《Made in China》 Wei Guangqing catalogue 2007 page 292-295
The Book of Family Names
In this series created in 2007, Wei Guangqing made the traditional woodblock prints in the ancient Book of Family Names the narrative symbol in his works. These prints tell the stories of the famous ancient figures that carried these family names, as well as the ethic tenet of these surnames. On the contrary, the bright-colored Chinese characters of modern Chinese family names are visualized as backgrounds to the traditional black & white prints. The apposition of these two strengthens the general effect of the paintings, i.e. the contrast between the ancient and the contemporary.
The Book of Family Names was once a primary school teaching material which was edited by a scholar in Qiantang (now Hangzhou) during the early Northern Song Dynasty. It became the most popular and widest spreading book for children. It made the common surnames of Chinese into sentences with four words each poetically like a poem. So it was still remembered today and had a deep influence to us. The Book of Family Names once collected 411 surnames and was supplemented to 504. Among them, 444 were single-character surnames and 60 were compound surnames.