New Classic of Mountains and Seas I
(Chinese, born 1972)
Portfolio of twelve woodblock prints; ink on paper
Sheet (each): 19 3/4 × 16 1/2 in. (50.2 × 41.9 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2013
Not on view
Inspired by Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shanhaijing), an ancient encyclopedic cosmography that described a myriad of strange or imaginary creatures, Qiu began to develop his New Classic bestiary around 2004 in a series of designs that simulate a traditional woodblock-printed text with accompanying illustrations. Presenting modern machines and weapons as fantastic beasts, each image bears a title with the creature’s name—a thinly veiled phonetic equivalent of its name in English—and an enumeration of its salient characteristics. Qiu’s designs also appeared in his 2006 video of the same title.