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    Famous Painting in the Spotlight: Wu Zhen's "Manual of Ink Bamboo"_3

    • Dates: 2016/10/01~2016/12/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202

    Exhibit

    Manual of Ink Bamboo
    Wu Zhen (1280-1354), Yuan dynasty
    Wu Zhen (a native of Jiaxing) was good at poetry and prose while excelling at painting and calligraphy, becoming known as one of the Four Yuan Masters.

    This album was painted in 1350 and presented to the artist's son, Fonu. It features 22 leaves, of which the first two are a transcription of Su Shi's "Inscription on a Painting of Bamboo by Wen Tong." The remaining twenty leaves depict bamboo in varying stages of growth, including new shoots, tender branches, and old stalks. Bamboo is also shown in different poses, such as bending down into the composition, and weather conditions, including rain, wind, and snow. The forms of the bamboo, whether painted strong and upright or delicate and supple in the breeze, all appear with a sense of archaic beauty and hoary strength to yield a free and unyielding spirit. Each painting features an inscription in cursive script with tips and opinions about depicting bamboo using ink, making this album a masterpiece that combines both painting and calligraphy.

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    Famous Painting in the Spotlight: Wu Zhen's "Manual of Ink Bamboo"_2

    • Dates: 2016/10/01~2016/12/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202

    Exhibit

    Manual of Ink Bamboo
    Wu Zhen (1280-1354), Yuan dynasty
    Wu Zhen (a native of Jiaxing) was good at poetry and prose while excelling at painting and calligraphy, becoming known as one of the Four Yuan Masters.

    This album was painted in 1350 and presented to the artist's son, Fonu. It features 22 leaves, of which the first two are a transcription of Su Shi's "Inscription on a Painting of Bamboo by Wen Tong." The remaining twenty leaves depict bamboo in varying stages of growth, including new shoots, tender branches, and old stalks. Bamboo is also shown in different poses, such as bending down into the composition, and weather conditions, including rain, wind, and snow. The forms of the bamboo, whether painted strong and upright or delicate and supple in the breeze, all appear with a sense of archaic beauty and hoary strength to yield a free and unyielding spirit. Each painting features an inscription in cursive script with tips and opinions about depicting bamboo using ink, making this album a masterpiece that combines both painting and calligraphy.

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    Famous Painting in the Spotlight: Wu Zhen's "Manual of Ink Bamboo"_1

    • Dates: 2016/10/01~2016/12/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202

    Exhibit

    Manual of Ink Bamboo
    Wu Zhen (1280-1354), Yuan dynasty
    Wu Zhen (a native of Jiaxing) was good at poetry and prose while excelling at painting and calligraphy, becoming known as one of the Four Yuan Masters.

    This album was painted in 1350 and presented to the artist's son, Fonu. It features 22 leaves, of which the first two are a transcription of Su Shi's "Inscription on a Painting of Bamboo by Wen Tong." The remaining twenty leaves depict bamboo in varying stages of growth, including new shoots, tender branches, and old stalks. Bamboo is also shown in different poses, such as bending down into the composition, and weather conditions, including rain, wind, and snow. The forms of the bamboo, whether painted strong and upright or delicate and supple in the breeze, all appear with a sense of archaic beauty and hoary strength to yield a free and unyielding spirit. Each painting features an inscription in cursive script with tips and opinions about depicting bamboo using ink, making this album a masterpiece that combines both painting and calligraphy.

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    Painting Anime 'Imitating Zhao Bosu's Illustration of the Latter Red Cliff'

    • Dates: Permanent Exhibit 2016/09/27~2016/12/26
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 102

    Exhibit

    Imitating Zhao Bosu's Illustration of the Latter Red Cliff
    Wen Zhengming (1470 - 1559), Ming dynasty
    Handscroll, ink and color on silk, 31.5 × 541.6 cm

    Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), a native of Changzhou (modern Suzhou), learned painting from Shen Zhou, tracing his style back to the Yuan dynasty and becoming one of the Four Ming Masters. This work from 1548 is based on Su Shi's "Latter Ode on the Red Cliff," depicting Su Shi and his two friends returning to the Red Cliff with wine and fish. It is done in light blue-and-green, similar to the literati blue-and-green mode of the Yuan artist Zhao Mengfu, while the structure and piling of mountains and tree branches and leaves reveal Wen's own style. Wen Jia's colophon at the end says the original by Zhao Bosu belonged to a Suzhou scholar. An official wanted it for Grand Secretary Yan Song's son, but the owner was unwilling to part with it. As a result, Wen Zhengming encouraged his friend not to anger such a high official and did this imitation for him.

