“Chinese Painting”

“Chinese Painting”

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Chinese way of appreciating a painting is often expressed by the words du hua, “to read a painting.” How does one do that? 

Consider Night-Shining White by Han Gan (1977.78), an image of a horse. Originally little more than a foot square, it is now mounted as a handscroll that is twenty feet long as a result of the myriad inscriptions and seals (marks of ownership) that have been added over the centuries, some directly on the painted surface, so that the horse is all but overwhelmed by this enthusiastic display of appreciation. Miraculously, the animal’s energy shines . . . .”

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