Jietai Temple

Lu Yanshao Chinese

Not on view

Trained in traditional-style landscape painting, Lu Yanshao found no place for his elitist art after the Communist Liberation in 1949 and was forced to work in a government shop in Shanghai that made cartoons and comic strips. Labeled a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, Lu was denied the right to paint from 1968 to 1978.

This painting was done the year that the charges against Lu were revoked. Recording the pleasures of travel, it celebrates the strangely contorted ever-greens growing around two of the scenic temples near Beijing. The animated trees, unrestrained by the walled courtyard, reach beyond the confines of the temple precinct to interact with their counter-parts in the landscape beyond. The artist's inscription reads:

In the spring of 1978, I was in the capital and traveled to the temples Tanzhe and Jietai. Ancient pines and junipers rose in a strange and archaic manner, something I had never seen before. After I returned to the south, comrade Chen Yi asked about the sights in the capital, so I painted this to win his smile.

(Wen Fong, trans., Between Two Cultures: Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001], p. 254)

Jietai Temple, Lu Yanshao (Chinese, 1909–1993), Handscroll; ink and color on paper, China

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