Featured "Friend of Hornell Hall" - Professor Jao Tsung-I

Hornell Hall calligraphy by Professor Jao-Tsung-I

Revitalization of Jao Tsung-I Academy

(The following biography provided by HKU)

Professor Jao Tsung-I is a world renowned Chinese sinologist who has dedicated nearly eight decades of his life to scholarly research, art and education.

He is well recognized for his versatile scholarship, which can be classified into 13 fields or categories, namely Ancient Chinese History, Oracle Bones, Bamboo & Silk Scripts, Confucian Classics, Confucian Rituals, Religions, Chu Ci (The Songs of the South, a grand anthology of Chinese verse dating back to 4th century BC), Regional History, Sino-Foreign Cultural Relationships, Dunhuang Studies, Bibliographic Research, Chinese Classical Literature and Art History.

In his prolific scholarly life, he has published over 80 books and around 900 papers. He also excels in poetic writing, calligraphy, Guqin (an ancient Chinese musical instrument) playing and Chinese painting, with publication of over 10 poetic collections and dozens of artistic catalogues.

Aided by his proficiency in traditional Chinese literary texts as well as in several other languages, and by his profound understanding of the importance of historical facts and the scientific approach of textual criticism, Professor Jao has been constantly contributing new findings and insights to various fields of sinology research. Many of his studies have led to acclaim and profound impact in the international academic community. His scholarly contributions to sinology and to Chinese civilization studies are widely regarded as extraordinary.

Professor Jao has served in the Chinese Department at the University of Hong Kong as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor, and today remains its Honorary Professor. He served as the first Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore.  He has held a Visiting Professorship at Yale University, and a Research Professorship at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he has been Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, and remains an Emeritus Professor, while also serving as Wai Lun Chair Professor of the Institute of Chinese Studies and the Department of Fine Arts. He has taught in the École pratique des hautes etudes at the École française d'Extrême-Orient as a visiting professor and lectured at Kyoto University. He has served as Chair Professor of the Faculty of Arts as well as Director of the Department of Chinese Literature and History, Postgraduate School of the University of East Asia, Macau.

With decades of pioneering and highly productive research in Dunhuang and Turfan studies, Professor Jao contributed greatly both to the advocacy of scholarly research and to cultural conservation as well. He is the founder of The Hong Kong Center for Dunhuang and Turfan Studies and The Journal of the Dunhuang and Turfan Studies, which has been widely praised by international academia.  Professor Jao has been awarded a Special Prize for Contributions to the Protection of Dunhuang Relics by Gansu Provincial Government and National Bureau of Relics, China.

Professor Jao has donated his collection of over 40,000 books (including rare and antique volumes) and about 200 of his artworks to the University of Hong Kong, and the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole was therefore established to promote his assiduous spirit of scholarly pursuit.

Professor Jao has received honorary doctorates from a number of world-renowned universities and is an Honorary Graduate of the University of Hong Kong. He is an elected Academician of the École Française d'Extrême-Orient in France, Officier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France, and is the first Asian sinologist to be named an Associate Foreign Member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Institut de France. He is also an Academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences.

He has been awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the Life Achievement Award of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, and is an elected Fellow of the China Central Research Institute of Culture and History, the only Fellow from Hong Kong. In 2014, Professor Jao became the inaugural University Laureate of the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Jao has penned caligraphy for Hornell Hall.