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Hangzhou Xiling Society of Seal Arts Travel Guide


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xiling yinshe

Xiling Yinshe(西泠印社, Xiling Society of Seal Arts), located on the north side of West Lake of Hangzhou, was the oldest and most famous society of seal arts academic study and creation. It has a world influence to seal engraving, calligraphy and painting creation, study and collection. Today, It is the most famous and influential center of traditional art study and creation by cultural elites and academic scholars in China.

The Foundation of Xiling Yinshe –

Firstly established in 1904(in the 30th reign of Emperor Guangxu in Qing Dynasty), Xiling Yinshe(Xiling Society of Seal Arts) was launched jointly by a group of typical seal cutting experts of Zhejiang Style Seal Arts represented by Ding Ren(丁仁), Wang Ti(王禔), Wu Yin(吴隐) and Ye Ming(叶铭). The society-establishment target is to preserve the ancient stone and metal inscriptions, engage in the academic study of the seal cutting arts and take a research to the calligraphy and painting(保存金石,研究印学,兼及书画). It boasts the No.1 famous society on earth, and is the top society, with the longest history, greatest achievements and widest influence, to study the seal cuttings arts and history at home and abroad. Exactly situated on the south foot of Solitary Hill and near to Zhongshan Park, Zhejiang Museum, Pinghu Qiuyue, Duanqiao Canxue(Borken Bridge), Bai Causeway, Yu Yue’s Former Residence, Fanghe Pavilion, Zhejiang West Lake Gallery in West Lake Scenic Area, it has a total area of 1750 square meters. There are lots of ancient buildings and relics themed with seal arts of Ming and Qing Dynasty. It could be considered as a classical garden with a great design. The inside landscape layout design is typically accepted. The cliff calligraphic inscriptions, the founders’ statues, the stone house preserving the most valuable steles(汉三老碑, Han Sanlao Stele) of East Han Dynasty excavated in Ningbo, and other antiques together bring it a famous named of Hushan Zuijiachu(湖山最佳处, the best part of Hangzhou).

Today, the Xiling Society of Seal Arts is mainly comprised of three parts. And they are featured respectively, and the main architectures in garden include Botang(柏堂, The Hall of Cypress), Yangxianting(仰贤亭, The Pavilion of Honoring Sages), Huanpu Jinglu(还朴精庐, Refined House of Re-Simplicity), Cliff Inscriptions and Stone Carvings, and Chinese Seal Arts Study Museum(中国印学博物馆) collecting more than 6000 pieces of calligraphies, paintings and seals for generations.

The Pagoda of Avatamsaka Sutra(华严经塔) –

In the garden, there is a pagoda named Huayanjing Pagoda( or the pagoda of huayan sutra), which is the only exquisite stone pagoda with an architectural style of close eaves(密檐式塔) in Hangzhou, and it was said that built in 1924 thanks to the donation of a monk, who was also an early member of Xiling Yinshe. The Pagoda is over 20 meters and currently is the symbolic building comprised of 11 floors, and the flat surface of the pagoda is an octagon type. The first floor is carved with the Sutra of Huayan(华严经, Avatamsaka Sutra), the second and third floors are carved with the Diamond Sutra, and the other floors and the top are carved with the Buddha profiles.

Three Seniors’ Stele of Han Dynasty (汉三老碑) - >>>>>

The History of Xiling Yinshe -

In 1913,Wu Changshuo, a modern artistic master, acted as the first president of Xiling Society of Seal Arts. Due to its personal reputation, a large group of famous artists followed him and joined in the society like Li Shutong(李叔同), Huang Binhong(黄宾虹), Ma Yifu(马一浮), Feng Zikai(丰子恺), Wu Hufan(吴湖帆), Yang Shoujing(杨守敬), Sheng Xuanhuai(盛宣怀), Kang Youwei(康有为) and Shang Chengzuo(商承祚). Over two decade years’ efforts, Xiling Yinshe had a great development and a large influence in the world. Its status as the center of seal, calligraphy and painting creation and study has been consolidated. With its great influence, the seal arts spread to Japan, and the related societies were established as well in other countries. In 1949, Xiling Yinshe was organized by state.

In 2001, Xiling Yinshe as the important historic site of modern China and the typical architecture was written into the fifth batch of key cultural sites under the national protection. In 2006, the seal-cutting art of Xiling Yinshe was written into the first batch of national intangible heritage list. In 2009, Chinese Seal Art was successfully written into the UNESCO World Intangible Heritage List and becomes a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The President List of Hangzhou Xiling Society of Seal Arts in History -

Ding Ren Wu Changshuo Ma Heng Zhang Zongxiang
Sha Menghai Zhao Puchu Qi Gong Rao Zongyi

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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