Capturing the profound influence of Chinese painting

Zhejiang University / Ti Gong

Visitors take a close look at the paintings on display, ranging from the pre-Qin period (before 221 BC) to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), at the Zhejiang Art Museum.

The Great Series of Chinese Paintings Through the Ages, compiled and published by Zhejiang University and Zhejiang Cultural Heritage Bureau, is a large-scale national project covering different dynasties and countries.

Since its launch in 2005, nearly 12,500 Chinese paintings from more than 260 cultural organizations and museums have been featured in the book series. Today, it is dubbed “the most comprehensive collection and record of authentic images with the finest print quality and best publication of Chinese painting” in the world.

About 1,500 paintings and archival pieces, ranging from the pre-Qin period (before 221 BC) to the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), are on display at the Zhejiang Art Museum until the April 20. Emblematic of the highest level of ancient Chinese paintings, they offer visitors a comprehensive picture of the country’s art throughout history.

The organizers use various display methods, such as images, text and new media technology, to present the magnificent achievements of ancient Chinese paintings reflected in the “Grand Series”. The exhibition is considered a gathering of national treasures scattered around the world and a vivid attempt to show the profound nature of Chinese art throughout history.

Zhejiang University has used state-of-the-art three-dimensional restoration technology to reproduce frescoed caves, including China’s four major Buddhist caves – Dunhuang, Yungang, Longmen and Dazu – as well as Anyue Caves in Zhejiang Province. Sichuan and the West Lake Grottoes in Hangzhou. It provides people with an unparalleled experience and a better understanding of the influence of Chinese cave art and architecture on painting through the dynasties.

Dating back to the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (AD 907-979), Hangzhou has always been described as the “Buddhist Kingdom of the Southeast”.

as it contains many Buddhist caves and temples teeming with devout believers. The exhibit includes a replica of the 18 arhat cave on Feilai Peak.

Capturing the profound influence of Chinese painting

Zhejiang University / Ti Gong

The reproduced caves are presented.

In Chinese Buddhism, an arhat is a person who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and attained spiritual enlightenment. Eighteen arhats have been depicted as the original disciples of Buddha and are a popular subject in Buddhist art.

The exhibition is also a new exploration of the “art + technology” concept. Ten sets of digitized ancient artworks from eight universities, including Zhejiang University, Shanghai University and Tongji University, are exhibited via virtual reality and augmented reality, motion capture and eye-tracking technologies, giving old paintings new life.

Before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), Chinese painting mainly had lines as the basis of modeling and a long exploration of object shaping.

During the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), painting gradually evolved from conceptual representations to realistic styles, which was a significant development. For example, the character painting transformed from rigid, lifeless states to being more vivid, as if a miracle had happened.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), when Buddhism was incorporated into Chinese civilization, folk painters became more common across the country. The exhibition tells how landscapes and birds were gradually elevated from the background of figure paintings and developed into independent genres in the middle and late Tang Dynasty.

Connoisseur groups developed among the nobility and scholars with the growing number of professional royal and folk painters. Art in public spaces such as palaces, ancestral halls, and temples laid the universal foundation for aesthetics among the masses, which in turn consolidated the Chinese cultural community.

From the Southern and Northern Dynasty (AD 420-589) to the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism permeated the country and merged with local Confucianism and Taoism under the influence of devout believers from imperial families and the lower class. superior.

Capturing the profound influence of Chinese painting

Zhejiang University / Ti Gong

A Tang Dynasty painting of the soul-guiding bodhisattva is one of the highlights of the exhibit.

A growing number of temples were built across the country, evolving into an art movement of unprecedented scale, longevity, and social participation. This phenomenon has given rise to millions of public art spaces with architecture, sculptures, calligraphy and paintings. Among them, the caves, with their majestic and orderly successions, have become great masterpieces of the genre of religious art. In this way, national artistic resources, which were the exclusive domain of the ruling class, were introduced into people’s daily lives.

The Song dynasty (960-1279) is considered the peak of the development of Chinese painting. The royal court prioritized the humanities, reaching out to people’s inner emotions with a minimalist artistic style that was evident in the artworks on display.

Compared to previous dynasties, the Yuan Dynasty paintings showed obvious regional differences. In the northern region, the Song style of painting reigned supreme. In the southern region, painters carved out new positions for themselves and raised the genre of literary painting to the top.

Capturing the profound influence of Chinese painting

Zhejiang University / Ti Gong

A painting created by Ni Zan in the Yuan Dynasty

Great Series of Chinese Paintings Through the Ages Exhibition

Dates: until April 20, closed on Mondays

Venue: Zhejiang Art Museum

Address: 138 Nanshan Road


About Margaret L. Portillo

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