Exhibitions > Figures of the Chinese Imagination, Part II
Figures of the Chinese Imagination, Part II
March 9, 2015–June 5, 2015
Inspired by anecdotes, legends, and imaginary perceptions of distant or spiritual realms, Chinese painters portrayed a wide array of figures—eccentric, whimsical, and bizarre. This installation presents a small sampling of such visual imagery. Figures include Buddhist disciples that are portrayed with a fanciful humor and appear only quasi-religious; caricatured depictions of foreign envoys to the Chinese court; and impish ghosts pursuing ordinary activities in a dark and damp underworld.
Together, these paintings exhibit distinctive styles of brushwork: fine black outline and washes of ink—some carefully graded and others that appear almost slapdash when applied to pre-soaked paper. Still other examples are painted in colorful washes and bright mineral pigments and even display a manner of shading associated with European styles of drawing popular at the 18th-century imperial court.
Hua Ziyou. Bathing of the Buddha Festival (detail), Qing dynasty, 1833. Bequest of Joseph Winterbotham.