Glamour of the Jao's Lotus
In the recent decade, “lotus” has been Professor Jao Tsung-i’s major painting subject; meanwhile, he has also developed new techniques and methods for this type of painting. Therefore, lotus painting is also a symbol of his unceasing exploration of art. When we planned to hold a touring exhibition in Mainland China, there was unanimity among the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole of The University of Hong Kong, the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole Fan Club, and the Jao Studies Foundation that “lotus” is the theme of the exhibition.
Professor Jao indicates that there is a reason why he loves to do lotus painting. His father named him “Tsung-i”, literally meaning “modeling yourself after Zhou Dunyi”, because his father hoped that he could learn after Zhou. Zhou was a master of the Neo-Confucianism in the Song dynasty who loved lotus, and his Ode to Lotus has been the most important essay praising lotus since then. Nonetheless, according to Professor Jao, Bada Shanren’s “Flowers on the River” is the major agent to induce him of his unique Jao’s Lotus.
The editor mentioned in the first part of Opulence of the Jao’s Lotus that “Hu Yin (1098-1156) once commented on Su Shi’s lyrics in his essay Preface to Jiubian Lyrics which reads, ‘It brings to the world a brand new direction.’ The saying can also be applied to Jao’s Lotus.” In this exhibition, Professor Jao’s idea of “amalgamation of scholarship and art” and his everlasting creativity are embodied through his lotus artworks.
Tang Wai Hung
Deputy Director (Art)
Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole, The University of Hong Kong