Chrysanthemums and Bamboo
Symbolism, Legends, Polymorphism
Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Chrysanthemums and bamboo are two of the most popular motifs in Chinese painting, even today, and are imbued with rich symbolism. They are attributed with certain 'masculine' virtues, which the artist by inference ascribes to himself to reveal facets of his personality. Both plants especially lend themselves to demonstrating the painter's skill in handling the brush and ink.
Today's exhibition presents 16 works, in which chrysanthemums or bamboo are combined with depictions of various animals, jagged ornamental rocks and autumnal motifs. In some pictures, chrysanthemums and bamboo also appear on their own, for instance 'dancing' in the rain. The images are imbued with their own symbolism, depending on how they are combined with other motifs, and often also refer to stories from long ago. The manner in which they are executed is just as diverse as the motifs themselves. In style, they range from traditional monochrome paintings up to depictions in vibrant colours that border on the abstract. This range of styles lends the works their tender lyricism or gives them their lively, expressive force.
The exhibition presents the diverse range of forms evident in the motifs of chrysanthemums and bamboo, in the process highlighting the fresh creative impulses with which artists of the 20th century have infused traditional Chinese painting.
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