Phyl G

Phyl G

Posted on 07/20/2013

Photo taken on February  6, 2010

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Royal Ontario Museum
Chinese Art

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Man and Stag

Man and Stag
[Apologies for the date showing on the photos.] [Apologies also for the shadow across the top; that's the way the lights made the top of the case fall on the fan. And the lights glared off the slanted glass in such a way that I sometimes had to take these photos at weird angles so it didn't blot out the middle of the art.]

The ROM describes this particular fan: "In his writings, Gao made it clear that he had two main reasons for painting with his fingers: he did not want any artificial tool to stand between his ideas and the paper or silk, and he was fascinated by the often accidental effects that resulted from his novel technique. ... This humorous leaf of a man greeting a stag (a symbol of wealth) shows a certain clumsiness that was actually appreciated by art lovers of the period: it showed that the painter was a real gentleman who was beyond the search for realism and polished execution associated with professional artists."

Quoting from the ROM blurb about Gao Qipei himself and this exhibit: "One of China's most intriguing painters, Gao Qipei, did not in fact use a brush but painted directly on paper or silk using his ink-dipped fingers and fingernails. This album of 12 fan paintings is one of Gao's most inspired and characteristic works. It harmoniously brings together painting, written inscriptions, and seal impressions (Gao hand carved most of the many seals he used). The album was painted in 1697/1698 when Gao worked as a government official in the city of Kunming, in the southwestern province of Yunnan. It was meant as a souvenir for a friend, Li Songke, when Gao left his post in Yunnan to return to the capital, Beijing. Li Songke was a wealthy salt merchant and a long-standing patron of Gao Qipei's work."