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Treasures of Chinese Painting from the Shanghai Museum

Commemorative Exhibition for the Reopening of the Toyokan: Treasures of Chinese Painting from the Shanghai Museum
Toyokan Room 8   October 1, 2013 (Tue) - November 24, 2013 (Sun)

  
Flowers, Album, Yun Shouping, Qing dynasty, 1685, Shanghai Museum, China (First-Class Cultural Heritage)

This exhibition features representative masterpieces of Chinese painting from the Shanghai Museum, which boasts one of the largest collections in China. Through these treasured works from the Shanghai Museum, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to overview approximately 1000 years of Chinese painting history, from the Song and Yuan dynasties to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

General Information

Period Tuesday, October 1  - Sunday, November 24, 2013
Venue Toyokan Room 8, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Fridays and November 2, 3, until 20:00
November 4 until 18:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (except for October 14 and November 4), and closed Tuesday October 15, Tuesday November 5
Admission Adults: 600 (500) yen
University Students: 400 (300) yen
* ( ) indicate prices for those in groups of 20 or more.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* High/Junior High/Elementary School Students and persons under 18 and over 70: Free
Please show proof of age (driver's license, passport, etc.) when entering.
* Special exhibition "Kyoto from Inside and Outside: Scenes on Panels and Folding Screens" (Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - December 1, 2013, Heiseikan) requires a separate admission fee.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizer Tokyo National Museum, Shanghai Museum, Nikkei Inc., The Mainichi Newspapers
With the Assistance of All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
  文化庁ロゴ This exhibition is covered by the Japanese Act on the Indemnification of Damage to Works of Art in Exhibitions.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)

Related Events

Heiseikan Auditorium  October 12, 2013 (Sat) RESERVE_DAY
Toyokan Room 8  October 11, 2013 (Fri)   18:00 - 19:00   RESERVE_DAY
Toyokan Room 8  October 25, 2013 (Fri)   18:00 - 19:00   RESERVE_DAY
Toyokan Room 8  November 8, 2013 (Fri)   18:00 - 19:00   RESERVE_DAY
Toyokan Room 8  November 22, 2013 (Fri)   18:00 - 19:00   RESERVE_DAY

Highlight of the Exhibition


I. Five Dynasties and Northern Song : Perfection of Chinese Landscape Painting
II. Southern Song : Poetic Sentiment and Elegance
III. Yuan : The Flowering of Literati Painting
IV. Ming : Zhe School and Wu School
V. Late Ming and Early Qing : the Orthodox and the Eccentric

 

I. Five Dynasties and Northern Song : Perfection of Chinese Landscape Painting

Approximately 900 years ago during the Northern Song dynasty, scholar-officials, in place of the nobility, began to create a new society. Scholar-officials were bureaucrats who passed the competitive imperial examinations to become civil servants. From the Song dynasty, anyone who passed the examination system, regardless of birthplace or family background but depending on his level of knowledge, was granted the right to work as a bureaucrat. Such people came to be known as the "literati", and became the central figures of Chinese society and culture. The literati eventually created a new form of art through which they expressed their personal feelings. Works handed down from the Song dynasty, where the literati painting genre originated, are particularly rare and important. They also are highly prized at the Shanghai Museum. 

 
* To view larger images, click the imeges.

Misty River and Piled Peaks
First-Class Cultural Heritage  Misty River and Piled Peaks
By Wang Shen
Northern Song dynasty, 11th-12th century
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 1 to October 27, 2013]
 

The Water Mill
First-Class Cultural Heritage The Water Mill
Five Dynasties, 10th dynasty
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 1 to October 27, 2013]

 

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II. Southern Song : Poetic Sentiment and Elegance

Escaping southwards after attacks by the Jin dynasty, the Northern Song dynasty moved its capital to Hangzhou in 1127 and established the Southern Song dynasty. In the new capital, built on the shores of the scenic West Lake and also known as Lin'an (meaning temporary seat of the government), many imperial painters continued to work as successors to the highly realistic style of Northern Song, creating attractive paintings brimming with poetic sentiment. Japan's Ashikaga shogunate, the warrior-class rulers during the 15th and 16th centuries, avidly collected important paintings from this era and numerous paintings have since been handed down through generations in Japan. On the other hand, the Southern Song paintings at Shanghai Museum have characteristics that are significantly different from Japanese collections.

