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Xie Ziwen (1916-2011)
Lu Xun and the New Chinese Woodprint
Woodblock print
58 x 60 cm

Xie Ziwen had a long career in printmaking, best known for his patriotic works in the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-45).  After the Revolution, he taught at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts.  This print commemorates the 50th anniversary of the six-day practical printmaking workshop Lu Xun sponsored, which is generally regarded as the birth of the Modern Woodcut Movement (top-left). It also illustrates his enthusiasm for China’s ancient arts and twentieth- century Expressionist prints.

Muban Educational Trust registration number xiezw002


Li Qun (1912-2012)
Portrait of Lu Xun 
Woodblock print
12 x 10 cm

Li Qun sent this portrait to Lu Xun, then finally met him just days before Lu died.   On the upper right are two shelves of books. In the lower left, a hand grasps a nibbed pen, with a dog looking up at it.  Li Qun was a founding member of the League of Left-Wing Artists in 1933, and during the Second Sino-Japanese War (War of Resistance) taught at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature (LuYi) in Yan’an. 

Muban Educational Trust registration number livqv029

05.Li Yitai (b. 1944) Lu Xun 1974Woodblock print20x17cm.png


Li Yitai (b. 1944)
Lu Xun 
Woodblock print
46 x 47cm

Here is Lu Xun in a characteristic pose, surrounded by his books in his office.  The one legible book has Karl Marx on the cover, and the print has also been referred to as Marxism-Leninism is the Most Forthright Philosophy.  Although a left-wing cultural leader, Lu Xun never joined the Communist Party. On the wall behind him is Change, a work in the Peasant War series (1902-8) by Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), whom Lu Xun greatly admired.


Muban Educational Trust registration number livyt006


Zhao Yannian (1924-2014)
Portrait of Lu Xun 
Woodblock print
30 x 42 cm

Lu Xun wears a pensive expression in this powerfully cut image.  The artist’s pencilled inscription reads, “Fierce-browed, coolly denying the thousand pointing fingers, head bowed like an ox serving the people.” These two lines are a variation on Lu Xun’s 1932 poem, Self-Mockery, here given a revolutionary political interpretation, as quoted out of context by Mao Zedong at the 1942 Yan’an Conference on Literature and Art.  

Muban Educational Trust registration number zhayn004



Zhao Yannian (1924-2014)
Mr. Lu Xun 
Woodblock print
27 x 20 cm


This print is in a completely different style and mood from the preceding one (no.6) by the same artist. Lu Xun is shown here looking relaxed with his ever-present cigarette.  His pose, however, immediately calls to mind a photo taken very shortly before his death in October 1936.  In that iconic image, Sha Fei (1912-50), Lu Xun’s “official photographer,” captured the writer with a group of admiring young artists at Shanghai’s Uchiyama bookstore.

Muban Educational Trust registration number zhayn008


Wu Jide (b. 1942)
Everlasting Friendship—Lu Xun and Uchiyama Kanzo

Woodblock print

66 x 50 cm

Uchiyama Kanzo (1885-1959), a Christian who left school at twelve, was perhaps an unlikely friend for Lu Xun.  His Shanghai bookstore was a gathering place for writers, serving as an office and occasional hiding place for Lu Xun.  In Shanghai’s repressive political situation, Lu Xun and Uchiyama shared some near-death experiences. This print, however, shows them enjoying an affable, relaxed evening together.  Uchiyama’s younger brother. Kakichi (1900-84), taught the 1931 workshop marking the founding of the Modern Woodcut Movement. 

Muban Educational Trust registration number wuvjd011



Wang Qi (1918-2016)

Lu Xun and the Youth Movement


Woodblock print


Wang Qi made the earliest portrait in this exhibition (no. 4).  Here he presents Lu Xun with starkly chiselled features, older but wiser, still wielding his brush as political weapon.  He had sympathized with the 1920s-30s leftist youth movement, which was repressed by the Guomindang government.  How would he have reacted to the Cultural Revolution (1966-76)? When this print was made, the destructive youth movement of the late 1960s had been brought under control, and students were back in universities. 


Muban Educational Trust registration number wanqv024


Zhang Jiarui (b.1934)
With a Heavy Heart
Woodblock print
35 x 32 cm

Lu Xun is often shown near a Chinese or Expressionist print he admires. Here it is Käthe Kollwitz’ Sacrifice, from her War series (1921-22) lamenting the catastrophic human loss in World War I, including her son.  The print’s date and title suggest that Jiang Jiarui is referring to the traumatic Cultural Revolution.  It was made afterwards, when artists were relatively freer to express their views on those ten years, and he evokes a saddened Lu Xun to make his point. 

Muban Educational Trust registration number zhajr060



Wu Biduan (b.1926)
Portrait of the Chinese Writer—Mr. Lu Xun
Woodblock print
43 x 35 cm

Lu Xun is shown seated here before of the text of a poem he wrote and included in an essay called “Remembrance for the Sake of Forgetting.”  The essay expressed his grief and rage over the execution by the Guomindang of five members of the League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai in 1931.  Lu Xun said that he couldn’t publish the poem at the time, so in commemoration, he published instead a copy of Kollwitz’s Sacrifice (see no. 10).

Muban Educational Trust registration number wuvbd001


Zhao Jinghuan (b.1934)
Soul of the Nation — Lu Xun
Woodblock print
23 x 39 cm

This print was clearly inspired by the widely circulated post-mortem images of Lu Xun.  The title refers to the characters embroidered on the white flag draping his coffin.  The written elements on the print represent two of Lu Xun’s most famous works: at the top left, the second character of the title 呐喊 (Nahan, Call to Arms), and right-centre, the intentionally-used foreign “Q” in the title 啊Q正傳 (Ah Q Zhengzhuan, The True Story of Ah Q).

Muban Educational Trust registration number zhazh003



Yang Feng (b.1960)
Art for the Sake of Surviving, Remembering China’s New Woodblock Printmaking
Woodblock print
76 x 87 cm

This print is full of references to Lu Xun’s impact on Chinese woodblock printing and revolutionary cultural movements, during and after his lifetime.  Prints created by 1930s-40s artists Hu Yichuan, Lin Yangzheng and others are easily recognisable.  The panel above shows a collection of Soviet prints he compiled and introduced in China (引玉集, Yin yu ji). The left-hand panel shows communist themes (Mao and the New Fourth Army logo). 

Muban Educational Trust registration number yanfv024



Zhang Huaijiang (1922-1989)
Illustrations to the Short Story Diary of a Madman by Lu Xun (4 of 40 works)
Woodblock prints
20 x 17 cm

Diary of a Madman is often referred to as China’s first modern short story, written by Lu Xun in vernacular Chinese, rather than classical.  Inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s (1809-52) story of the same name, it depicts a ‘madman’ who sees cannibalism everywhere. Zhang’s illustrations are as dark as the story’s rendering of China. Zhang began making revolutionary prints in the 1940s. He was condemned as a rightist in 1957, but was later rehabilitated and returned to an official position.

Muban Educational Trust registration number zhahj101, 134, 138, 140

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