CONFUCIUS, WISDOM BEYOND BORDERS
What is the good life? How do we achieve it? For much of the contemporary world, people often forget that ancient wisdom has been used to answer the same big questions that mankind has been asking since the dawn of time.
Confucius’s teachings, with its emphasis on humanity, harmony and integrity, offers a fresh perspective on how we can improve ourselves and enrich our lives today. The sage’s wisdom has guided the Chinese and much of Asia for more than 2,000 years and profoundly affected their way of life.
This time, in line with Confucius’ emphasis on education for all, I hope to introduce Confucian culture to a wider audience and let them experience the warm, idealistic teachings of this iconic philosopher.
It is my great honour to bring together Mr Chiang Yi-tze, a talented artist who has devoted his life to the study of Confucianism, and Royal Selangor, a pewter company of great skill and craftsmanship, to bring Celestial Wisdom to life. The collection pays tribute to Confucius and his disciples, and the values they hold dear.
智慧系列: 《 孔子- 有教无类 》
很荣幸能邀请到像江逸子老先生一般对儒学题材研究如此透彻的艺术家，他一辈子专心一意，不辞辛劳地专注于研究儒佛学和艺术领域，如同 Royal Selangor 品牌几十年来只专注在锡工艺上一样。这是个完美的结合，其碰撞后产生的火花便是本次作品《孔子 - 有教无类 》。
CELEBRATING CONFUCIAN VIRTUES THROUGH THE ARTS
As a descendant of Confucius, I am delighted to hear that Royal Selangor of Malaysia is launching a figurine collection of Confucius and the Master’s prominent students. It is an admirable way to honour Confucius and his great teachings.
The world’s foremost name in quality pewter, Royal Selangor was founded by Mr Yong Koon who sailed from Shantou, China to Malaysia in 1885. Straddling three centuries and having survived two world wars, the brand stays true to its heritage of pewter design and craftsmanship. One of Malaysia’s best-known international brands, Royal Selangor’s legacy spans four generations.Today, it is recognised as “the world’s largest pewter manufacturer”.
The collaboration between Royal Selangor and acclaimed Taiwanese artist Chiang Yi-tze on the collection of Confucian figurines is, indeed, a marriage made in heaven.
Master Chiang is a student of Professor Li Bingnan, an expert in Confucian studies. As the Director of the Management Office of the “Official for Sacrifices to the Exalted First Teacher of Culture”, Master Chiang is in charge of records and documents.
He is deeply influenced by the Confucian teaching of moral virtues exemplified by filial piety, brotherly duty, loyalty and trustworthiness. He is a prolific artist devoted to renditions with a Confucian theme. Over the years, he has completed “The Lifetime of Confucius” (33 paintings), “Illustration of The Analects” (3 collections), “Confucian Sages” (72 paintings) and “The Book of Filial Piety” (18 paintings), among others. These are invaluable illustrative works that showcase the life of Confucius and his students that seek to “correct existing habits and purify the mind”, as Professor Li has advocated.
I was touched by the fact that the Royal Selangor collection of Confucian figurines was modelled after Master Chiang’s original sculptures.
Confucius said, “Wealthy yet observant of the rites.” Rich as Master Chiang is in knowledge and Royal Selangor in their heritage of pewter design and craftsmanship, they have set a great example in embracing the time-honoured virtues, and promoting them to future generations by crafting these Confucian figurines.
Confucius said, “I set my heart on the Way, base myself on virtue, lean on benevolence for support and take my recreation in the arts.” Only with such strong conviction will the ancient wisdom and values be embraced and guarded. This is, indeed, worthy of our life’s pursuit.
77th Descendent of Confucius
ABOUT CHIANG YI-TZE | 江逸子
Confucius and his disciples owe their shape and form to Chiang Yi-tze, an acclaimed Chinese artist. Born in 1938 in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, and a promising artist in his youth under the mentorship of Confucian master Li Bingnan, he voluntarily withdrew from the art world in the late 1960s to better his art in private. After a four- decade hiatus, Chiang returned, showing his art in public to promote the philosophies of Confucianism and Buddhism, honouring a promise made to his mentor.
孔子及其五位得意门生的雕像精品原型出自居于台湾的知名艺术家江逸子。江逸子于 1938 年在中国福建省省会福州出生，师承儒学泰斗李炳南教授，于 20 世纪 60 年代后期从艺坛全身引退，选择隐居以精进自己的艺术。四十年后，江逸子重返艺坛，公开展出历年艺术创作，以宣扬儒佛两家哲思为己任，履行对恩师的承诺。
Royal Selangor has brought Confucius and his disciples to life, and given visual sense to the humanistic values which form the basis of a richly rewarding life today.
