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October 17, 2019

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Disciple becomes master to conquer Tianshan Mountains

Famous Chinese ink-wash painter Yuan Ziliang has launched a solo exhibition at Shanghai’s Longhuijing Space, an artistic showroom for exhibiting and selling original works of art in Xuhui District.

More than 80 brush works created during Yuan’s long artistic career is on display, including the Buddhism-themed works of “The Four Heavenly Kings,” “The Dragon Subduing Arhat,” as well as his representative works such as “Thousands of Bamboos in the Rain” and “Plum, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum” — the four plants known as the “four gentlemen” in Chinese poetry and literati paintings, which stand for the qualities of being the man: proud, pure, firm and quiet.

Born in 1944 in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Yuan had a poor life in his teenager years.

But his life changed at the age of 19 when he met Chinese ink-wash painting master Jin Xiezhong (1898-1961), who was then exiled to Xinjiang at a “political re-education camp.”

The two men bonded to such an extent that Yuan officially embarked on an artistic road of discovery to study traditional Chinese painting as a disciple of Jin.

“He never ever gives up his practice even during the difficult years when everyone else was politically hectic,” said Gao Li, wife of Yuan. “He would do calligraphy drawings with at least 2,000 characters every morning, read books in the afternoon, teach and paint in the evening. That’s what I know of him over the past two decades.”

Yuan’s love of brush and ink, and following his teacher’s instruction of “being patient and insistent,” has made his paintings stand out among his peers. His bamboo painting in particular earned him the “No.1 Tianshan bamboo” reputation. Tianshan Mountains, meaning the Mountains of Heaven or the Heavenly Mountain with a length of 2,500 kilometers, spans across the whole Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.

“The Chinese ink-wash painting is stroke based. It can be learned in moments, but it requires years to master. For Yuan, it was always practice that makes perfect,” said Gao.

The 75-year-old, also known as Shifang Jushi (Buddhism householder), is now a member of the Xinjiang Calligrapher’s Association.

For reservation at Longhuijing Space, please call Ms Tao at 17301690097.

Date: Through November 13, 10am-4:30pm

Venue: Longhuijing Space

Address: 1011 Luocheng Rd


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