1979 Modesty Receives Benefit


Qian Shou Yi


In Kuala Lumpur, Huang Yao often included children in his paintings of other topics. Children are found in paintings of scenes of Nanyang as part of a family with their mother or sister similar to the lifestyle scenes of Thailand. They were added to accompany the popular personalities in Chinese folk culture, such as the Deity of Longevity, They were always part of a happy family and some ac-company their masters in the paintings of man in poetic settings. In many of Huang Yao’s calligra-phy and paintings of Chinese characters, small figures of children were put in to emphasize the meaning of that particular piece of artwork as in painting below

The three Chinese characters ‘Qian Shou Yi’ in this painting literally means ‘Modesty Receives Benefit’. It comes from the Chinese teaching of ‘Pride Harms, Modesty Benefits’. Since Huang Yao was a person with preference for affirmative actions, the omission of the first half of the saying was not surprising. The picture of the child with a pear is about Kong Rong, the youngest child, was be-ing praised for picking the smallest pear. The kind and generous Kong Rong, was born in the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty. At four years old, he already understood that younger brothers or sisters with proper etiquette should modestly give precedence to his elders. Huang Yao did a few more paintings of the characters ‘Qian Shou Yi’ each in a different style (Tan, 2006). During Huang Yao’s stay in Penang, the sketches of the ancient Chinese picture words he did earlier were transformed into innovative paintings. He called them Wenzi Hua, the painting of ancient Chinese characters as the image below.


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