Gourds 葫蘆

Wu Changshuo1890

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

The word gourd is homophonic with "Fu" (means blessing) and "Lu" (means prosperity) in Chinese, and gourd has stretching vines and many seeds, meaning richness and many children, so it is liked by many Chinese people. Wu Changshuo (1844-1927, born in Anji, Zhejiang) was good at presenting gourds’ morphological characteristic and cultural connotation through freehand brushworks, and this painting is his representative work. In this painting, there are many gourds, the painter adopted bonelesspainting technique (no brush lines but just colors) to shape the fruits, not onlyshowing its volume and weight, but also indicating a wealthy and abundant life. The layout of the picture is quitedense, withlush and overlapping leaves, indicating that gourds’growthisexuberant. The gourds are in different sizes, and the painterdistinguishedtender ones from mature ones by different shades of colors.Bybold and free-style cursive calligraphy, the painter presented winding and stretchingvines, injecting vigor into the picture. Gourds can be used ascontainers, so the inscription on the painting reads: "We cut youopento be a wine gourd ladle, and my small room is about to get drunk!" This not only makes fun of the large gourd, but also displays thepainter’ssense of humor.

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  • Title: Gourds 葫蘆
  • Creator: Wu Changshuo 吳昌碩
  • Date: 1890
  • Provenance: National Art Museum of China 中國美術館
  • Original Source: National Art Museum of China 中國美術館
  • Physical format: painting, 187h x 47.8w cmnull
  • Medium: ink and colors on paper
  • Dynastic period: 1844-1927
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1844-1927


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