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Boating on a Willow Stream

Shitao1642/1707

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art

This work reflects the diversity of Shitao's techniques. His use of wet brush and dry brush was well balanced, while indigo and washed ochre were used to bring out the lushness of the vegetation and the dampness of the mountain. Although Shitao was inspired by ancient masters, he was nevertheless able to find something new in what was old. The rocks in the painting have very peculiar shapes, presumably inspired by what he had seen on his travels to famous sites. The strokes are straightforward and without any restraint, revealing a kind of forthright innocence.

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Details

  • Title: Boating on a Willow Stream
  • Date Created: 1642/1707
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Physical Dimensions: w54 x h127.4 cm
  • Monk: Shitao
  • History of Donation: The Xubaizhai Gallery of Chinese Art was established in 1992, specifically for exhibiting the collection that donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Art by the famous connoisseur and collector of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Mr Low Chuck Tiew (Liu Zuochou) in 1989.
  • Artist's Biography: Shitao, born Zhu Ruoji before he took the tonsure, had many aliases, including "Qingxiang Laoren" and "Dadizi". He was from the imperial line of the Ming dynasty but his family moved to Guangxi province where Shitao was born. After the fall of the Ming dynasty, he became a monk. He befriended Mei Qing (1624 - 1697) who lived in Anhui province and his early landscapes were influenced by Mei's painting style. Both were regarded as leading figures of the "Huangshan School of Painting". In his later years, Shitao settled in Yangzhou and became a close friend of Zhu Da (1626 - 1705), each achieving fame as a member of the "Four Monks of Painting of the early Qing Dynasty". Shitao is acknowledged as a genius in the history of Chinese painting. Without rigidly adhering to any single painting style, he attained versatility in painting landscapes, flowers and figures, all of which were characterized by vigorous and powerful images with an extraordinary degree of individuality. His style was the inspiration for the group of artists known as the "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou".
  • Type: Ink and colour on paper

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