B2 High-Intermediate Other 227 Folder Collection
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This is a small fan painting by the painter Liang Kai
done in the first half of the thirteenth century. Now it's mounted as an album leaf
and depicts a poet strolling on the marshy land,
across the river is a little embankment,
and a few sketched lines of a distant peak.
It's a very light, very airy composition. The subject matter is quite conventional,
but the way it is treated here is very unusual. Many paintings of this time used lots of empty space,
but if you look at it closely, there's a diagonal across the middle of the composition.
The unpainted part is actually solid; it's not just mist, it's actually a massive boulder behind it.
I think that there's a metaphorical dimension to it,
that reflects the psychological weight
of the stroller beneath it. This kind of composition
is very often associated with the poet Qu Yuan,
a major court minister very devoted to the nation and to the ruler, but because of some slander he was exiled
and he drowned himself in the river to show his loyalty.
And Liang Kai used this overhanging,
massive rock
above him to show his emotional state. Liang Kai
may feel some affinity with the ancient poet. He was
briefly a court painter, and then something happened. He left his prestigious position at court
and went to live in a Buddhist monastery and he painted there very much in the Buddhist idea
of an illusory nature of a phenomenon. He's playing on the idea about the deceptive nature
of what can be seen on the surface,
and the reality may be behind the clouds, behind the mist.
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82nd & Fifth: "Metaphorical" by Shi-yee Liu

227 Folder Collection
Yu Ching Chou published on February 13, 2018
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