 
* To view larger images, click the imeges.

Pavilion in Moonlight   Pavilion in Moonlight
By Ma Lin
Southern Song dynasty, 13th century
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 1 to October 27, 2013]

 

West Lake (Shihu)
West Lake (Shihu)
Southern Song dynasty, 13th century
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 29 to November 24, 2013]

 

 

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III. Yuan : The Flowering of Literati Painting

When China came under the control of the Mongolian Empire during the Yuan dynasty, the scholar-officials of Jiangnan, who had been the central figure of society until that time, were politically persecuted. They began to entrust their feelings to paintings as literati, and pursued freedom of thought. Qian Xuan and Zhao Mengfu were such scholar-officials who developed literati painting styles. In the later Yuan Era, four Jiangnan painters who perfected their unique landscape painting styles came to be known as the "Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty". The focus of expressions in Chinese painting gradually transferred from “depictions of shapes” into “reflections of feelings”,  and literati painting of the Yuan dynasty went on to become the pillar of Chinese culture.

 
* To view larger images, click the imeges.

A Clearing Autumn Day at Fishing Town   Seclusion in Bianshan Mountain
First-Class Cultural Heritage A Clearing Autumn Day at Fishing Town
By Ni Zan
Yuan dynasty, dated 1355 (Zhizheng 15)
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 1 to October 27, 2013]
  First-Class Cultural Heritage Seclusion in Bianshan Mountain
By Wang Meng
Yuan dynasty, dated 1366 (Zhizheng 26)
Shanghai Museum, China
[on exhibit from October 29 to November 24, 2013]

 

 

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IV. Ming : Zhe School and Wu School

The Ming dynasty, under which China was united, established Beijing as its capital and built glorious palaces. The Zhe School were consisted of professional imperial painters at the time. They included Li Zai, who taught Japanese painter Sesshu Toyo, and Lü Ji, who is famous for his paintings of flowers and birds. For a time the splendid style of the Zhe School dominated, but in time their vigorous brushwork caused them to be criticized as “wild and heretic”. At the forefront of this criticism were the literati of the Wu School. Based mostly around Jiangnan's cultural capital Suzhou, the Wu School rejected the extravagant lifestyle of Beijing. The group consisted of literati who disliked the vulgar and preferred a simple and graceful lifestyle. Professional painters and literati painters, however, although they criticized each other, also learned from each other as well, and this led to the rich diversity of Chinese painting. 

 
* To view larger images, click the imeges.

Qingao Riding a Carp   First-Class Cultural Heritage Qingao Riding a Carp
By Li Zai
Ming dynasty, 15th century
Shanghai Museum, China

 

Lake Shihu
First-Class Cultural Heritage Lake Shihu
By Wen Zhengming
Ming dynasty, dated 1532 (Jiajing 11)
Shanghai Museum, China

 

 

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V. Late Ming and Early Qing : the Orthodox and the Eccentric

The Wu School overwhelmed the Zhe School as a result of their rivalry, and the Wu School dominated Chinese painting until the modern era. Their painting style was passed down and sophisticated by painters of the so-called Orthodox School, such as Dong Qichang. Paintings of the Orthodox School, which pursued to create a graceful impression, eventually became excessively plain and stiff, and in the late Ming dynasty, the Eccentric School appeared in opposition to the Orthodox School. Being influenced by Western and ancient paintings, their work was ignored for a long time in the study of Chinese art history. In recent years, however, their figurative appeal has been reappraised. The establishment of the Orthodox School and the reaction against it has lent even greater breadth to Chinese paintings. 

 
* To view larger images, click the imeges.

Landscapes of Shanyin
Landscapes of Shanyin
By Wu Bin
Ming dynasty, dated 1608 (Wanli 36)
Shanghai Museum, China

 

Flowers, Album
First-Class Cultural Heritage Flowers, Album
By Yun Shouping
Qing dynasty, dated 1685 (Kangxi 24)
Shanghai Museum, China

 

 

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