Chu Ta

Chu Ta

Chu Ta or Zhu Da, c.1626-c.1705, Chinese painter and calligrapher, also known as Pa-ta-shan-jen or Bada Shanren. Said to have been a descendant of the imperial Ming family, he was a child prodigy, a poet at 7 and a painter by his teens. Becoming a monk after the fall of the dynasty, in 1678 he apparently suffered a nervous breakdown, was unable to speak for a number of years, and became known for his fits of madness and eccentric behavior. He left the monastary and, despite his afflictions, became a founder of the school of painting known as Ch'ing. Most of his works are small-scale spontaneous studies of nature. His brushstrokes, which seem free and careless at first glance, are filled with vitality and descriptive power. His works may be seen at the British Museum; Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

See J. Chang and Q. Bai, In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren (catalog of exhibition at Freer Gallery, 2003).

François Cheng (Traditional Chinese:程抱一;pinyin: Chéng Bàoyī) (born August 30 1929) is a Chinese French academician, writer, poet and calligrapher. He is the author of essays, novels, collections of poetry and books on art written in the French language, and the translator of some of the great French poets into Chinese.

Born in China and taking French citizenship in 1973, he was elected to the Académie française in 2002, and was the first person of Asian origin to be a member of the Academy. He was the winner of the 1998 Prix Femina for Le Dit de Tianyi ("The saying of Tianyi") (pub. Albin Michel, Paris, 1998).

When Cheng arrived in France in 1948, on a study grant, he did not speak a word of the language. He subsequently adapted quickly and profoundly. In his speech to the Académie française, he explained, "I became a Frenchman in law, mind and heart more than thirty years ago [...] especially from that moment when I resolutely went over to the French language, making it the weapon, or the soul, of my creative work. This language, how can I say everything that I owe to it? It is so intimately bound up with the way I live and my inner life that it has proved to be the emblem of my destiny." It took many years before he became a novelist. His first works were on Chinese poetry and painting. Later he began to write works of poetry himself, before finally turning to the writing of novels.


  • Analyse formelle de l'œuvre poétique d'un auteur des Tang : Zhang Ruoxu (1970)
  • Le Pousse-pousse, by Lao She, (translation, 1973)
  • L'Écriture poétique chinoise (1977)
  • Vide et plein: le langage pictural chinois (1979)
  • L'espace du rêve: mille ans de peinture chinoise (1980)
  • Sept poètes français (1983)
  • Henri Michaux, sa vie, son œuvre (1984)
  • Chu Ta : le génie du trait (1986)
  • Some Reflections on Chinese Poetic Language and its Relation to Chinese Cosmology dans The Vitality of the Lyric Voice (1986)
  • The Reciprocity of Subject and Object in Chinese Poetic Language dans Poetics East and West (1988)
  • De l'arbre et du rocher (1989)
  • Entre source et nuage, Voix de poètes dans la Chine d'hier et d'aujourd'hui (1990)
  • Saisons à vie (1993)
  • Trente-six poèmes d'amour (1997)
  • Quand les pierres font signe (1997) (with Fabienne Verdier)
  • Le Dit de Tyanyi (1998, Prix Femina)
  • Shitao : la saveur du monde (1998, Prix André Malraux)
  • Cantos toscans (1999)
  • D'où jaillit le chant (2000)
  • Double chant (2000, Prix Roger Caillois)
  • Et le souffle devient signe (2001)
  • Qui dira notre nuit (2001)
  • L'éternité n'est pas de trop, Albin Michel, (2002)
  • Le Dialogue, Une passion pour la langue française, Desclée de Brouwer, (2002)
  • Le Long d'un amour, Arfuyen, (2003)
  • Le Livre du vide médian, Albin Michel, (2004)
  • Que nos instants soient d'accueil, with Francis Herth (2005)
  • À l'orient de tout, Gallimard, (2005)
  • Cinq méditations sur la beauté, Albin Michel, (2006)

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