    Exhibition Package Content

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    Viewing Nature in Chinese Art: A Special Exhibit of Select Artifacts from the Museum Collection to Celebrate the 2016 Tang Prize

    • Dates: 2016/09/22~2016/12/22
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 105,107

    Exhibit

    The views of nature expressed in Chinese art are truly numerous and varied, the earliest of which began with descriptions of surroundings by the ancient Chinese and with observations of the world as they understood it. Over a long process of development, the Chinese gradually formed more sophisticated conceptualizations of the myriad phenomena in nature through their interaction and reciprocation with it, yielding different views and imaginative realms. At the same time, these developed into the wealth of unique art forms that became a distinct part of Chinese culture. This year marks the second biennial Tang Prize, the organizers of which have chosen the National Palace Museum as the site for its welcoming reception. The Museum is honored to host this important global event, for which it has arranged "Viewing Nature in Chinese Art: A Special Exhibit of Select Artifacts from the Museum Collection to Celebrate the 2016 Tang Prize." The aim of the Tang Prize is inspired by and to promote the spirit of the High Tang, a period representing a heyday in Chinese history in the eighth century marked by cosmopolitan views and progressive achievements in many fields. Firmly grounded in the millennia of Chinese culture, the Tang Prize recognizes scholars and figures around the world for their continued contributions to and insights into new possibilities in the fields of "Sustainable Development," "Biopharmaceutical Science," "Sinology," and "Rule of Law." Talents around the world are encouraged to pursue innovation ideas to make the world a better place and to serve as a force for further progress.

    This special exhibition celebrating the 2016 Tang Prize takes one of its fields as inspiration to explore traditional views of nature in Chinese art and culture. The display is divided into five sections on "The Inspiration from Nature," "Descriptions of Actual Scenes," "On the Subject of Seasons," "The World of Imagination," and "Humanity and Nature." In the first section, a prologue, audiences can witness how the ancient Chinese received inspiration from various facets of nature. Not only did people observe, imitate, and interact with their surroundings, they also explored nature to develop a visual language for unique forms of artistic expression. In the next section, the depiction of actual places became an important subject in Chinese art, including such famous ones as West Lake in Hangzhou and Tiger Hill in Suzhou. Artists over the ages left numerous works on such places, revealing what inspired them and how they interacted with the sites. As for the seasons that form the subject of the third section, the artworks here demonstrate how the ancients observed changes in weather to grasp the pulse of time, forming views and methods for describing them along the way. The fourth one shows how the ancient Chinese exploited their vivid imagination to interpret realms of the unknown in the world around them, taking elements from nature to serve as auspicious symbols and literary allusions. Finally, the fifth section on humanity and nature reveals the ways people co-existed with nature by learning from, transforming, and incorporating it in daily life, demonstrating considerable wisdom and innovation in the process.

    The fine quality and large quantity of works on display in this exhibition not only provide in concrete terms a microcosm of views on nature in Chinese art, they also reflect changes in the attitude of people over time, how the Chinese sought harmony with their surroundings, and the ways they made nature a part of their lives. With the philosophy and wisdom that these precious artifacts encapsulate, modern audiences can appreciate something else beyond their innate beauty. More importantly, people perhaps can also find new ways for a balanced and sustainable development of and with nature.

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    The Ancient Art of Writing: Selections from the History of Chinese Calligraphy

    • Dates: 2016/07/01~2016/09/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 204,206

    Exhibit

    To meet the need for recording information and ideas, unique forms of calligraphy (the art of writing) have been part of the Chinese cultural tradition through the ages. Naturally finding applications in daily life, calligraphy still serves as a continuous link between the past and the present. The development of calligraphy, long a subject of interest in Chinese culture, is the theme of this exhibit, which presents to the public selections from the National Palace Museum collection arranged in chronological order for a general overview.

