“The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in mountains.”
- The Analects of Confucius, c. 6th – 5th century BC
Drawing on works from the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection of Chinese art and paintings, Mountains and Streams: Chinese Paintings from the Asian Collection will open at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 29 November 2007.
China’s magnificent scenery of mountains and streams has inspired Chinese scholars, poets and painters for thousands of years.
This exhibition will look at the period from the 14th century until the present day and will examine the worship of mountains as sacred places in China, an idea that originated in pre-historic times. Mountains were believed to be the pillars of the Universe, connecting heaven and earth; streams were considered to be the arteries of these mountains.
This is a special opportunity to see the historical and spiritual importance that landscape painting has always represented for Chinese artists.
The practice of seeking out places of scenic beauty first became popular with Daoist poets and painters. Landscape was a fundamental aspect of Chinese painting, serving as a substitute for nature, as most Chinese artists during this period painted from memory and experiences, rather than nature itself.
In times of political turmoil, mountains and streams became a spiritual refuge where scholars could find solace.
The exhibition will include more than 40 works, including paintings, objects, works on paper and works on silk.