Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Sort of Biographical Vignette to Professor Chang Hao 張昊

When I began to think about my stay in Taiwan, I immediately had to think of Professor Chang Hao (Pinyin: Zhang Hao) 張昊, who had made my studies there possible by searching and finding a scholarship for me in Taiwan (台湾). I was a bit surprised at how little you can find on him on the Internet.

The first passage I’ve found was a footnote from a book that had appeared in Cologne (科隆市). It was volume 28 of Sinologica Coloniensis, edited by H. Walraven and M Gimm, under the title "Wei jiao zi ai" respectively為教自愛. "Spare yourself for science!" The life and work of the Cologne Sinologist Walter Fuchs (1902-1979) in documents and letters; (2010) Harassowitz, Wiesbaden (I know both authors, and we all knew Professor Chang Hao). In footnote 165 we can read that "Chang Hao [Zhang Hao] (1912-2003) 張昊, the son of a high imperial official, received a traditional Chinese education. After a music studies in Paris (among others, with Olivier Messiaen and Ivonne Loriot) composer and conductor activity; an opera had been staged in Paris. Since the fifties he was a Chinese lecturer at the Oriental Seminar (Prof. Alessio Bombaci) and came to the East Asian Institute in Cologne in 1970 as a lecturer. After retirement, he lived in Taipei as a professor at the Yangming shan. There, as well as on the Chinese mainland, he performed his musical works as a conductor. "

I had started studying sinology in Cologne during a summer semester, so the language course had started already half a year ago. That is why, during this semester, I almost exclusively attended the exercises by Professor Chang. It was especially his seminar of calligraphy (书法). He taught polyglot, in several languages at the same time - perhaps this also had an influence on my further life: interest in multiple languages. It was important to him to convey an attitude only by which Chinese calligraphy is possible.

And I remember when I met him in Taipei (台北市) at the Freedom Hotel (自由之家). He suffered from a frozen shoulder, which he had treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (中医). He had shown me the burns of the fire cones. What I found interesting, however, was how he documented the progress of his range of motion. He raised his outstretched arm and drew a line with a pencil on the wallpaper at the edge of the entrance door of his room. Later he had been able to conduct again.

I had visited him once in Cologne-Braunsfeld. He lived with his family on the 4th floor, if I remember correctly. In any case, his piano had to be lifted into the apartment with a crane. But he did not want to do without this particular piano. However, I failed to ask whether he had taken it to Taiwan.

I was able to visit him again in the 90ies when he was visiting Cologne and stayed with his sister-in-law's family in Cologne-Holweide, which was very easy, because I live in Holweide. We talked about mutual acquaintances, also about fellow students, who he still remembered. The one who took the scholarship after me was later consul for Germany in Chengdu (成都).

In another footnote from Vol. 3 of the Sinologica Colonies by W. Fuchs, under the title: The picture-paintings for the southern journeys of the Emperor Kienlung [Qianlong 乾隆] in the eighteenth century (Die Bilderalben für die Südreisen des Kaisers Kienlung im 18. Jahrhundert); (1976) Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, Wiesbaden, I found the following text: "He [Chang Hao] characterizes this version as an inferior work without any cultural-historical value, the author of which has unclear about the topography of Central China and probably originated from Canton [广州市]. The version describes almost exclusively the roadhouse adventures of the incognito-traveling emperor. "(Walter Fuchs) [„Er [Chang Hao] charakterisiert diese Version als minderwertiges Machwerk ohne jeden kulturhistorischen Wert, dessen Verfasser selbst über die Topographie Mittelchinas im unklaren war und wohl aus Kanton [广州市] stammte. Die Fassung beschreibt fast nur die Wirtshausabenteuer des inkognito reisenden Kaisers.“ (Walter Fuchs)]

Perhaps it is further interesting that Chang Hao came from Changsha (长沙). Mao Zedong (毛泽东) was a student in Changsha (1912-1918). In these years he turned to communism. But I hardly believe that Chang Hao, as a small boy, saw the later Chairman Mao (毛主席), "the commander of the great proletarian cultural revolution". I have no data on the population of Changsha in year 1 of the bourgeois revolution, but in the early 1950ies there were already 3.5 million people living there and today it is a metropolis of 7.5 million inhabitants, so I assume that Changsha had already been a big city in 1912.
A short biography of Professor Chang Hao 張昊 in Chinese can be found here:

This text is a translation from the German original, which has been enriched.


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