The painting "Scratching ZhongKui’sBack" by Qi Baishi is just like a comic picture, depicting acomic scene of goblin scratching ZhongKui’s back, which enriches the connotation of traditional ZhongKui paintings in both conception and presentation methods. The postscript on the painting helps viewers to understand the painter's intention:"Not itchy in the lower part, but he scratches the lower part; not itchy in the upper side, but he scratches the upper side; you are not me, how can you know my feelings?"Normally, paintings of ZhongKuidepicthis catching or killing devils as demon queller, but in this painting, Qi Baishi converted traditional opposite stands of ZhongKui and ghost evils into a moderate relationship between master and servant. The pale goblin dares not to make any negligence, scratching ZhongKui’s back with profound respect, and feels bad as he could not scratch the right spot; while ZhongKui, withhis clothes half undressed, lowers his head dispirited, plucking at his bushy beard. The three ribs obviously seen in ZhongKui’sbodyshows that he is quite thin, which is ironic. Qi Baishicreated this picturein a humorous way, and made penetrating depictions of figures in this painting, integrating hisunderstanding and observation of daily life and human.


  • Title: Scratching ZhongKui’s Back
  • Creator: Qi Baishi
  • Date: 1957
  • Provenance: Beijing Fine Art Academy
  • Physical format: painting, 89h x 47w cm
  • Medium: ink and colors on paper
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1864-1957

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