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The fantastic four monks

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-09 07:19

An ongoing exhibition in the Hall of Martial Valor at Beijing's Palace Museum showcases paintings and calligraphic works by Hongren, Kuncan, Bada Shanren and Shitao, also known as "the Four Monks" in Chinese fine-art history.[Photo by Jiang Dong and Wang Kaihao / China Daily]

An ongoing exhibition at Beijing's Palace Museum showcases the works of Hongren, Kuncan, Bada Shanren and Shitao from the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Wang Kaihao reports.

They are considered some of the best painters among Buddhist monks in ancient China.

Hongren, Kuncan, Bada Shanren and Shitao from the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) are referred to as "the Four Monks" in Chinese fine-art history.

An ongoing exhibition in the Hall of Martial Valor at Beijing's Palace Museum - China's royal palace from 1420 to 1911, which is also known as the Forbidden City - showcases their works through the 163 pieces on display.

Visiting the Painting and Calligraphic Works by the Four Monk Artists from the Permanent Collection of the Palace Museum is not only an experience of admiring fine art but also an exploration for those seeking the inner peace of Zen.

"They (the artists) may not belong to the same schools of art, but they endured many ups and downs in their lives," says Wang Hu, curator of the exhibition.

"They were loyal to the previous Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and had strong views about the newly established (Qing) empire of the Manchu."

The exhibition has four sections, one for each artist.

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