The Other Kang Youwei is the first in-depth study of the art historical importance of Kang Youwei (1858-1927). The most prominent constitutional monarchist who served as Emperor Guangxu’s advisor during the Hundred Days Reform of 1898, he has been discussed in previous scholarship largely as a political figure. Less well known are his achievements in calligraphy and calligraphy theory (he wrote the most comprehensive and widely-read guide to the Stele School in his day), as well as his efforts in making art a powerful instrument for national transformation. He advocated East-West synthesis, especially the adoption of Renaissance plasticity and Song Dynasty-style verisimilitude. This book evaluates his extensive and controversial impact on pictorial realism in a variety of genres: human figures, horses, landscapes, and bird-and-flower subjects (the last developing in close step with Japanese trends). Besides providing an objective assessment of his legacy in the art world,
The Other Kang Youwei offers a rare integrated treatment of Chinese calligraphy, painting, and art theory of the twentieth century.
Aida Yuen Wong, Ph.D. (1999), Columbia University, is Associate Professor of Asian Art at Brandeis University, U.S.A. Among her many publications are
Parting the Mists: Discovering Japan and the Rise of National-Style Painting in Modern China (2006) and the edited volume
Visualizing Beauty: Gender and Ideology in Modern East Asia, ca. 1900-1940s (2012).
Art historians and historians of late 19th- and 20th-century politics and cultural studies on China and East Asia.