Friday, November 04, 2005

Chinese Scroll Paintings

"The artist Lan Ying was one of the most skillful and accomplished artists of the late Ming dynasty, active in Hangzhou, Zhejiang in the first half of the seventeenth century. He was a professional artist who was able to paint in the styles of many great artists of the past. For this reason he won the admiration of contemporary scholars, connoisseurs, and collectors of art. This large handscroll is a mountainous landscape on silk painted with brushes in ink and water-based pigments."

The Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago have this year established a website in which a unique flash interface allows visitors to scroll through old manuscripts in the manner that was intended.

There are only three works available at present. The above Landscape after Huang Gongwang ink on silk was painted in c.1637. The image below comes from the wonderful ink rubbing c. 25 feet long Wangchuantu that was completed early in the 19th century but derives from an 8th century scroll. Originally there were 20 poems on a temple wall that accompanied 20 painted scenic locations from the rural property of fabled writer Wang Wei. Time and multiple reproductions have conferred some alterations onto the extant copy.

They're not as visually spectacular as some illustrations perhaps but it's good to have internet access to these works whose fragility means they can't even be put on physical display. It's a kind of a slight privilege to be able to see them like this actually. The image below doesn't really capture the detail and quality that the zippy zooming at the site demonstrates.

1 comment :

Sandra Guascone said...

un bello viaje por las aguas, la niebla y los dragones chinos, muchas gracias!!

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