Zhao Mengfu

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Portrait of Zhao Mengfu

Zhao Mengfu (simplified Chinese: 赵孟頫; traditional Chinese: 趙孟頫; pinyin: Zhào Mèngfǔ; Wade–Giles: Chao Meng-fu; courtesy name Zi'ang (子昂); pseudonyms Songxue (松雪, "Pine Snow"), Oubo (鸥波, "Gull Waves"), and Shuijing-gong Dao-ren (水精宫道人, "Master of the Crystal Palace"); 1254–1322), was a descendant of the Song Dynasty's imperial family through Emperor Xiaozong’s brother Zhao Bogui who married a lady surnamed Song who was the granddaughter of Emperor Huizong.

Zhao Mengfu was a Chinese scholar, painter and calligrapher during the Yuan Dynasty.[1]

He was recommended by the Censor-in-chief Cheng Jufu (zh) to pay an audience with Kublai Khan in 1286 at the Yuan capital of Dadu, but was not awarded an important position in office. His work was however, greatly appreciated later by the Confucian-inspired Yuan Emperor Renzong. Zhao was a member of the "Academy of Worthies".[2]

He was married to Guan Daosheng, who was also an accomplished poet, painter and calligrapher. His rejection of the refined, gentle brushwork of his era in favour of the cruder style of the eighth century is considered to have brought about a revolution that created the modern Chinese landscape painting. He was known for his paintings of horses. His landscapes are also considered to be done in a style that focuses more on a literal laying of ground. Rather than organizing them in a foreground, middle ground, and background pattern he layers middle grounds at various heights to create a sense of depth. This pattern of organization makes his paintings appear very simple and approachable. It was this characteristic that so many people valued about his style.

Zhao Mengfu had several sons with his wife Guan Daosheng. His second son, Zhao Yong, also became a famous painter and calligrapher. He was also the maternal grandfather of Wang Meng, another famous painter. Zhao Mengfu was related to the later Ming dynasty literary figure Zhao Yiguang and his son Zhao Jun.[3]


Autumn colours on the Qiao and Hua mountains
Bathing Horses
Ten Chrysanthemums

Calligraphic Works[edit]

Tale of the Goddess of Luo River (洛神赋)
The Heart Sutra (赵孟頫书心经墨迹)
The First Ode on the Red Cliff (前赤壁赋)


The Museum of Zhao Mengfu

The former residence of Zhao Mengfu in Huzhou, Zhejiang province has been restored into a museum, and opened to public since 2012.

A 167 kilometer-diameter crater on Mercury (132.4° west, 87.3° south) was named the "Chao Meng-Fu crater" in memorial of him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp110_wuzong_emperor.pdf p. 15.
  2. ^ Zhou Mi, translator Ankeney Weitz. Zhou Mi's Record of Clouds and Mist Passing Before One's Eyes: An Annotated Translation. 2. Brill. p. 165. ISBN 90 0412605 8. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Marsha Smith Weidner (1988). Marsha Smith Weidner, Indianapolis Museum of Art, ed. Views from Jade Terrace: Chinese women artists, 1300-1912 (illustrated ed.). Indianapolis Museum of Art. p. 31. ISBN 0-8478-1003-8. Retrieved 14 December 2011. She married ZhaoJun, scion of an old Suzhou family, which traced its ancestry back to the imperial family of the Song dynasty and which counted among its sons the famous official and artist Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322). Zhao Jun's father was the recluse-scholar Zhao Yiguang (1559- 1625), and his mother was a daughter of Lu Shidao (1511-74), another Suzhou literatus. Zhao Jun studied the classics with Wen Congjian; thus a more permanent liaison between the two families was perhaps inevitable. 

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