CONFUCIUS | 孔子
A quiet confidence emanates from Confucius’s placid countenance. An early proponent of equality, he boldly proposed anybody with the right education could become a great person. For those embarking on a new chapter in life like starting a family or retirement, Confucius is a visual reminder that everyone can achieve their dream through passion and hard work regardless of background or circumstances. Those looking to form meaningful connections can draw inspiration from his timeless teachings on kindness, loyalty and empathy. The figurine of the sage also makes a great gift for mentors and coaches.
Confucius is joined by five of his most devoted followers. From their facial features, little stylistic details of top knots to the folds of their robes, each man’s personality is captured in detail.
DISCIPLES | 门生
YANHUI | 颜回，字子渊
The brightest and most senior of Confucius’ disciples, the self-effacing Yanhui, with the courtesy name Ziyuan, was considered an ideal successor to the sage. His humble, amicable and courteous nature earned the respect of his peers. Yanhui’s love of learning was also legendary. It was said that he grew up in poverty, and survived with a single bamboo dish of rice and a single gourd container of drink a day. Despite these challenging conditions, Yanhui stayed optimistic, drawing strength from his love of learning. Yanhui’s life can serve as an inspiration to educators, healthcare providers and NGOs. Newlyweds and couples may take a cue from Yanhui’s gentle easy-going personality.
MINSUN | 闵损，字子骞
Minsun, with the courtesy name Ziqian is known for his love of family. Legend has it that his stepmother had clothed him in thin garments while her own children were dressed in warm clothing during winter. When his father found out, he wanted to throw her out of the house. However Minsun convinces him otherwise with a moving argument, “If our mother leaves, there will be the three of us suffering from the cold; but if she stays, then only one of us will suffer.” One of Confucius’ favourites, he is a visual reminder for those who appreciate filial piety as a virtue or a present for a respected mentor or parental figure.
RANYONG | 冉雍，字仲弓
A man of a few words, Ranyong, with the courtesy name Zhonggong was highly regarded by Confucius who deemed him fit to rule a state. As a public official, he understood the need for integrity. His presence makes a good visual cue for media, law and finance practitioners. Ranyong’s sincerity and penchant for respecting others is something aspiring leaders and people in positions of management can emulate.
DUANMU CI | 端木赐，字子贡
Self-aware with a deep understanding of human nature, Duanmu Ci’s intellectual acuity and eloquence enable him to take on multiple roles, as a prominent diplomat, high official in several states, and successful businessman. Also known by his courtesy name, Zigong, he was interested in the political aspects of Confucius’ teachings, and how benevolence and kind heartedness could be applied in governing. He serves as a testament to self improvement and his figurine makes a meaningful gift for career changers, new business owners and business partners.
ZHONGYOU | 仲由，字子路
Though Zhongyou, with the courtesy name Zilu was brash and impetuous, he was also a valiant, truthful and loyal disciple of the sage. When the sage met him, he had asked Zhongyou what he loved most. He replied that he loved his sword. When Confucius suggested that he took up education, Zhongyou scoffed and added that he already knew how to make a simple bamboo weapon for piercing animal hide. However the sage slyly pointed out that with education, he could turn it into a powerful hunting arrow with a steel point and feathered tail. Zhongyou was instantly won over. His martial skills and education enabled him to serve as an official in the state of Wei. His courage will prove to be a source of inspiration to professionals moving abroad or starting out in their careers to overcome challenges that come their way and still be humble to learn from the best.
Civility, respect and consideration for the needs of all. Also known as Confucianism, the philosophy of Confucius (551 - 479 BCE) continues to have a profound effect on the cultures of East Asia, with its emphasis on family and social harmony. A teacher and philosopher, Confucius guided many disciples drawn to his espousal of justice, meritocracy and a benevolent moral code. With disciples believed to number in the thousands, Royal Selangor’s selection is determined by Chiang Yi-tze, an acclaimed Taiwan-based artist who also sculpted the contemplative masters of this collection.
Born in 1938, and a promising artist in his youth under the mentorship of Confucian master Li Bing-nan, Taiwan-based artist Chiang Yi-tze voluntarily withdrew from the art world in the late 1960s to better his art in private. After a four decade hiatus, Chiang returned, showing his art in public to promulgate the philosophies of Confucianism and Buddhism, to honour a promise made to his mentor.