Gao Fenghan, The Ancient Pine of Dongmou, a fan painting


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Gao Fenghan (1683 - after 1747) was one of the Yangzhou baguai, the 'Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou'. Originally from Shandong Province, he served as a minor official in Anhui. In 1736, after refuting corruption charges levelled against him, Gao settled in a monastery in Yangzhou where he became an active participant of the city's artistic and literary circles. He painted mostly flowers and landscapes, in a personal and spontaneous style. In 1737, after severe arthritis had crippled his right hand, he began painting with his left. However, this work was made before his arthritis, and the strong brushwork has none of the 'irregularity, roughness and awkwardness' that Gao himself had observed in his left-handed works.According to the main inscription, this fan was painted for his brother, Yancun. Although he usually painted the pines of Mount Huang, this was a strange pine seen in Ninghai, Zhejiang Province. Mount Huang was famous for its pines and its scenery was favoured by many painters. The second poem at the left edge suggests that this particular branch was thirteen paces long and flowers had sprouted there from seeds brought by the wind. The powerful pine branch is skilfully painted against the arc of the fan. Gao describes 'crouching dragons stretched out in strange and wonderful shapes'.


  • Title: Gao Fenghan, The Ancient Pine of Dongmou, a fan painting
  • Date Created: 1727/1727
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: tree/bush
  • Registration number: 1951,0407,0.10
  • Producer: Made by Gao Fenghan
  • Place: Found/Acquired China
  • Period/culture: Qing dynasty
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Barrow, George de S

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