Guo Dawei Chinese

Not on view

Guo Dawei dedicated this painting to Lin Yutang and his wife. It chronicles the life cycle of the lotus. At the center is a flower in full bloom. To the right, two buds have just emerged, while a seed pod dips down between two not yet unfurled leaves. To the left, a pale leaf, tattered and drooping, sets off bare or broken stems. Although Guo painted lotus often, compositions with a distinct temporal dimension like this one are rare.

The distinctive pink color of the lotus—namely, "Western red" in Chinese—was first imported into China from Mexico in the early twentieth century and became widely used in traditional painting. The sinuous lotus stems cutting across the picture surface are calligraphic lines that create a shallow space through overlapping and contrasting tonality. This work demonstrates Guo's idea that the "space-consciousness" in Chinese painting, unlike that in western art, is "calligraphically created."

Lotus, Guo Dawei (Chinese, 1919–2003), Horizontal panel; ink and color on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.