Wang ChaoYing

I can remember my excitement when I first encountered the Tompa characters. At that time, I could not imagine that these characters would cause a fashionable whirl "wind" in Japan, which was far away from the Yuin Nan province of China. Interestingly, the word "wind" has many meanings in the Tompa characters, ranging from "reminiscence " to "melancholy " and "sorrow". In addition to these meanings, there are also the phrases "Fu-Ryu" ("stream of the wind") and "Fu-Zei (" feeling of the wind")". In this exhibition, I would like to show the "culture of the wind", that is the background of the Tompa characters, with the key words being "Fu-Ryu" and "Fu-Zei". In the Yuin Nan Province of China, the Naxi tribe has a population of only about two hundred thousands. In the Naxi tribe, many stories about double suicide based on "Fu-Ryu" are passed down, because this people live for love and die for love. "Fu-Ryu" has a deep relation to the convention of maternal society and the custom of free love that still survives in their society. The dominant role of women in society brought a very original aesthetic and their own philosophy about love. People visiting this place, will be surprised to see verdant mountains, pure water and beautiful people, and must seriously think that they could spend the rest of their life there. This feeling of union with nature, in short "pure love", gives real meaning to "Fu-Ryu". The Naxi tribe believes that every creation has an eternal soul and each soul is attached to one life in every lifetime. A human soul might have transmigrated from a flower, eagle or river in the previous lifetime, and will transmigrate to a plant, butterfly or mountain in the next lifetime. A human soul always transmigrates to nature. People believe "If I can not go to heaven, I will go to hell". However, the Naxi tribe believes there is a "Shangri-La", that is not heaven nor hell. The place is unimaginably beautiful "a third world". There is no fighting, no discord, neither is there aging nor illness, no life nor death. There is only a life of peace in that world. The stories, written in the Tompa characters, describe such a beautiful world. Young ladies weave their clothes from white cloud and wind, bathe in the milk of cattle and sheep, ride red tigers and white deer, and fly cranes and eagles.Both local young men and travelers from far countries yearn for this beautiful vision. However, only the couple who have died together for love, can step into this beautiful third world. This death is for "Fu-Ryu". The Naxi tribe believes that death for love is the happiest event in life. Even a modern educated official of the Chinese Communist Party, a governor of Lijiang Prefecture, fell in love with a beautiful lady in this area and attained the third world with her. Nobody can prevent their double suicide. A man and a woman, who are deeply in love with each other, can choose and carry out double suicide. The death of one person and survival of the other is an ominous sign that they will never reach the third world. The couple, who determine to commit suicide together, usually wear beautiful clothes, prepare a fine meal, sing their favorite songs and terminate their lives with a smile. They will depart to the beautiful world with beautiful love. Because the Naxi tribe has this philosophy of "Fu-Ryu", there are more than a thousand kinds of character that symbolize the spirit of "Fu-Ryu"(the God of Love), among the Tompa characters. These spirits are all female. When a young lady falls in love, she starts to dream about the double suicide, instead of a desire for a sumptuous wedding. Basically, females are much more predisposed to suicide. Sometimes, the male is only passive, and double suicide is carried out. After their suicide is achieved, people celebrate them with a grand ceremony and believe that the couple have departed to the third world. Civilized people today may think it is their happiest moment if they can risk their life for love. The Tompa characters with their thousand year history also indicate this idea of love. In this exhibition, several illustrations of the spirit of "Fu-Ryu" are shown, and one complete story of double suicide is exhibited. This story is about a couple who attained the third world. This is the first time that this tale has