Huang Shiling

Huang Shiling 黃士陵 (1849-1908) was born in Yixian, Anhui Province. Leaving Yixian, he traveled north and south, and had a great influence on seal carving in Guangdong and Guangxi. He enriched his knowledge by visiting many famous seal collectors in Yixian, Nanchang, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Wuhan, and by studying ancient scripts and other materials. He earned a living by selling calligraphy and seals. He had a solid base in calligraphy, painting, ancient scripts, and seal carving. He followed the styles of the Zhejiang School, Deng Shiru, and Wu Ranzhi when he was young, but these styles were rarely seen in his works created when he was in middle age. The great influence that he had was from Han seals and ancient seals. He was very strict with his use of the zhuan script, and often he had to write one character a few dozen times before he was satisfied with its look.

At the 2013 Spring auction held by the Xilingyinshe Auction Company a qingtian stone seal by Huang Shiling sold for RMB 425,500 (including commision), which is over US $60,000.

From: Lau, Ho Man. “A Study of Huang Mufu’s Life and Seal Engraving Art” HK: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2012. [Thesis (Ph.D.), electronic resource] ISBN: 9781267746290

“Huang Mufu (1849-1908/1909), born in Anhui Province, was one of the most important seal engravers in the late Qing dynasty. Huang Mufu first learned from Deng Shiru (1743-1805) and Wu Rangzhi (1799-1870) of the Deng school, and later followed the thinking of “seeking artistic links for seal making” of Zhao Zhiqian (1829-1884). Therefore, his seals took on various forms and his seal inscriptions were unique. He also drew on the pattern of seals of the Han dynasty, which pursued tidiness and smoothness and applied Swift knife to create clean and neat strokes. He created his own style that was peculiar in the late Qing dynasty and had far-reaching influence on the seal engraving community of Guangdong Province, so he was renowned as the originator of the Lingnan school. Huang made seals throughout his life and left over rich works. According to the information collected from this research, Huang has about 2,400 seals, which have been analyzed, integrated and chronicled into a systematic and complete database. Many of his seal impressions and colophons provide rare firsthand information for this paper, and hoped to serve as important materials for later studies. Based on the collected sources, this study divided Huang’s career into the imitation, transmutation and maturation stages, in order to discuss his seals’ characteristics in different periods. There has been an extreme scarcity of studies on this topic. Therefore, this paper made a comprehensive study which involved a survey of the primary and secondary literature on Huang Mufu’s life and career. An analysis of the relevant sources enables his career to be reconstructed on a sound chronological basis, and allows his work to be seen in its proper context. This study also made an important contribution to a relatively little-studied area of the history of Chinese art. It corrected a number of misconceptions in previous studies and make up literature deficiencies. The aim is to provide a set of reliable data that allows further development of the history of seal engraving art.”

  • Pinyin: Huáng Shìlíng
  • Wade-Giles: Huang Shih-ling
  • Also known as: Juanshou; Mufu; Mupu
  • Affiliation: Hui School, Deng School, Yishan School, Lingnan School
Calligraphy by Huang Shiling

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