The great art of the recluses

Updated: 2013-03-15 07:57

(China Daily)

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 The great art of the recluses

Poems and texts often accompanied paintings in ancient works. Provided to China Daily

The 17th century was one of the most dramatic and crisis-filled periods of China's long history. Turbulent decades filled with droughts and floods, peasant uprisings, the corruption of powerful eunuchs at court, and foreign threats to national borders led to the collapse of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). But it was also an era of extraordinary artistic achievement.

At the forefront of these historic changes were educated elites, including accomplished poets, calligraphers and painters. This exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse into the private world of these elites. Deeply affected by the crises of their times, many sought solace in the ancient ideal of withdrawal or reclusion. They retreated either literally or figuratively from serving a court filled with treacherous intrigue to private lives devoted to the time-honored consolations and pleasures found in nature, art and learning.

In an exhibition in New York, the poems and texts that often accompany the paintings, written in masterful calligraphy, take you ever deeper into the private world of these "artful recluses".

Date: till June 2

Venue: 725 Park Avenue


(China Daily 03/15/2013 page23)