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Paintings depict prosperous cities of Ming and Qing dynasties

Fifteen paintings on the theme of prosperous cities of the Ming and Qing dynasties and selected from the Liaoning Provincial Museum, will be on display at the Hong Kong Museum of Art from September 25 to November 22 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Liaoning Provincial Museum, the exhibition, "The Prosperous Cities: A Selection of Paintings from the Liaoning Provincial Museum", features significant paintings such as "Along the River during the Qingming Festival" by Qiu Ying (ca.1494-ca.1552) of the Ming dynasty, "Ten Views of West Lake" by Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715) and "Prosperous Suzhou" by Xu Yang (1712-after 1777) of the Qing dynasty, offering an insight into China’s urban wealth during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) periods.

The landscapes of the prosperous cities, and metropolitan life south of the Yangtze River (also known as the Jiangnan area) in particular, are the focus of this exhibition. Boasting a booming economy and an enviably vibrant culture, Suzhou was one of the leading metropolises in the Ming and Qing dynasties. In this affluent hub that traded in food and silk, the rich, the cultured and the powerful rubbed shoulders with one another and with the great artists who rose to prominence at that time. The most acclaimed of these painters came from the Wu School of the mid-Ming. Masterpieces by exponents of that school, particularly Shen Zhou (1427 - 1509), Tang Yin (1470 - 1523), Wen Zhengming (1470 - 1559) and Qiu Ying, who have come to be known collectively as the Four Masters of the Ming, are featured in the exhibition. Reflecting the privileged life they led, their works invite viewers to partake in their literary gatherings, tea parties, chess games and other elegant pastimes in the embrace of alluring landscapes.

Many of the paintings on display were once part of the Qing imperial collection, with some even commissioned by the emperors Kangxi and Qianlong. The "Prosperous Suzhou", for example, is a record of the affluence of Suzhou city during the High Qing era by the court painter Xu Yang. Wang Yuanqi's "Ten Views of West Lake" immortalises the picturesque Hangzhou that Emperor Kangxi visited on his southern tours, while "Imperial Banquet of the Qianlong Emperor at Yingtai" by Zhang Gao's (act. ca. 1736 - 1795) celebrates a sumptuous banquet that Emperor Qianlong hosted for his court. The metropolitan beauty of ancient China portrayed in these beautiful scrolls will tempt visitors to wonder about the imperial minds that inspired the creation of both the cities and the masterpieces that depict them.

For enquiries, call 2721 0116 or visit the Museum of Art's website http://hk.art.museum/.

The "Prosperous Suzhou" is a record of the affluence of Suzhou city during the High Qing era by Xu Yang (1712-after 1777), a Qing court painter during the reign of Qianlong. Extending across 12 metres, the scroll captures government facilities and institutions, trading and industrial activities as well as social customs and habits, allowing viewers of today to travel the metropolis of 250 years ago
The "Prosperous Suzhou" is a record of the affluence of Suzhou city during the High Qing era by Xu Yang (1712-after 1777), a Qing court painter during the reign of Qianlong. Extending across 12 metres, the scroll captures government facilities and institutions, trading and industrial activities as well as social customs and habits, allowing viewers of today to travel the metropolis of 250 years ago

Source: GovHK (www.gov.hk)