Wenzhou is a city with profound and brilliant cultural background with a history of 1682 years ago. It has given birth to many outstanding people and great scholars. Among them were Wang Shipeng, Chen Fuliang, Ye Shi, Huang Gongwang and Liu Ji during the South Song Dynasty, as well as Sun Yirang, Xia Nai, Xia Chengtao and Su Buqing and others of the modern era. All of them have exerted significant influence in the history of Chinese philosophy, literature and science. Wenzhou is also the originating place of China’s landscape poetry, the founder of which, Xie Lingyun, was the chief of Wenzhou’s Yongjia Prefecture in Nan Dynast. In Song Dynasty, there were 4 distinguished poets from Yongjia representing the River and Lake Poetry. Besides, Wenzhou is home to Nan Drama of China. For an instance, "Tale of Lute", a play by Gao Zecheng of Ming Dynasty, is renowned abroad as one of the most outstanding works of Chinese drama along with Kun Opera of Yongjia which is recognized as the verbal and non-material human heritage. Wenzhou is also the birthplace of China’s Mercantilism. From the Southern Song Dynasty, in contrast to the Confucianism represented by Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan in China urging people to study to be officials in the future, the theory of Wenzhou’s Yongjia School represented by Ye Shi, emphasized the importance of business. The theory has an enduring impact on the mindset of Wenzhou natives and has become the "cultural gene" in the economic development of Wenzhou ever since.
Wang Xizhi Xie Lingyun Wang Shipeng Ye Shi Liu Ji
Sun Yirang Zheng Zhenduo Su Buqing Xia Nai Gu Chaohao
Wang Xizhi (Chinese: 王羲之, 303–361) was a Chinese calligrapher and a governor of the ancient Wenzhou in his times, traditionally referred to as the Sage of Calligraphy. Born in Linyi, Shandong, Wang spent most of his life in present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang. He learned the art of calligraphy from Wei Shuo. He excelled in every script but particularly in semi-cursive script. Unfortunately, none of his original works remains today.
His most famous work is the Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion, the introduction to a collection of poems written by a number of poets during a gathering at Lanting near the town of Shaoxing for the Spring Purification Festival. The original is lost, but there are a number of finely traced copies and rubbings in existence.
Xie Lingyun (Chinese: 谢灵运 385–433), also known as the Duke of Kangle, a Wenzhou governor in the old times, was one of the foremost Chinese poets of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Born in Shangyu, Zhejiang, Xie's traced his ancestry to Taikang, Henan. His father was the general Xie Xuan. Xie served as an official in the Eastern Jin and Liu Song dynasties; however, factional intrigues led to his dismissal and exile. Later, because of his defiant attitude, he was arrested, and was later captured and executed in 433 at Nanhai (near modern Guangzhou).
Xie was a devout Buddhist and was considered a nature or landscape poet focusing on the "mountain and streams" instead of "field and garden" landscapes. His poetry is allusive and complex.
Wang Shipeng (Chinese: 王十朋 1114 - 1171). A native of Wenzhou in present-day Zhejiang, Wang gained the jinshi degree in 1157 and was appointed Assistant in in the Palace Library. In an attempt to help recover land lost to the Jurgens in the North, Wang presented several reform proposals to the court, but all were rejected. His concern for the dynasty also shows in his poetry, collected in Meixi ji [Collected Writings of Meixi], expressing the political ideal of 'spreading the superior's beneficence and showing solicitude to the common people'.
Ye Shi (Chinese: 叶适 Pseudonym: Mr. Shuixin 1150–1223), a Chinese neo-Confucian of the Song dynasty. A native of Wenzhou, Zhejiang, he was the most famous figure of the Yongjia School, a neo-Confucianism School composed mostly of philosophers from Wenzhou Prefecture in Zhejiang province. In contrast to other neo-Confucianists in the same period like Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan, he stressed practical learning and applying Confucian doctrine to real world problems. This school had important influence on later thinkers from Zhejiang province, including Wang Shouren and Huang Zongxi, who were the most important philosophers in the Ming and Qing periods.
