Sunday, 9 February 2014

Museu do Oriente, Lisboa - The temporary exhibition of Jian Shanqing and part of the permanent exhibition - The 8th of February 2014

Despite being Saturday I woke up fairly early with the intent of going to Museu do Oriente expecting to see an exhibition, which I mistakenly thought was already in display. I ended up seeing a temporary ink wash painting one by Jiang Shanqing on the ground-floor before having gone up to see the permanent collection on the first and second floors once more.

I have often confessed I'm not particularly keen on modern abstract Art but by having attempted to develop an open attitude towards what doesn't necessarily strike me as "Art" (at least the way I'd see it) I've come across some artistic "compositions" I haven't quite disliked.

What impressed me particularly as far as Jian Shanquing is concerned were the subtle colours in many of his paintings and his approach to Art which according to I read wasn't assimilated by Western Abstractionism in the sense of having fallen into the dangers of imitation. It is true that it is noticeable he has maintained the Chinese Ink painting tradition in his paintings, which I am again not surprised bearing in mind the fact that he is a man of letters and a calligrapher educated in the purity of ink wash, in which he is said to excel.

I chose to photograph the ink wash compositions on cotton that mostly attracted me throughout different years of his Art production.

Ink Wash Philosophy - 2014 (left). Reflections of peach blossoms - 2011 (right).

Apparently, blocks - 2013 (right).

Flute - 2012

Upon re-visiting the permanent exhibition I concentrated my attention on the late 18th century and first quarter of the 19th century water-colours on paper pertaining to a much wider collection of trades related to  the tea and silk production processes. The details of these Chinese paintings were breathtaking. It is undeniable that detailed miniatures always catch my attention.

I continued through to the late 19th century water-colours on silk by Kim Jun-Geun from Korea depicting folklore scenes and customs which were equally beautiful. In the set  one could see street games (an acrobat and his audience); the ritual on the anniversary of someone's death; a classroom and a game of dominoes.

I then came across four  19th century water colours on paper depicting Indian characters and professions, though in terms of authorship based on the technique used it would most probably have to  be attributed to Europeans. That in itself didn't diminish the interest in spite of there being a curiosity on how the locals would have approached these issues artistically.

As far as painting is concerned my last interest was related to a huge 17th century wooden screen with coloured lacquer and oil painting on depicting episodes of Christ's life, which from a stylistic approach bore some affinities with Christian iconographic works said to have been made by Chinese and Japanese artists trained in the Western Seminary established in Japan in the late 16th century. 

(To be continued)

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