P R E F A C E
It is said that the treasures in the world are all blessed. People may have the chance to lookover them for a while, but everything will be gone with the wind short after.
The old residence of the Pan family located in the east of Suzhou have gone through trialsand hardships for over two hundred years since 1793 and are now still there. The three pine trees in the courtyard were thick and luxuriant. Every year when summer came, scholars and bosom friends would take a visit to the residence, including Huang Yi, Huang Pilie, Pan Shi’en, Gu Wenbin, Pan Zuyin and Wu Dacheng. They talked, chatted and composed poems there.
Pan Yijun was the first one in the aristocratic Pan family that achieved jinshi, or the successful candidate in the imperial examination held in the palace under the emperor’s supervision. His son Pan Shihuang followed his steps and made even greater achievements,tanhua, or the third place in the highest imperial examination, which earned honor tohis family. Meanwhile, he inherited the family tradition and lived a peaceful life. Soon he decided to live in reclusion in Suzhou. He collected calligraphy, paintings, stone rubbings and ancient books in his studio to both satisfy his father’s needs and cultivate the descendants. The collections of the aristocratic Pan family started from Pan Yijun and Pan Shihuang. They lasted and remained prosperous for four generations.
Indebted to his ancestors, Pan Zunqi established Xiang-Xue Thatched Cottage at Guang-Fu Hill and built Si-Mei (Plum Blossom of Four Seasons) Pavilion to keep Yang Buzhi’s painting Plum Blossom of Four Seasons, his grandfather’s collection. In 1860 when the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom peasant revolt made great damage to the economy and culture of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, one of the three pine trees died and Si-Mei Pavilion was also destroyed. In the later years, he gained a sudden insight that he sold the collections gradually so others in the art circle could benefit from them. This was not an ordinary decision. Many of the collections later belonged to the Gu family. We could look it up in the record of the Gu family.
Collections of the Pan Family from Suzhou in the Qing Dynasty ,We have gathered collections of the six generations of the Pan family at the Suzhou Museum to hold this exhibition, the fourth and also the last episode of the ‘Suzhou Collectors in the Qing Dynasty’ academic exhibitions. Sincere thanks go to the Palace Museum, National Library of China, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Library, Nanjing Museum, Nanjing Library, Tianjin Museum, Wuxi Museum, Suzhou Library, Suzhou Antiquity Store, Changshu Museum, Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tokyo National Museum and descendants of the Pan family.
Calligraphy and paintings, as Su Shi (1037-1101), a great poet in Song Dynasty contended, are like fleeting clouds to man. Life is full of impermanence. It is supreme wisdom to give up all that we used to possess. We hope you will enjoy this exhibition.
The above serves as the preface.
Director of Suzhou Museum