Classic ink paintings on show reveal the spiritual 'xieyi' style

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Bodhidharma, by Luo Pin, collection of Tianjin Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The xieyi style of classic Chinese ink painting is more than a technique that features a reduction in detailed brushstrokes. Essentially it describes a philosophy of Chinese culture to emphasize freedom, spirituality, individuality and expressiveness.

Figure paintings drawn in the xieyi style emerged the third century and reached its peak in the 13th century.

A Fair Lady, by Fei Danxu, collection of Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The creation of xieyi-style figure paintings further diversified in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties to cater to the taste of the upper-middle-class and the interest of a rising group of city dwellers, boosted by commercial prosperity.

An ongoing exhibition at the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy reviews the booming scene of xieyi-style figure paintings. The exhibition through Dec 15 shows works by prominent Ming and Qing artists, drawn from the collection of eight museums across the country.

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