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Bada Shanren: The angry ducks painting

Updated on January 5, 2020

Zu Da or Bada Shanren was born as a prince during the ming dynasty. When he was 18th dynasty fell to invaders from the north, who founded the qing dynasty, which was the last imperial dynasty in china.

He was part of the royal family, conversed in Confucian philosophy and Daoist philosophy. He spends 30 years in a Buddhist monastery.

When he left the monastery he was found in the marketplace babbling. Ripped off his monks' clothes and burn them. he reemerges in 1670' the '80s as an artist with the name Bada Shanren which means "the mountain man of the eight greats".

Chinese artists often tool multiple names throughout their careers and later he was called Lotus garden. The lotus emerges in his paintings again and again. In Buddhism, the lotus has symbolism of something pure which has been arisen from the muck of the lake and yet comes up pristine and beautiful which is a metaphor for many different aspects of life.

His techniques have been mastered in such a way that even he has just two strokes of ink they create such a volume and sense of lightness and preciousness that recalls characteristics of a lotus with remarkable fidelity

He is the use of ink and use of his brush he is very calligraphic in approach. his specialization was in birds and fish. In the scroll, there are two ducks one on the stone in the centre base and another on the top west corner of the painting.

The idea represents from the earlier depiction is that the white of the eyes was to express anger, interpreted as his anger at the loss of ming dynasty into which he was born. That interpretation got popular in the early 20th century with the transition from the Ching dynasty to the republic around 1912.

If you look at the division of low and high and the separation of space between the two elements, the wide swath of unpainted paper, describe
Each of the ducks is on the smaller rock similar to the scholar's rock that would have been placed in the master of the nets garden Suzhou, a contemplative garden.

A Chinese garden is an artificial recreation of nature so there is a question that the picture depicts the garden or nature itself.In what does a gentleman's love of landscape consist? The cultivation of his fundamental nature in rural retreats is his frequent occupation.

The flower stems coming up and rising to the full length on the right side, there are at the bottom four stalks that begin and at the top, it becomes five by dividing in the middle, as lotus branch do not branch so it can be a symbolism from his life that we don't have an explanation. we can see how he has done the leaves on the top with transparency and tonalities, layering of the ink create a sense of depth. the stroke of the lotus petals is done calligraphically, usually with just a couple of strokes. The artist can communicate in great depth with such an economy of line to produce an entire environment.


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