Painting in National Palace Museum, Ming dynasty part1
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of paintings from the Ming dynasty! These works were created by some of China's most talented painters, and they provide us with a unique insight into Chinese art during this period. You will find masterpieces such as Tang Yin's Picking Lotuses, Qiu Ying's Waiting for the Ferry on an Autumn River, Shang Xi's Four Immortals Paying Homage to Longevity, Dai Jin's Crossing a Bridge over a Stream, Bian Wenjin's The Three Friends and a Hundred Birds, Shen Chou's Lofty Mount Lu and Wen Cheng-ming's Old Trees by a Cold Waterfall. These are all incredible works of art that tell us about the culture and history of this time period. Come take a look at these amazing artifacts today!
1. Picking Lotuses
Tang Yin (1470-1523), a native of Wu County in Jiangsu province, went by the style name Bohu and the sobriquet Liuru Jushi. Tang was exceedingly talented in the realms of calligraphy, painting, poetry, and prose. He was a renowned scholar in the Jiangsu region during the middle years of the Ming dynasty who also worked in a professional capacity as a painter. This painting depicts early morning on a summer's day, where boating maidens shuttle across a lotus-covered lake just emerging from dawn mists that have yet to burn away The entire work features light, sparing ink washes, while the scenery and objects within were painted with a minimalist touch Masterful brushwork can be seen in many of this painting's features, including its lotus leaves that range from lush and flourishing to old and decaying, as well as its soft, almost weightlessly elegant willow branches The date inscribed on this painting indicates Tang Yin completed it in his fifty-first year It is stylistically distinct from works he painted in his prime
2. Waiting for the Ferry on an Autumn River
Qiu Ying resided in Suzhou. He studied painting under Zhou Chen and came to excel at landscape and figural subjects. This painting is done on two bolts of silk joined to make an oversized hanging scroll.
3. Four Immortals Paying Homage to Longevity
Shang Xi was a Ming dynasty court painter who served during the Xuande reign (1426-1435). He excelled at painting figural and narrative subjects. This hanging scroll is a type of auspicious subject to bless for long life, a traditional theme for birthdays. It depicts four immortals of Buddhist and Daoist origin (Li Tieguai, Liu Haichan, Hanshan, and Shide) together in the same work standing on waves. The four look up at the "Old Immortal of the South Pole," the God of Longevity, approaching on the back of a crane in the upper center. The use of brush and ink throughout the scroll is precise and delicate, the expressions of the figures harmonious and animated as if in conversation. The robe ends flutter in the wind, the brush lines angular and forcefully rendered. The waves, on the other hand, are outlined with trembling strokes that increase the magnitude of the subject. Having much of the decorative manner of Ming academic painting, the scroll also reveals a trend towards more popular themes in court art at the time.
4. Crossing a Bridge over a Stream
Dai Jin, a native of Qiantang in Zhejiang, was the founder of the "Zhe School" of landscape painting in the Ming dynasty. Upheld by later generations as its standard bearer, his style became a model and he venerated as the Zhe School patriarch. The foreground of this painting depicts a roaring torrent with rocks dispersed therein and a cliff in the background. A mountain rises behind as the area to the right opens to reveal a wide expanse of water with sails in the far distance Fishermen go about their livelihood in an ideal scene of peace and leisure
5. The Three Friends and a Hundred Birds
Bian Wenjin was an important bird-and-flower academic painter during the early Ming dynasty. His style followed the tradition of fine brushwork and strong colors tracing back to the Northern Song school of Huang Quan but also integrating the Southern Song Painting Academy manner. The artist's inscription on this painting reads, "In the seventh month, autumn, of 'guisi' in the Yongle reign (1413), Bian Jingzhao (Wenjin) of Longxi painted 'Three Friends' and a Hundred Birds at the official's residence in Chang'an."
6. Fishing in Reclusion Among Mountains and Streams
This handscroll painting depicts pine trees, red maples, and yellow leaves against a waterfall and flowing stream with thatched cottage and water kiosk buildings scattered among rocky banks. Figures kneel to each other for a drink, leisurely hold a staff on a walk, lean on a railing to observe fishing, or play a flute with feet in the water for a carefree existence. The mountains combine "hemp-fiber" and elongated "axe-cut with water" texture strokes, the rocks rendered with washes of mineral blue and ink. The places in sunlight are left blank to suggest the light and dark of uneven surfaces for a volumetric effect The leaves are painted in the outline method with washes of cyanine blue, cinnabar red, and gamboges yellow added for a beautiful and colorful manner
7. Departure Herald
This handscroll is a great imperial procession making its way to pay respects at the imperial tombs. Departing from the Te-sheng ("Victory") Gate of the Peking city wall, the artists here depicted shops along the way and the appearance of ceremonial guards to the final destination of the imperial tombs, the final resting place for Ming dynasty emperors 45 kilometers from the capital at Mt. T'ien-shou "Departure Herald" is actually accompanied by another long handscroll painting entitled "Return Clearing". That work depicts the process of the tomb sweeping and inspection tour
8. Return Clearing
This handscroll depicts a great imperial procession making its way to pay respects at the imperial tombs. Departing from the Te-sheng ("Victory") Gate of the Peking city wall, the artists here depicted shops along the way and the appearance of ceremonial guards to the final destination of the imperial tombs, the final resting place for Ming dynasty emperors 45 kilometers from the capital at Mt. T'ien-shou "Departure Herald" is actually accompanied by another long handscroll painting entitled "Return Clearing". That work depicts the process of the tomb sweeping and inspection tour
9. Lofty Mount Lu
Shen Chou was a native of Ch'ang-chou (modern Soochow), Kiangsu province. He was an able poet, essayist, and calligrapher as well as an excellent painter. He completed this work in 1467 when he was 40.