Feng Zikai (1898-1975), born in Tongxiang county, Zhejiang province, wasapioneering modern caricaturist, essayist and translator.
He studied at Zhejiang No 1 Normal School from 1914 to 1918, where he learnt painting and music from Li Shutong (1880-1942), also known as Master Hong Yi, an accomplished scholar who later became a Buddhist master. Feng was deeply influenced by him in fields like philosophy, religion and art.
In 1921, he travelled to Japan to further his study. After returning to China, he taught painting and music in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Chongqing successively, and became an editor at the Kaiming Publishing House in Shanghai, a noted publishing house of the time.
Feng wrote extensively on various topics, including literature, painting, music, translation and calligraphy. Among Feng's numerous creations, his most famous works are considered short essays, translated works including Diary of a Hunter and The Tale of Genji, and children’s pictures, which are mostly inspired by his children, such as Zhanzhan's Bicycle, describing his eldest son Zhanzhan using two palm-leaf fans to ride a "bicycle". Featuring a simple but warm style, his works are widely used as illustrations for primary and middle school textbooks.
Feng spent his twilight years at the Changle courtyard in Shanghai, where he completed the last four volumes of his six-volume anthology of paintings, in memory of his mentor Li Shutong.
The renovated courtyard is now the Feng Zikai Studies Center, displaying the scholar's works and collections of paintings, calligraphy, essays and poems, which have attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.