Top of page

Book/Printed Material Hua jian 畫鑒

About this Item


  • Hua jian

Other Title

  • 畫鑒

Translated Title

  • Examination of Painting


  • Hua jian (Examination of painting), compiled by Tang Hou of the early Yuan dynasty, is an important early work on painting theory, which contains the compiler's appreciation, evaluation, and authentication of art. The work is of great value in understanding early Yuan painting and its connoisseurship. The ancestral home of Tang Hou (circa 1250-1320), courtesy name Junzai, style name Caizhenzi, was Shanyin (present-day Huai'an Xian, Jiangsu). His grandfather moved to Jingkou (present-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu). Tang Hou served as the rector of Lanting Shuyuan Academy in Shaoxinglu Circuit and also as a clerk at a protectorate headquarters. He was conversant in classics and history and was an expert in archaeology. It was said that during Tang Hou's sojourn in the capital he conducted discussions on painting with the famed painter and calligrapher Ke Jiusi and was appointed the erudite of painting. He also compiled this work, which was published in about the late-Zhiyuan reign or early Dade era (1280-1300) and revised and reissued by later generations. The work lists chronologically dozens of painters dating from the Three Kingdoms (220-80) up to the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368), and includes pictures from other countries, including Korea. The appendices contain Tang Hou's thoughts on methods of appreciating and collecting paintings. Most of his assessments focused on the style and spirit of brushwork. His comments were precise and insightful. This work was often published as part of a series; rarely has it been seen as a single edition. This copy is a facsimile handwritten copy of an early Ming edition by Yezhuzhai of Shen Clan (The Wild Bamboo Studio), owned by collector Shen Yuwen of Wuxian (present-day Suzhou, Jiangsu) during the Jiajing reign (1521-67). The copy was held and annotated by renowned book collectors. According to a postscript by Shi Chenji, the copying was completed in the spring of the 44th year (1565) of the Jiajing reign; thus the work could have been completed around that date.


  • Tang, Hou, active 13th and 14th centuries Compiler

Created / Published

  • Suzhou, Jiangsu : Shen Yu Wen, 1565.


  • -  China
  • -  1280 to 1300
  • -  Chinese classics
  • -  Chinese literature
  • -  Chinese painting
  • -  Painters
  • -  Paintings


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 1 volume : stitch-bound ; 25.2 x 14.2 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of China.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666511

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Tang, Hou, Active 13Th And 14Th Centuries Compiler. Hua Jian. Suzhou, Jiangsu: Shen Yu Wen, 1565. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Tang, H. (1565) Hua Jian. Suzhou, Jiangsu: Shen Yu Wen. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Tang, Hou, Active 13Th And 14Th Centuries Compiler. Hua Jian. Suzhou, Jiangsu: Shen Yu Wen, 1565. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.