings such as WU Changshuo and WANG Yiting when OMURA traveled in China from year 10 of the Taisho era (1921) to the following year. The letters are valuable documents that vividly depict the exchange between Japanese and Chinese at the time. TAKIMOTO Hiroyuki, a writer and researcher of Chinese painting and YOSHIDA Chizuko of the Educational Materials Office of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts attended the seminar and furthered discussion. Plans are to reprint the letters by LIAN Quan in the research journal Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies), which is edited by the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, and have ZHAN Xiaomei describe them.