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Lingnan in Ink Mood
Collaborative Paintings by Jao Tsung-I and the Four Masters of the Lingnan School

17/3/2018 - 2/6/2018


The exhibition features 40 collaborative paintings by Professor Jao Tsung-I together with four masters of the Lingnan School, Zhao Shao-ang, Li Xiong-cai, Guan Shan-yue and Yang Shan-shen. They are all selected from Yitao Collection.

Collaborative painting requires the infusion of different styles of the participating artists. These works jointly painted by Professor Jao and Lingnan masters reveal the successful integration of Lingnan School and Literati painting techniques. They inspire excellent creativity and show good rapport among the five masters.

Message from director

In ancient China, most people did not have the opportunity to be educated. They could not write nor compose. For those involved in art, while they knew how to paint, they were not accorded respect for want of formal education. They were seen as mere craftsmen without the artists’ status.

Since the Yuan Dynasty (1276-1368), Chinese art underwent tremendous changes. Educated scholars actively pursued creativity. They composed poems in their paintings, emphasizing that artists not only knew how to paint, but were also experts in poetry and calligraphy. Combining the three aspects on paper became a vogue. These literati-artists used painting to interpret literature, and vice versa, thus enhancing the value of art.

Unfortunately, in the Twentieth Century, there were increasingly fewer literati-artists. Professor Jao Tsung-I is both an eminent scholar and an outstanding calligrapher as well of painter, a genius rare in the art sector nowadays. His paintings inherit Chinese traditional ink style; they also utilize the Western light and shade technique. His works modernize the old conventional formulaic composition approach.

Professor Jao’s style is in accord with the spirit of Lingnan School. Preeminent in this School is Gao Jian-fu who advocated real life themes and integration of the East and West techniques to reform Chinese painting. Following him are the four masters of Lingnan School: Zhao Shao-ang, Li Xiong-cai, Guan Shan-yue and Yang Shan-shen. They took the Lingnan style to new height, contributing long-lasting impact in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

In Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), scholars often cooperated in painting. Professor Jao and the Lingnan four masters have considerable rapport which consolidates their working together. Professor Jao would start with a poem and painting to be followed by touches administered by either Zhao, Li, Guan, or Yang, thus resulting in the infusion of the excellence of two artists. The works have undoubtedly become invaluable national assets.

Sun Museum is grateful to the owner of Yitao Collection for lending these precious paintings, an exhibition to discover and appreciate the accomplishments of the five masters.

YEUNG Chun Tong


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