Part of A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the lone surviving painting by Song Dynasty artist Wang Ximeng, is among dozens of works to be showcased at the upcoming grand exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History at the Palace Museum in Beijing.
A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng is to be exhibited at the Palace Museum.
An 18-year-old genius left the world with a work that has had resonance for the past nine centuries. Indisputably, A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng, is one of the most important in China's fine art history.
The work, together with 85 others, is to be exhibited in Beijing.
The exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History will open at the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, on Sept 15.
"The blue-green paintings have relatively thick mineral pigments, and are thus difficult to preserve," says Palace Museum researcher Wang Zhongxu, curator of the exhibition.
"It is extremely rare to see a 900-year-old painting intact."
He says the 11-meter-long scroll painting is a record of people's lives and natural scenery at that time, and mixes realism with creative imagination.
In the painting you have mountains, rivers, villages, ports, temples and pavilions, he adds.
"We can also see all kinds of human activities," he says.
"For example, some people are sightseeing, some are in caravans and others are seen living as hermits."
Wang Zhongxu says the details create a grand aura.
"Song Dynasty paintings are renowned for their delicate details," he says. "And this work is an outstanding representative. It's the pinnacle of blue-and-green painting, not only for its technique but also its theme."<
Staff members from the Palace Museum arrange the Song Dynasty masterpiece for the exhibition.
For the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, a huge digital version of this painting was projected onto the center of the stadium.
The painter, Wang Ximeng, who was born in 1096, was part of the imperial painting academy of the Song Dynasty. He was tutored by Emperor Huizong, a fine art guru, and handed in this painting at the age of 18.
As for his other achievements, the details are vague. But it is known that he died in his 20s.
The painting was acquired by the Forbidden City during the reign of Qianlong (1735-96).
Meanwhile, for the two displays of the painting in 2009 and 2013, the work was not fully exhibited due to space constraints.
A special exhibition case has been made this time to display it in full, along with the critics' postscript comments.