Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Mi Wan-chung

3649099Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Mi Wan-chungTu Lien-chê

MI Wan-chung 米萬鍾 (T. 仲詔, H. 友石), painter, a chin-shih of 1595, was a native of Wan-p'ing (Peking). His father, Mi Yü 米玉 (T. 崑泉, 1528–1597), held an hereditary post in the Imperial Bodyguard of the Ming Court. After becoming a chin-shih Mi Wan-chung served as magistrate in various districts, as a secretary in different Boards, and finally rose to be provincial judge of Kiangsi. Denounced by a follower of the powerful eunuch, Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.], he was dismissed from office in 1625. In 1628, under the succeeding emperor, his right to office was restored to him, but not until three years later was he appointed sub-director of the Court of the Imperial Stud.

In painting Mi Wan-chung was classed with Tung Ch'i-ch'ang [q. v.], another famous artist of his day-the two being known as "Mi of the North and Tung of the South" 南董北米. Near the village of Hai-tien 海淀, northwest of Peking, he built the garden, Shao-yüan 勺園, which is now a part of the campus of Yenching University. He began the practice, which became fashionable in his day, of painting choice scenes of his garden on lanterns which came to be known as Mi-chia-têng 米家燈 or "Mi family lanterns". His son, Mi Shou-tu 米壽都 (T. 吉土), became sub-director of studies in Chi-chou, Chihli (1652–57), and magistrate of Shu-yang, Kiangsu (1658–60). His grandson, Mi Han-wên 米漢雯 (T. 紫來, H. 秀巖), was a son-in-law of Wang Ch'ung-chien [q. v.]. Mi Han-wên, a chin-shih of 1661, also passed in 1679 the special examination known as po-hsüeh-hung-tz'ŭ. Besides being an expert painter, calligrapher, and carver of seals, he was a poet. In his calligraphy he followed the style of Mi Fei 米芾 (T. 元章, H. 五嶽外史, 1051–1107), the great artist of the Sung period. Hence he was also known as Hsiao Mi 小米, "The Younger Mi".

[2/70/22a; 32/3/6b; Hung Yeh 洪業, 勺園圖錄考 Shao-yüan t'u lu k'ao (1933); L.T.C.L.H.M. pp. 91, 92, lists 6 paintings by Mi Wan-chung and 2 by Mi Han-wen; Yenching Journal No. 5, p. 1147.]

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