New Year exhibition affirms artist’s desire for peace

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With a life mostly spent in periods of social turmoil and war, master artist Qi Baishi often expressed a yearning for peace, stability and prosperity. Although times have changed dramatically since then, people today are still touched by the festive atmosphere and positive attitude toward life shown in Qi's works.

The Art Museum of the Beijing Fine Art Academy is showing a selection of Qi's ink-color paintings and calligraphic scrolls in its collection to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Works on show include Sui Zhao Tu, a scroll painting which adopts a particular style of classical Chinese artwork. The style of sui zhao tu paintings, made to celebrate Spring Festival, became popular in the royal court of the Song Dynasty (960-1271).

The paintings depict blooming plants in anticipation of spring as well as cultural objects, such as incense burners, catering to the high-end tastes of aristocrats and intellectuals. It was Qi who reformed the style to make it accessible to ordinary people by painting everyday objects such as red lanterns, fireworks and cabbages. The exhibition ends on April 5.

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