    The dynasties of the Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-220 CE) represent a crucial era in the history of Chinese calligraphy. On the one hand, diverse forms of brushed and engraved "ancient writing" and "large seal" scripts were unified into a standard type known as "small seal." On the other hand, the process of abbreviating and adapting seal script to form a new one known as "clerical" (emerging previously in the Eastern Zhou dynasty) was finalized, thereby creating a universal script in the Han dynasty. In the trend towards abbreviation and brevity in writing, clerical script continued to evolve and eventually led to the formation of "cursive," "running," and "standard" script. Since changes in writing did not take place overnight, several transitional styles and mixed scripts appeared in the chaotic post-Han period, but these transformations eventually led to established forms for brush strokes and characters.

    The dynasties of the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) represent another important period in Chinese calligraphy. Unification of the country brought calligraphic styles of the north and south together as brushwork methods became increasingly complete. Starting from this time, standard script would become the universal form through the ages. In the Song dynasty (960-1279), the tradition of engraving modelbook copies became a popular way to preserve the works of ancient masters. Song scholar-artists, however, were not satisfied with just following tradition, for they considered calligraphy also as a means of creative and personal expression.

    Revivalist calligraphers of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), in turning to and advocating revivalism, further developed the classical traditions of the Jin and Tang dynasties. At the same time, notions of artistic freedom and liberation from rules in calligraphy also gained momentum, becoming a leading trend in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Among the diverse manners of this period, the elegant freedom of semi-cursive script contrasts dramatically with more conservative manners. Thus, calligraphers with their own styles formed individual paths that were not overshadowed by the mainstream of the time.

    Starting in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), scholars increasingly turned to inspiration from the rich resource of ancient works inscribed with seal and clerical script. Influenced by an atmosphere of closely studying these antiquities, Qing scholars became familiar with steles and helped create a trend in calligraphy that complemented the Modelbook school. Thus, the Stele school formed yet another link between past and present in its approach to tradition, in which seal and clerical script became sources of innovation in Chinese calligraphy.

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    The Art of a Gentle Breeze: A Special Exhibition of Painting and Calligraphy on Folding Fans

    • Dates: 2016/07/01~2016/09/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 208,212

    Exhibit

    Folding fans became quite fashionable in the Ming and Qing dynasties, representing a development on round silk fans previously popular in the Song and Yuan dynasties. The folding fan actually originated in Japan, and though a few were imported into China during the Song and Yuan period, this format did not become very common at the time. However, in the early Ming dynasty, during the Hongwu reign, envoys from Japan brought folding fans as tribute, which Emperor Taizu (Zhu Yuanzhang, 1328-1398) presented to high officials. Zhu Di (1360-1424), the third Ming emperor who ruled under the reign name Yongle, also became fond of folding fans for their convenience and ordered craftsmen to imitate them. During the Duanwu (Dragon Boat) Festival, court officials would receive fans written with maxims by renowned Hanlin Academicians, their use as if bestowing cultural airs. Then, under Emperor Xuanzong (Zhu Zhanji, 1399-1435), not only did the palace tradition of presenting folding fans continue, they were also adorned with painting and calligraphy personally done by the emperor. In the Ming dynasty, the custom of officials using and writing on folding fans thus became increasingly common after the palace held activities for giving them to members at court.

    The folding fan, with its elegantly arched surface wider at the top than at the bottom, is a unique format that gradually caught the attention of Ming dynasty painters and calligraphers, who used it as a vehicle for artistic expression. Folding fans with painting and calligraphy presented as gifts also became a trend among such Wu School and other famous literati in the art world as Shen Zhou (1427-1509), Zhu Yunming (1461-1527), Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), and Tang Yin (1470-1524), whose masterpieces in this format still survive. Many professional artists also adapted their skills to folding fans to create marvelous works. Starting with the Qing dynasty Kangxi emperor (Aisin Gioro Xuanye, 1654-1722) and his fondness for calligraphy, folding fans with imperial writing became an elegant gift for court officials. During the reign of Gaozong, the Qianlong emperor (Aisin Gioro Hongli, 1711-1799), the emperor and his officials did painting and calligraphy on folding fans and also made an effort to organize the court collection of folding fans, which were sent to workshops in Suzhou for repairs and even to be remounted. During the Qing dynasty, the folding fan was a cultural art form appreciated by the elite and commoners alike. The depiction of auspicious subjects also was enjoyed in this format, and with the rise of the Stele School of calligraphy, phrases from stele inscriptions written on folding fans breathed new life into this art form.

