Guan Liang’s (1900-1983, born in PanyuGuangdong) ink paintings of opera figures may be deemed as by children at the first glance as they are slightly childish and innocent. This painting depicts thescene of "Broken Bridge", in whichthe Green Snake Xiaoqing holding a sword is about to kill Xu Xian but his wife, the White Snake BaiSuzhen,is trying to stop her. Xiaoqing, with asword in her hand, is about to stabXu Xian, and Xu Xian is so frightened that he scrambles and falls down to the ground; the more dramatic contradiction in the picture is focusing on BaiSuzhen in whitedressand Xu Xian in black. Faced with her unfaithful beloved, BaiSuzhen’s eyes are filled with indignation and resentment, but her hands holding back Xiaoqingalso shows her love-and-hate feelings for Xu Xian; Xu Xian is slightly nettled and regretfully looked at BaiSuzhen who is defending him, trying to explain something. The three persons’ movements and expressions in theireyes show their subtle relationship. Guan Liang is especially good at setting the picture at the most expressive moment, and his paintings are not narrations of grand events, but focus oncharacters’slove and hate feelings. We could enjoy dramas and experience feelings in his paintings,whichareoften small-sized but filled with wit and fun.


  • Title: The Legend of the White Snake
  • Creator: Guan Liang
  • Date: 1983
  • Provenance: National Art Museum of China
  • Medium: ink and colors on paper
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1900-1983

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