Liu Ji (Chinese: 刘基 1311--1375, courtesy name: Bowen). Born in Qingtian County, he was a Chinese military strategist, officer, statesman and poet of the late Yuan and early Ming dynasty. He was the main advisor to the Yuan Dynasty era rebel Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398), who later became the first Ming Emperor. Liu Ji is also known for his prophecies, as he has been described as the "Chinese Nostradamus". With his contemporary general and scholar Jiao Yu, he was one of the co-editors of the military treatise known as the Huolongjing, as well as co-edited Zhuge Liang's Mastering the Art of War book.
Sun Yirang (Chinese: 孙诒让 1848–1908) was a Chinese philologist. A native of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, he retired from official employment early in his life to devote himself to scholarship. His most important works are Mozi Jiangu, a corrected, definitive edition of Mozi, and Zhouli Zhengyi, an important commentary on the Rites of Zhou. He also contributed to the studies of the bronzeware script and oracle script. His work Qiwen Juli, published posthumously by Luo Zhenyu, was the first work of decipherment of the oracle bone script.
Zheng Zhenduo (Chinese: 郑振铎 1898 – 1958), was a journalist, a modern writer, an archeologist and a literature scholar.
He made a significant contribution towards the establishment of the Chinese literature and the editing of a variety of literary magazines. In 1921, he, Shen Yanbing and other classmates organized Literary Study Society. In 1923, he became the chief editor of Xiaoshuo Yuebao. In addition, he in succession participated in editing Min Chao, Xin Shehui, Wenxue xunkan. During the (China's) War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945), he retained in Shanghai to continue upholding the progress of cultural work. After the establishment of New China, he was assigned to be the chief of Historical Relic Organization, the head of the archaeology research institute of the Chinese Academy of Science and literary research institute, the assistant minister of cultural department, committee member of State Council scientific program committee and Chinese Academy of Science philosophical social sciences and etc. He died in the plane crash in the Soviet Union during his journey in 1958.
Su Buqing (苏步青1902 – 2003) was a Chinese mathematician and educator.
He was born in Pingyang, Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province in 1902. He graduated from Tohoku Imperial University in Japan in 1927 and received his Ph.D. from the University in 1931. He returned to China after his study in Japan, first served as a professor and dean at Zhejiang University (he established the well-known Chen-Su School with Chen Jian'gong), and later as a professor and president and honorary president of Fudan University. He was honorary chairman of the Chinese Mathematical Society and elected to Academia Sinica and Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1948 and 1955 respectively. Together with Hua Luogeng, they were the most influential figures in mathematical society of modern China.
Praised as the "first geometer in the orient", Su was engaged in research, teaching and education in differential geometry and computational geometry. In his early years, he made excellent contributions to affine geometry and projective differential geometry. He obtained extraordinary achievements in general space differential geometry, conjugate net theory in higher dimensional space and computer aided geometry design.
Xia Nai (Chinese: 夏鼐 1910–1985), born in Wenzhou, southern Zhejiang, China was a Chinese archaeologist. He majored in economic history at the elite Tsinghua University in Beijing (BA, 1934), winning a scholarship to study abroad. He went to University College London and studied Egyptology earning a doctorate that was finally awarded to him in 1946. In the meantime, he had returned to China joining the staff of the Central Museum and then in 1944 joining the Department of Archaeology of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica (1943-1949), becoming acting director in 1948. When the Institute moved to Taiwan in 1949, Xia stayed behind in China, teaching at Zhejiang University for a year before joining the Chinese Academy of Sciences, eventually becoming director of its Institute of Archaeology (1962-1982). Before his death, he was First Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Thanks to his contributions to Chinese and world archaeology, he was one of the most honoured Chinese scholars in academe, receiving memberships from the British Academy (1974), the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities (1983), and the U.S. Academy of Sciences (1984), among others.
Gu Chaohao (Chinese: 谷超豪), born in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, is a Chinese mathematician. He graduated from National Chekiang University (Zhejiang University) in 1948, and received a doctorate degree in physics and mathematical science from Moscow University in 1959. He is primarily engaged in the research on partial differential equation, differential geometry, and mathematical physics. He served as vice president of Fudan University and from 1988 to 1993 president of the University of Science and Technology of China. In 1980, he was elected an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.