Renowned Chinese Redology scholar Feng Qiyong passes away at age 95

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/23 17:08:39

Renowned Chinese Redology scholar Feng Qiyong dies

Feng QiyongAbove: The cover to the English version of <em>A Dream of Red Mansions</em> Photos: IC

 The cover to the English version of A Dream of Red Mansions Photo: IC

Feng QiyongAbove: The cover to the English version of <em>A Dream of Red Mansions</em> Photos: IC

Feng Qiyong Photo: IC

Feng Qiyong, a renowned Chinese scholar, passed away on Sunday at the age of 95.

Famous for his contributions to Redology, the study of the famous Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) novel A Dream of Red Mansions, Feng headed the team that worked on the 1982 version of the novel published by the People's Literature Publishing House. With its numerous corrections and annotations, this version remains the best-selling edition of the Chinese classic.

Feng wrote more than 20 books on Chinese literature and history, as well as was the head editor for dictionaries on A Dream of Red Mansions and encyclopedias of Chinese art.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), he secretly copied A Dream of Red Mansions by hand. Started in December 1967 and finishing in June the following year, this handwritten copy was published on Thursday by the Qingdao Publishing House.

"To me, this handwritten version is as precious as my own life," Feng once said.

According to Feng's preface in his autobiography Rain and Snow: The Personal Reminiscences of Feng Qiyong published earlier this month, he survived torture during the Cultural Revolution to eventually become the head of the team editing and proofreading A Dream of Red Mansions in 1975.

Over the past 30 years, Feng contributed to a series of significant events in the field of Redology, including the establishment of the Chinese Research Institute of Redology, the Chinese National Academy of Arts and the academic journal A Dream of Red Mansions.

Aside from Redology, Feng also researched other Chinese literature classics, as well as art, archaeology, identification of cultural relics, painting, photography and other fields that interested him. Among them, he also made major contributions to the field of archaeology in China.

One of these was the rediscovery of the remains of the route that the eminent Tang Dynasty (618-907) Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who served as inspiration for the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) masterpiece Journey to the West, once traveled on his journey back to China from India.

"I went to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 10 times and climbed the Parmirs Plateau three times to verify the Ancient Wahan Route that Xuanzang took when he first reenter China. After that, I traveled all the way from the ancient city of Milan, the Lop Nor salt lake, the ancient city of Loulan, and the Longcheng, Bailongdui and Sanlongsha areas to the Yumen Pass to finally confirm the last part of the route on which Xuanzang traveled from Yutian, an ancient Western kingdom, back to Chang'an, the then capital of the Tang Dynasty," Feng wrote in his autobiography.

The persistence with which Feng approached his studies was praised by Meng Xianshi, a professor at the School of Chinese Classic at Renmin University of China, in his review of Feng's autobiography published in the January 17 edition of the People's Daily.

"Mr Feng had a hard life, but he chose not to forget these ordeals. In fact, to some degree, he was grateful to have experienced these ordeals," Meng wrote.

Newspaper headline: Living the dream

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