been shown in Japan. This is a story of a nomadic couple. Jio Ming, the wife, and Yong Le, the husband, loved each other and lived together in happiness. One day, Jio Ming took the cattle out to graze and lost her way. She asked small animals to call her beloved husband to her aid. However, as her husband’s parents were in the mistaken belief that Jio Ming was meeting another man, they replied with vicious messages. As Yong Le did not know what his parents had done, he looked for his wife from mountains to plain fields. The years passed. Jio Ming could not endure the loneliness and the vicious messages. One day, the God of Love called her to come to the third world. So, she took her life with a rope woven by her own hand. After three days, Yong Le finally found Jio Ming. He could not accept the reality in front of him. Yong Le held her body tight and said; " I will decorate your eyes with jewels to make you see again. I will create your teeth with silver to make you eat your favorite food again. I will decorate your hair with waterweed to give it back its wave" However, the soul of Jio Ming said " Her eyes will never open again. Her teeth will never chew again. Her hair will never curl again. Jio Ming hopes that her eyes will change to jewels, her teeth will transform to silver and her hair will change to black diamonds, to support you." When he heard those words, he could not take it anymore, and threw himself into the raging flames. His body was like a firebird. Later, people saw two white clouds floating at the summit of the Yu Luon Xue Shan Mountain. The forest kept singing songs of sorrow for the people who died for "Fu-Ryu". Songs for double suicide became the model for young people who tried to kill themselves. For a long time, singing these songs was banned. Whenever these songs are played, the sad drama could play again. "The culture of wind" is closely related to the local idea of "Fu-Zei". This phrase is slightly different from the ordinary meaning and includes a meaning of fairyland. The autonomous area of the Naxi tribe in Lijiang, is situated close to Tibet and the Szechuan province. In this area, there are mountains over five thousand meters high and the Chang Jiang Canyon that has the deepest drop in the world. The landscape bears numerous highland lakes. Explorers praise this place as "the most beautiful place in the world" and "the last Shangri-La of humanity." Historical research has identified this area as the "Shangri-La" that was written about by a famous European author. Zhong Dian, a city next to Lijiang, officially changed its name to "Shangri-La". Throughout the year, its temperature only varies from ten to twenty four degrees. So this place can be called "the place of eternal spring”. " Flowers run riot, forests grow deep green, and snow tops glisten. As you can see from the photographs exhibited, snowy mountains and flowers live together, light reflects rainbows. Highland lakes are like jade beads and jewels dropped to earth. Great river like silky bands cut through the jade. The river’s clarity is so pure that you can differentiate between the colorful stones and fish ten meters below. This vivid scenery gives people the illusion of heaven. This beautiful landscape might color the Tompa characters. These characters are the only hieroglyphics still in use. Unfortunately the Tompa characters are in danger of extinction. It's said that the priests who can read and write the characters can be counted only in dozens. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce this venerable and mysterious culture. With gladness can I raise these secret emotions from the depths to revitalize and to sanctify the soul of the city-dweller. The main differences between the Tompa characters and our own is that they don’t seek to express numerous meanings nor the poken word, they simply and directly represent human life and human emotion. I would like you to feel the natural feeling of human beings. This is the philosophy of life that the Tompa characters try to express. I’m gratified if you can be impressed by this exhibition. I appreciate 0the help and commitment of all my friends, especially Gallery ef, who gave me a chance to have this exhibition. I will dedicate a pure flavor tea, "Tien-Tea", from the Yu Luon Xue Mountain, to you, the audience.

