Ink paintings depicting tragic love story donated to museum

Updated: Dec 7, 2021 Print
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Kongque Dongnanfei (Southeast the Peacock Flies) by Xiao Yutian. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Lianhuanhua, a set of picture books of sequential drawings, was one of the most popular forms of entertainment for Chinese people in the 20th century. The books, often created and drawn by noted artists, illustrate folk tales, ancient poems, classical novels and other cultural themes.

An ongoing exhibition at the National Art Museum of China shows 10 ink paintings created by Xiao Yutian in the late 1980s for such a book that narrated the third century ballad Kongque Dongnanfei (Southeast the Peacock Flies). Done in the gongbi style, marked by attention to detail, Xiao vividly visualized the poetic beauty of the tragic love story.

The paintings were among 28 works that Xiao donated to the National Art Museum. Xiao once studied under Pan Jiezi, the eminent gongbi artist of modern China. Meanwhile, Xiao reads a lot of classical poems from the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties. The exhibition runs until Dec 12.

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