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Rare glimpse of a masterpiece

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-14 07:27

Rare glimpse of a masterpiece

Part of A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the lone surviving painting by Song Dynasty artist Wang Ximeng, is among dozens of works to be showcased at the upcoming grand exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History at the Palace Museum in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng is to be exhibited at the Palace Museum. Wang Kaihao reports.

An 18-year-old genius left the world with a work that has had resonance for the past nine centuries. Indisputably, A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng, is one of the most important in China's fine art history.

The work, together with 85 others, is to be exhibited in Beijing.

The exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History will open at the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, on Sept 15.

"The blue-green paintings have relatively thick mineral pigments, and are thus difficult to preserve," says Palace Museum researcher Wang Zhongxu, curator of the exhibition.

"It is extremely rare to see a 900-year-old painting intact."

He says the 11-meter-long scroll painting is a record of people's lives and natural scenery at that time, and mixes realism with creative imagination.

In the painting you have mountains, rivers, villages, ports, temples and pavilions, he adds.

"We can also see all kinds of human activities," he says.

"For example, some people are sightseeing, some are in caravans and others are seen living as hermits."

Wang Zhongxu says the details create a grand aura.

"Song Dynasty paintings are renowned for their delicate details," he says. "And this work is an outstanding representative. It's the pinnacle of blue-and-green painting, not only for its technique but also its theme."

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