Everyone identifies him as a great writer, thinker, critic and revolutionary.
Few, however, might know that Lu Xun was actually also expert at painting,
calligraphy and even seal-cutting.
Lu (1881-1936), whose real name was Zhou Shuren, has influenced generations
of Chinese people with his meaningful and inspiring stories, poetry and essays.
His stories have been widely published, translated into dozens of foreign
languages, and are textbook must-haves for high school students.
Lu's first story, "A Madman's Diary," is considered the first article written
in modern Chinese. He played a seminal role in the world of Chinese literature
in the 20th century, which earned him the title of "father of modern Chinese
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his death, Shanghai Culture
Publishing House has recently released a book of Lu's artwork, in memory of the
great man's contribution and achievements in the field of fine arts.
The book, "Painter Lu Xun," features about 154 pieces of his artworks,
collected and compiled by Wang Xirong, vice director of the Shanghai Lu Xun
"The idea, in fact, has haunted me for a long time, especially when I talked
with some foreign scholars. They would always ask me 'Lu Xun often supported the
fine arts, so did he have any art pieces of his own'?" Wang says. "Their words
reminded me that I have seen a lot of Lu's scripts. And I think some of them are
really nice, so I decide to publish a book about his paintings and other works.
"I think, through all these art pieces, people can know about Lu more
thoroughly," he adds.
Thanks to his professionalism and his great sensitivity towards Lu - both his
life and literature - it was not difficult for Wang to compile the book.
"I have been engaged in all kinds of studies into Lu since 1976," he
explains. "The material for the book was collected by me through all those
years, and many friends helped me, too.
"For example, Qiu Shixiong, curator of the Lu Xun Memorial in Shaoxing (Lu's
hometown), provided a model for an old house which was designed by Lu. What a
pity that there is no manuscript for it, so I couldn't put it in the book," Wang
says regretfully. "The house was devised for Lu's cousin, Li Xinnong, and his
offspring have preserved it to this day."
Zhou Yingyan, editor of the book at the Shanghai Culture Publishing House,
couldn't agree more.
"During the process of revising the content, luckily, we also obtained some
new things, such as a seal with the word 'xun' (Lu's first name), cut in ancient
writing," Zhou reveals. "On the whole, Lu's art includes cover designs,
seal-cutting, line drawing and traditional Chinese painting."
Although Lu didn't work much on traditional paintings, his works are
certainly not overshadowed by those masterpieces, especially "Flourish Like
A pine is usually thin, with sparse leaves, so naming it "flourish" may sound
a bit ridiculous, but together with the background viewers might discover the
real meaning behind it.
"What surprises me are Lu's art skills, especially his charcoal painting,"
says Wang. "I like the owl he painted most and the small picture called 'Wild
"Lu's delicate and lifelike design with concise lines amaze me most," Zhou
says. "Even some simple sketches still have their spice. Take 'A Neonatal
Jujube' for instance. Only several strokes show a vivid Chinese date tree, with
branches and leaves shaking, clean and natural. You can feel a sort of
tranquility in it."
According to Zhou, "Painter Lu Xun" finished binding on Monday, and 5,000
copies of the first set will be published. It will be available on the shelves
of many bookstores, such as Shanghai Book City.
To mark the anniversary, Wang says that the Shanghai Lu Xun Museum will hold
a series of commemorative events, including an international academic seminar,
an exhibition, a writing competition as well as the publication of several other
Shanghai Lu Xun Museum
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Address: 200 Tian'ai Rd (inside Lu Xun Park)
Admission: 8 yuan for adults, 4 yuan for students
The former residence of Lu Xun in Shanghai
Opening hours: 9am-4pm
Address: Bldg 9, 132 Shanyin Rd
Admission: 8 yuan