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The Reformer’s Brush:
Modernity and Traditional Media in China

February 27 - April 8, 2011

Introduction / Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 / Section 5 / Epilogue

The Upright Official


Most of the men in a position to propose and support reforms under the Qing dynasty were imperial government officials, educated in the Confucian classics, history, literature, and principles of government. Their impulse toward reform grew from Confucian ethics, in which the educated man has a duty to serve the state. They tended to favor reforms from within, such as a constitutional monarchy, rather than radical solutions like revolution. While their works usually do not speak directly to the ideals of reform that these men espoused, some of the pieces shown here reflect their response to China’s modernization in unexpected ways.

above left:
Ren Xiong, "The Zhuangyuan"

below, left to right:
Pu Xinyu, painting after Han Gan
Pu Xinyu, couplet
Pu Xinyu, "Zhong Kui"
Zheng Xiaoxu, calligraphy
Liang Qichao, couplet
Liang Qichao, calligraphy