This historical building in Guangzhou, commonly known as the "Five-Storey Pavilion", was originally a watchtower built on the city wall in the 14th century. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the past six hundred years and in 1926, when this painting was done, it was in ruins. The painting is executed with vigorous and rough brushstrokes which differ from the traditional techniques. Gao used atmospheric effects learnt during his time in Japan, depicting the building at sunset to express his sadness over the passage of time and decay. He inscribed on the painting these words: “After endless devastation, this pavilion has turned into a desolate ruin with nothing left but overgrowing weeds and smoke in the fading sunset.”


  • Title: The Five-Storey Pavilion
  • Date Created: 1926
  • Theme: Landscape
  • School: Lingnan School
  • Physical Dimensions: w42 x h80 cm
  • Location in the artwork: Guangzhou, Guangdong province China
  • History of Acquisition: Acquired by the Museum in 1978
  • Founder of the Lingnan School of Painting: Gao Jianfu
  • Artist's Biography: Gao Jianfu (1879 – 1951), born Gao Lun, courtesy name Jueting, was a native of Panyu in Guangdong province. He is credited as one of the “Three Masters of the Lingnan School”. Gao learnt painting with Ju Lian (1828 – 1904) in his early years before he went to Japan, where he was influenced by the Japanese master Takeuchi Seiho (1864 – 1942).
  • Type: Ink and colour on paper

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