- Museum number
- Object: Calligraphy couplet; 書法對聯; Shufa duilian
Pair of vertical scrolls with calligraphy, made of black ink on paper, bearing a couplet written for Ou Chu (?), one of the old revolutionaries in Guangzhou.
- Production date
Height: 127.60 centimetres (image (a))
Height: 127.60 centimetres (image (b))
Height: 177.80 centimetres (mount including roller and hanging cord (a))
Height: 177.70 centimetres (mount including roller and hanging cord (b))
Width: 31.50 centimetres (image (a))
Width: 31.60 centimetres (image (b))
Width: 41.20 centimetres (mount including roller (a))
Width: 41.20 centimetres (mount including roller (b))
- Curator's comments
The artist mentions his home in Beijing and Ou Chu's in Guangzhou. About Beijing he refers to the clouds of sunset touching the distant solitary stupa that stands on the island (Jasper Island) in Beihai Park. The second line is about the bright moon casting an autumnal light over the painted boats on the Pearl River which flows through Guangzhou. For a Chinese reader, ambiguity and a touch of humour can be perceived in these phrases. The white stupa mentioned is part of the Temple of Everlasting Peace that was built to celebrate the visit of the Dalai Lama to Beijing in 1651. The 'bright moon' mentioned in the line about the Pearl River is the moon of the mid-autumn festival and the 'painted boats' have always been associated with pleasure, and specially that of sensual nature.
These two scrolls provide an excellent example of Qi Gong's calligraphy in a new style he began developing in the 1980s. The more Qi Gong studied the works of earlier masters, the more he felt that more satisfying results could be achieved by moving away from the accepted practice of positioning characters in an imaginary box divided into 3x3 units. He developed a formula of 13x13 units, which made possible to focus the core of the character on a smaller box in the middle of the frame and allowed more space from the longer vertical and diagonal strokes. This system has a marked effect on the balance and tensions within a character, as can be seen in this piece. By using this approach, Qi Gong achieved exactly the freshness and liveliness that he had been seeking. This success was further enhanced by the skill with which he spaced his characters on the paper and by the complex visual rythms he created by using heavy and light strokes. The fine brushwork with which he has executed the more complex parts of the characters of this work is exquisite.
Qi Gong's calligraphy has a classic elegance that has rarely been surpassed. The upright elongated characters in regular script style (kaishu) and the varying broad and thick strokes are juxtaposed to allow for a well balanced composition.
The first line of the couplet evokes an image of the white stupa on Jasper island in Beihai Park at sunset in Beijing while the second line describes colourful boats on the Pearl River under the mid-autumn moon in Guangzhou.
Published: Barrass 2002, fig.94
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 12 Feb-15 May, Liverpool, Victoria Art Gallery and Museum, ‘Strokes of the Brush’
May-Sept 2012, BM Galleries 91, 'Modern Chinese Ink Painting'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Ch.Ptg.Add.728 (Chinese Painting Additional Number)