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Chinese Houses in Painting (2)
by Contemporary Chinese Artists

April 2007
Chinese Houses in Painting 1

High Living

绝涧安其梁,飞岩假其栈。自成天然之趣,不烦人事之工。阶前自扫云,岭上谁锄月。千峦环翠,万壑流青。(Craft of Gardens)

A winding trial from waterside leads up to a distinctive high living, where a traditional Chinese village is built on the riverside cliff, with the houses, courtyards and streets carved into solid rocks. Half hidden in the thick foliage and blossoms, its presence is definably expressed, forging a coherent and harmonious integration between the man-made environment and the natural landscape. A style that took thousands years to formulate is wonderfully articulated by a contemporary Chinese artist.

An Anhui Village

曲曲一湾柳月,濯魄清波, 洗出千家烟雨;遥遥十里荷风,递香幽室, 移将四壁图书。

Anhui used to be a highly advanced area in culture and economy, but it has lagged behind lately. Maybe precisely because of this, it has preserved large quantity of physical evidences of the past glory.

The village portrayed by a Chinese artist in the painting is one of such heritage sites with the buildings dating back to the early Ming dynasty about 600 years ago. It is a man-made environment designed to facilitate both functional activities and cultural experiences, following faithfully a sophisticated tradition that refuses to go beyond the necessary in pursuing the wild side of technology, nor does it allows shared living spaces to be turned into arts exhibition grounds.

A Riverside Town


A typical scene of a traditional riverside town in Zhejiang Province is graciously rendered by a contemporary Chinese artist.

It is not a standard machine which has no soul, nor is it a piece of imported visual art that lacks dimensions of locality, culture and history.

No, it is not.

A living environment like this is nurtured by a specific culture, shaped by a collective psyche and enriched with historical depth. It is a space that, though man-made, is as organic as the natural setting on which it is created.

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