plate 29 from Woodland Portraits, signed recto, signed and titled mount verso
31.75 cm x 24.13 cm (12 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in.)
A yellow flower, still not yet in bloom. The flower and its stem, entering the image from the bottom right, are the only plants in focus. The background is made up of out of focus green and brown plants and leaves.
In this large scroll Gao depicts a duck swimming among aquatic plants in the shade of a cluster of lotus.
Gao Qipei was an accomplished painter with an unusual technique: instead of using a brush, he painted with his fingertips, nails, palms, and the backs of his hands. The lively execution, harmonious washes, and untrammeled, variegated effects—impossible to achieve with a brush—demonstrate Gao’s consummate skill in finger painting.
A bird (probably a sparrow) perches among peach blossoms, while singing to welcome the spring.
The tradition of bird and flower painting to which this image belongs dates back to the Tang period (618–907); in the Southern Sung (1127–1279) court it became a dominant mode as emperors themselves took up brushes to produce highly refined, delicate-colored paintings in an intimate format. Throughout their long history, these apparently straightforward and charming paintings conveyed symbolic or allegorical messages for the knowledgeable viewer.
This Early Ming painting executed in the in the style of the Southern Sung court celebrates the dynasty that restored Han Chinese rule after nearly a century of Mongol rule during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). The blossoming pear tree is a symbol of wise and benevolent administration, while the singing bird symbolizes the loyal scholar-official, overjoyed by the restoration of traditional Chinese government.
plate 8 from Woodland Portraits, signed recto, signed and titled mount verso
31.75 cm x 24.13 cm (12 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in.)
Taken from above, two Trillium blooms. The flower in the upper right is mostly white with strips of green in the center of its petals, while the one in the bottom left is mostly green with tinges of white on the outer edges of its petals.
A round ceramic box (that is, a bowl with a fitted lid), decorated with chrysanthemum scrolls drawn in blue outline against a blue background. The blue is cobalt pigment painted before the application of a clear glaze.
A small ceramic box decorated with chrysanthemum scrolls. Both the chrysanthemum motif and the technique of underglaze blue painting were adopted from Chinese prototypes, but the shape of this box, the tones of the cobalt blue, and the casual free-hand drawing are distintively Vietnamese.
Covered boxes were used as burial objects to accompany the dead. This practice for the care of deceased people in afterlife preceded the succession of foreign religious influence from Buddhism, Hinduism to Islam. The stoneware trade ceramics were also objects of status and wealth, for the local kilns only produced less durable and inexpensive earthernwares. The round shape with a handle, and some of the design motifs were adopted from stone and metal reliquaries and architectural elements came with Indian Hinduism and Buddhism.
The foreground is trees which frame, in the distance, a church-like structure. On the right are two tree trunks with little foliage. The left side from the bottom and halfway up is darkened area. There are 3 distinguishable trees near the center of the image that are full of foliage. Just to the right of those trees is a tree just as big as the church-like structure.
Landscape image with trees in foreground and a city in the distance through those trees.
A decapitated sculpture of a human head sits peacefully atop a stone pile. In the front of the photo stretches a stem bursting with floral blooms while flora and fauna seep out rom the cracks of the rocks in the foreground.
A group of travellers moves along a path at the foot of the mountains that grow upward, dominating the majority of the pictoral space. The common technique using small black dots occurs throughout the painting, accenting mountain edges, tree branches and roots. A building can be seen peeking out from behind the mountains in the lower portion of hte painting.
It is common in Chinese ink painting to create works in dialogue with past masters. The dark jagged edges of the pine trees and rounded looming mountaintops recall the style of master painter Guo Xi and his famous work Clearing Autumn Skies over Mountains and Valleys. Active in the Northern Song Period (960–1217), Guo Xi was passionate about the need for painters to be in communion with nature in order to truly represent space and changing phenomena.