    This exhibition presents a selection from the National Palace Museum collection of some of its finest art on folding fans, which are considerable in both quantity and quality. The display is divided into five sections: “Folding Fans at the Imperial Court, " "Exchanging Elegant Gifts of the Brush, " "Treasures of the Sleeve Pleasing to the Eye," "Folding Fans by Rulers and Officials," and "Enjoyed by Elite and Commoner Alike. A total of 38 folding fans in their original format and mounted as album leaves have been chosen for this special exhibit, reflecting the development of this art form in China.

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    The Art and Aesthetics of Form: Selections from the History of Chinese Painting

    • Dates: Permanent Exhibit 2016/07/01~2016/09/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 210

    Exhibit

    The history of Chinese painting can be compared to a symphony. The styles and traditions in figure, landscape, and bird-and-flower painting formed themes that have continued to blend into a single piece of music. Painters, who make up this "orchestra," have composed and performed many movements and variations.

    In the Song dynasty (960-1279), landscape painters such as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang created new manners based on previous models. Guided by artistically-inclined emperors, painting at the Song court academy reached new heights. Moreover, Song scholars expanded the realm of visual expression beyond "formal likeness," marking the beginnings of literati painting as a new trend in art. The goal of literati painters in the following Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), including Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, Wang Meng), was in part to revive antiquity as a starting point for personal expression, giving revivalism a wide range of styles. These old "melodies" transformed into new individual "tunes" gradually developed into important traditions in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and this exhibition focuses on the tradition of landscape painting from these two periods.

    Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), painting is often distinguished into local schools, forming important clusters in the history of art. The "Wu School" in the Suzhou area, for example, follows the cultivated approach of scholar painting by the Four Yuan Masters. The "Zhe School," on the other hand, consisted mostly of artists from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas inspired by academic painting, creating a bold form of ink painting based on Southern Song models. Finally, Dong Qichang of Songjiang and later the Four Wangs (Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, Wang Yuanqi) adopted the lofty literati goal of unifying ancient styles into a "grand synthesis" to render landscapes of the mind with brush and ink, yielding the vastly influential "Orthodox School."

    The emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) not only supported the "Orthodox School" but also took an interest in Western painting (brought by European missionaries) involving volume and perspective, which was used for new interpretations of old models. Outside the court, the commercial city of Yangzhou became home to a group of so-called "eccentric" yet professional painters active in the flourishing art market. The styles and forms of expression among these artists were based on "non-orthodox" manners, which in turn transformed them into models for change and innovation among later generations.

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    Oversized Hanging Scrolls and Album Leaves

    • Dates: 2016/07/01~2016/09/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202
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    Painting Animation:Departure Herald and Return Clearing

    • Dates: 2016/06/29~2016/09/26
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 102

    Exhibit

    Departure Herald and Return Clearing

    Departure Herald
    Anonymous, Ming Dynasty
    Handscroll, ink and color on silk
    92.1 × 2601.3 cm

    Return Clearing
    Anonymous, Ming Dynasty
    Handscroll, ink and color on silk
    92.1 × 3003.6 cm

    "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. Usually considered as a pair, they are collectively known as "Departure Herald and Return Clearing". Encapsulated into both scrolls, the artists depicted the entire event over time and space from the departure, arrival at the destination, and return to the capital. "Departure Herald" represents the emperor riding a horse, taking land route from the capital, while in "Return Clearing", he is shown riding on a boat, taking a water route back to the palace. These two scrolls are not only the two longest handscrolls in the collection of the National Palace Museum, they represent a rare, enormous effort in terms of the number of figures and majesty of the scenery seen among surviving works of Chinese painting.

    Exhibition Package Content

Last Update: 2017-09-20