Last weekend marked the opening of Alternative Dreams: 17th-Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection. This exhibition showcases one of the finest collections of 17th-century Chinese paintings in the United States, and presents works by many of the most famous painters of this period.
Come by to take a look at these beautiful works and consider the following:
1. Gong Xian’s Landscape, 1674, is the largest work by this artist outside of China. (The landscape is made up of four scrolls.)
2. Many flowers and birds are symbols in Chinese culture. For example, bean pods are symbols of multiple children and magpies are thought to be a harbinger of something wonderful to come.
3. Most pigments used on the paintings are made of minerals, such as cinnabar, lapis, malachite, and iron oxide.
4. A case in the exhibition displays the four treasures of the artist’s studio—brush, ink stone, ink, and paper. The hairs of the brush were most often made of rabbit’s fur, but sometimes other animal hair, such as wolf, was used.
5. Wu Li’s Crossing an Autumn River in the Evening was painted at a party in 1671. The artist wrote a poem on his painting, then invited the partygoers to each write a poem on the work. The only catch? They had to use his rhyming scheme, demonstrating their poetic prowess and sophistication.
Below, curator Stephen Little speaks about the exhibition and the works of art. Learn more about the artworks displayed and come view them for yourself! Alternative Dreams is on view through December 4.