Monday, October 28, 2013

Wang Hui's Scroll

Ipad rendering of Scroll Three, Ji'nan to Mount Tai by Wang Hui

Yes! I'm finally branching out of Western Art and examining some Chinese painting. This painting, by Wang Hui, is only part of a 45 foot long scroll depicting a trip taken by the Kangxi Emperor in 1689 from Beijing down to the Yangze River Delta (currently the Shanghai region). What I find so fascinating about Chinese landscape painting is that the artist does not paint in the setting. Wang Hui was commissioned to make scroll paintings depicting the entire journey, but he wasn't there. He never saw any of the things he painted. He used maps and journal entries with other people's descriptions to create them. So, really, much of what we see is from his imagination. 

In the painting that I did a rendering of above, titled Ji'nan to Mount Tai, Wang Hui shows the Emperor's travelling party climbing to the top of Mount Tai, a spiritual place in Eastern China. In total, he created 12 scrolls depicting the Emperor's journey, some measuring as long as 80 feet! Can you imagine!? He did have assistants, but still, that's a pretty large undertaking, especially considering the delicacy of paper. Learn a few more details on the MET Museum site if you want to learn more. 

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