Settling Accounts with a Traitor

Attributed to Shi Lu Chinese

Not on view

The Modern Woodcut Movement is an important but understudied chapter in the history of twentieth-century Chinese art. The movement was initiated by Lu Xun (1881–1936), the father of modern Chinese literature and an incisive cultural critic, who saw woodcut as the ideal medium for rousing what he saw as a complacent China from its slumber to face up to the challenges of the modern world. Easily produced from inexpensive materials and with relatively limited training, woodcut was seen as a counterpoint to the precious erudition of literati landscape painting. The medium was used extensively during the 1930s and ‘40s—by both Communist and Nationalist leaders—to disseminate political messages in a graphically impactful, legible form. Some of the most iconic vignettes from the War of Resistance (against Japan, 1937–45) and the Chinese Civil War (1945–49) were produced in this medium. The current set of prints were produced in the Communist milieu—at Yan’an, the mountain stronghold in northern Shaanxi Province that served as the capital of the Communist government during the 1940s.

Settling Accounts with a Traitor, Attributed to Shi Lu (Chinese, 1919–1982), Woodcut print, ink on paper, China

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