Professor Jao Tsung-i (1917 - 2018), courtesy name Bolian or Xuantang and secondary personal name Gu'an, was born in Chaozhou, Guangdong, while his ancestors originated from Meixian, Guangdong. Professor Jao devoted himself to academic research on traditional Chinese culture with more than 80 books and over 1,000 theses and other articles published over the years. His tremendous achievements and outstanding contributions particularly in the research of history, literature, language, religion, philosophy, arts and Sino-foreign cultural relations were highly acclaimed by the international Sinological community, earning him the title 'Master of Chinese Studies.
Professor Jao had taught and conducted researches at a good few tertiary institutions, among which are the Centre of Local History of Guangdong Province of Zhongshan University, Wuxi Institute of National Studies in Guangxi, New Asia College in Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, Kyoto University in Japan, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in India, National University of Singapore, Yale University, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in France and University of East Asia in Macao. In recognition of his accomplishments, Professor Jao was bestowed with dozens of prestigious academic awards and honours at home and abroad, such as the Prix Stanislas Julien awarded by Institut de France, Academician of Ecole francaise d'Extreme Orient in France, Honorary Member of Societe Asiatique in Paris, Advisor of the National Planning and Steering Office for the Collation and Publication of Ancient Books in China, the Grand Bauhinia Medal presented by the Hong Kong Government, Academician of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences in Russia, Fellow of China Central Research Institute of Culture and History, Associate Foreign Member of Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres of Institut de France, President of Xiling Seal Art Society and Inaugural University Laureate of The University of Hong Kong, to name but a few. And what is more, he was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from 11 tertiary institutions, including Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in France, The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Shandong University.
An internationally renowned master in traditional Chinese literature, Professor Jao excelled in classical Chinese and every type of poetic writing and showcased unique and unparalleled achievements in the contemporary Chinese literary world. In addition to his academic pursuits, Professor Jao was also a remarkable artist. He was noted for his distinctive calligraphy and painting style as well as his contribution in pioneering the Northwestern School of landscape painting in his later years. Professor Jao also dabbled in music and was a master performer of the Guqin, an ancient Chinese zither. Professor Jao was well-recognised for his great accomplishments in the literary, artistic and academic arenas, and was remembered as a great intellectual of all time.