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Textiles Textiles A LARGE CLASSICAL NARRATIVE CHINESE PAINTING(c. 16th century)
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This is a very fine example of a classical narrative Chinese painting on silk, which is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. It is possibly from the 16th century, by which time narrative painting in China was highly developed. The imagery contains meticulous minutiae along with highly coloured figural subjects engrossed in various activities. Whether they are immersed in the clouds, strolling along the garden path or engrossed in lively discussions, they appear gentile and poised. Clothed in vividly patterned hanfu that are gracefully flowing, the folks in this painting move in sang-froid manner, immersed in their own business.
The landscape in this painting, treated in a flat tone, is a panorama detailed by sinuous clouds, pruned manicured trees and shrubs amidst rocky patches with undulating grassy patches. It gracefully binds the various scenes of bustling activity. Interestingly, though densely painted, the painting is buoyant and undoubtedly charming.
During the 16th, late 17th and early 18th century, narrative painting in China was at its peak. Patronised by royalty and the elite, the painters were deft in their renditions and created elaborate narratives that described and accounted the daily existence, traditions and mannerisms of the populace and the gracious lifestyle of the monarchs.