Introductionto The Complete Picture of Strange Stories from Chinese Studio

The Complete Picture of Strange Stories fromChinese Studiois a shortversion of classical literature Strange Stories from Chinese Studio,which was elaborately drawn and written by the painter Yu Shouwan according tothe original Strange Stories from Chinese Studio by Pu Songling, awriter in the Qing dynasty.


Liaozhai isshort for Strange Stories from Chinese Studio. It is also known as Legendof Ghosts and Foxesthat is an excellent collection of short stories in ancient China. The book wasdeeply influenced by the ancient Chinese notebook literature of 1700 years agoand the later novels of the Tang dynasty. To write the ghosts, the fairies anddemons as a feature, alluding to the characters and the world. It interweavesthe mysterious magic and supernatural power of foxes, ghosts and flower demonswith the love and hatred stories of human beings, moving readers with vividstory plots and wonderfulliterary language. The orientalphilosophical wisdom and Chinese moral civilization in that book subtlyinfluences on countless readers in ancient times. Some typical stories such as“painted skin”, “corpse change”, “rouge”and so on, widely spreading in societyin recent three hundred years.


Pu Songling (1640-1715), author of StrangeStories from Chinese Studio, was born in Ming dynasty and lived in Qingdynasty, a native of Pujiazhuang, Zichuan, Shandong province, China. Hiscourtesy name is Liuxian and alias is Liuquan Jushi. He came from a poorfamily, repeatedly participating in the examination for many times,but failed. Tomake a living, he became a teacher in old-style private school in the country. Buthis personality is stubborn, still adheres to the literary creation inadversity. His works are quite abundant, such as The Classic of Nongsang, Songof Medicine, Common Words, VulgarSongs, Pre-disaster Compilation, Post-disasterCompilation and so on, and he had never stop writing creating totally morethan 1,000 poems. Strange Stories from Chinese Studio is his masterpiecewritten with all his life, and it is the highest achievement collection ofshort stories in classical Chinese literature in ancient China.


Yu Shouwan,the author of The Complete Picture of Strange Stories from Chinese Studio,was born in Muping, Shandong province in 1943, works in Zibo city for a longtime. He is engaged in art work of Zibo City Cultural Center.

Yu Shouwangraduated from China Academy of Fine Arts which is one of the best art schoolsin Asia, and he is a member of Chinese Artists Association, consultant ofFigure Painting Art Council of Shandong Artists Association, consultant ofShandong Chinese Painting Society, honorary president of Chinese PaintingResearch Institute of Oriental Culture and Art Academy of Ministry of Culture.

Yu Shouwanhas excellent artistic cultural accomplishments. He created and published  more than one hundred kinds of comics such as”Journey to the West”, “Live Monkey”. He alsopublished many types of art albums, for instance, Dahongpao Yu Shouwan andElaborate-style Paintings of Freehand Brushwork, Yu Shouwan’s Researches andso on. His works have won prizes in the National Exhibitions of TraditionalChinese Painting, the Ode to the Great Wall won the national silveraward.


YuShouwan is fond of ancient Chinese culture and reading. He often placed Liaozhaibeside his bed. Over time, he even vaguely felt that Pu Songling’s voice,appearance and feelings when Pu(he)was writing. Therefore, he mapsLiaozhai on thepremise that he is familiar with Liaozhai and understands the purpose of Liaozhai, andstrives to trace the original intention of the author Pu Songling’s article,accurately reproduce the humanities and scenes of the Ming and Qing Dynasties andthe characteristics of the scene. Romantic conception spirit, creative use of”montage”method, in the article, occurredin multiple time and space plots, cleverly combined in a single picture, takinginto account the beauty of the story and the rich content of the story, Theclassic works of Liaozhai have been visualized from theperspective of painting with a beautiful line drawing of beautiful Chinesepaintings, and a slightly exaggerated artistic language in realism.The whole book has 491 pieces, one or two pieces each,and a total of 505 pictures are drawn. The wholepicture is both an illustration and a separate work, making it a rare work inbook illustrations.

When the complete picture of Liaozhai wasexhibited at the China National Academy of Painting, it was unanimously praisedby art theorists in the capital, Beijing. “The creation of the completeset of Liaozhai is of great significance in the history of art.”said Chen Zui, a doctoral supervisor at the Chinese Academy of Arts. Li yi, aresearcher at the Chinese Academy of Arts, said: “Pu Songling superiorly wroteabout ghosts,fairies and demons. Yu Shouwan vividly painted ghosts fairies, anddemons.”

Thewhole picture was created by Yu Shouwan for using six years and revised it morethan 20 times. After that, he spent more than two years to write thesimplified version of classical Chinese book Liaozhai to match with thecomplete picture. Thisset of articles has been warmly praised by Pu Songling Memorial Hall and theChina Liaozhai Academic Research Association.


Yue Youxi

3rd Jan, 2020