Wang ChaoYing, July 2002, Shanghai
translation: Gallery ef & Tim Rawsthorne


Born in Shanghai, China.
Evacuated to rural farming village at the peak of Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Started learning Chinese ancient characters under the teacher of dame school.
Enter an applied fine arts career, selected by Shanghai Fine Arts Institute, involved in creation following fifteen years.
Won the first prize at National Chinese Fine Arts Exposition.
The work has wide-ranging variety, such as Chinese painting, decorative drawing, cutting paper, calligraphy, engraving stone seals, particular craft and so on. Won prizes more than twenty times in ten years, at fine arts expositions in national and Shanghai city.
Took charge of restoration of Chinese antiquity great paintings at Shanghai Museum.
Obtained the qualification of arts and crafts designer at the youngest age at the time.
Studied at Shanghai University literature academy, Chinese language literature department.
Served concurrently an art editor for magazines "Shanghai Market" and "Shanghai Furniture"
Went to Japan to study.
Participated The World Art Education Association, Asian regional congress in China and Japan.
Designed and created computer fonts format software for FUJITSU company (Japan) and NEC company (Japan).
Won a prize in the Korea, China, Japan combined calligraphic art exhibition, three years in a row.
Served chief editor for art column in "Japan Foreign Students Newspaper", released many art criticisms and theories.
Cooperated Shanghai Craft & Art School to encourage students studying Chinese traditional craft and art, served jury president as well.
Graduated Musashino Art University (Japan) Department of Visual Communication Design, took bachelor's degree of figurative arts. His graduation thesis "Kanji hieroglyphic theory" won the highest award.
Served chief editor for art at Maar publisher (Tokyo).
Held privately an exhibition of Japanese graphique and advertising design.
Established the first art only reference room in Shanghai Library, under the support of Japanese publisher, donated specialized book a collective 60,000dollars.
Organised an exhibition of Japanese Calendar, under support of Zhu Kai Zhan Art Museum.
Began activities for preservation and development of LiJiang city, YuinNan Province. Published the world first book of "DongBa character" in Japanese and English.
Participated as a cordinator for a program of small tribe in YuinNan Province, produced by Japan National TV, which introduced DongBa character in Japan for the first time.
Translated "In periods of Individual Business - Corporate Identity"
Cooperated as a member of editorial board for the most authoritative large encyclopedia in China "Ci Hai".
Published "World Selective Corporate Identity" in China, participated as chief editor.
Rewarded by LiJiang government as one of the most contributed hundred scholars, for his long service to dissemination of DongBa culture and research activities, selected honorary citizen of LiJiang city, .
Held an exhibition "DongBa characters - stream of the wind, feeling of the wind" at Gallery ef, Tokyo.
Translated and published "Archaeology of Future Design"
First presentation of "MIYABI characters" at Shanghai Art Exposition.
Took charge of Japanese translation for "DongBa Characters Dictionary".
First collaboration work of MIYABI characters with Austrian ceramist Thomas Bohle presented at “DanYa” exhibition at Peninsula Art Center in Shanghai.Since 1992, various lectures at
Hiratsuka Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, Kanazawa Collage of Art, Shanghai University, China Academy of Art, China State Economic and Trade Commission, World Graphic Design Association, Japan Graphic Design Association, China Fashion Association, China Advertising Association, Xiamen University (China), Kanagawa Prefecture Chirographer Association (Japan), WuHan University (China), DongBa International Cultural Week (China), Musashino Art University Oriental Art course (Japan), and so on.
Now serving concurrently
Special lecturer of Musashino Art University (Japan)
International exchange committee of China Academy of Art
Guest professor of Shanghai University of Engineering Science

Own Publications:
New Kai-Sho Type (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1988)
Kai-Sho: printed style of writing Chinese characters
New Mode Multi Potency Furniture (China, Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers, 1989)
New Kai-Sho Type Application (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1989)
Engraving Character Series 1-3 (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1990)
Shogun Kai-Sho Type (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1990)
So-Sho Type Dictionary (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1990)
So-Sho: flowing style of writing Chinese characters
Engraving Character Series 4-6 (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1991)
Japan Modern Advertisement (China, Art Publication Department of Shanghai Library, 1992)
Roman Ming-style Type Dictionary (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1993)
Visual Design Structure 1 – Living Room (China, Shanghai, Hong Kong Joint-Publishing, 1993)
Visual Design Structure 2 – Kitchen Space (China, Shanghai, Hong Kong Joint-Publishing, 1993)
Rei-Sho Type Dictionary (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1994)
Rei-Sho: Chinese characters written in the demotic semi-square style
DongBa Characters - Living Hieroglyphics (Japan, Maar Publisher, 1996)
Japan Modern Calendar Exhibition Catalogue (China/Japan Modern Calendar Exhibition, 1996)
DongBa Characters Post Cards (Japan, Maar Publisher, 2001)
The World Selective Corporate Identity (China, Shanghai Dictionary Pubslisher, 2001)
Archaeology of Future Design (China, Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publisher, 2003)

Translation work:
World Classical Patterns (China, Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publisher, 2003)
Legend of DongBa Characters (Japan, Maar Publisher, 2004)
Japan Typographic Almanac 2004 (China, Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publisher, 2004)