An ongoing exhibition tracing the historical art of seal carving, ink-wash painting and calligraphy is open to the public in the Wulin outlet of Zhejiang Museum through August 5.
Seal carving flourished as an art form when painters and calligraphers finished a piece of work they had produced with a red stamp of a seal. This vogue gave birth to a variety of seal styles throughout the dynasties.
A group of seal-carving artists sprang up in the Yangtze River Delta region during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when seals became less privileged and used for authentication among craftsmen and artists.
The highlight of the exhibition lies in the collection and works of Zhejiang artists.
Han Deng’an (1905-1976) was one of the greatest masters in China’s seal-cutting field in the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China (1912-1949). His style of work has been copied, imitated and replicated by generations of admirers in tribute ever since.
Most seal carvers were skilled in the art of Chinese ink-wash painting and calligraphy since the three sections are inseparable. And Han was no exception. In one piece on display, he wrote a poem and applied his seal to the finished work. That is the most common form of Chinese calligraphy.
Ink-wash paintings from Dong Qichang, Huang Binhong and Wu Changshuo at the exhibition have also been popular with visitors.
In the history of Chinese modern painting, Huang Binhong enjoyed equal popularity with Qi Baishi. They two were dubbed “Northern Qi and Southern Huang” in history, a reflection of their unparalleled status in modern art, and Huang’s ink paintings take on a whimsical and playful style.
Dong’s work features a distinctive, plain and yet powerful style. Even the Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722), during the Qing Dynasty, learned and imitated Dong’s calligraphy style. He was also a celebrated collector who owned many precious paintings and calligraphy works.
Wu was a famous calligrapher, painter and seal maker who considered carving seals and painting to be integrated pursuits. He made great contribution to the establishment of the prestigious Xiling Seal Society, the top academy of Chinese seal art.
Date: Through August 5, closed on Mondays
Address: Zone E, West Lake Culture Plaza, 581 Zhongshan Rd N.