Pan Gongkai, son of the master painter Pan Tianshou. Pan Gongkai took his first steps into the art world through Western painting techniques as a departure from his father's teachings. Drawing from the strengths of Chinese literati, he has always held fast to distinct Chinese concepts of art. Featuring concision and profundity, his works descend from a line of traditional Chinese ink paintings. Emptiness and inconstancy are implied by the plantain which is a popular symbol representing the leisurely life of the scholar-official; it is a trope in Chinese painting as commonly seen as the chrysanthemum. Pan's plantain and rocks is quintessentially derived from the paintings of Li Kuchan. Pan's lines demonstrate a confident grace and self-certain vigour, while the refined brushwork speaks to the naivety and simplicity of the painting. This piece, in contrast to the finely brushed outlines of Chinese bird-and-flower paintings, is drawn with medium brush strokes which render the painting with a freehand and forceful style. This painting celebrates the otherworldly chrysanthemum which, in the poem of Zheng Sixiao, a minister left behind after the fall of the Southern Song Dynasty, represents the lofty ideal of the rejection of a vulgar world: 'Would that I die on the end of this fragrant branch, Never to be blown to the ground by the Northern wind'. Pan makes full use of the potential energy within the brush, contrasting pale colours with light ink and layering the colours to tame the lan of the pointed brush. Influenced by line drawing in the Western mode, he captures the essential spirit of objects by meticulously observing their position before making a deliberate break from the precision of realism by using freehand brushwork to depict their overall essence. Steadfast in his pursuit of the divergence between Chinese flower-and-bird painting and Western art, his style inherits techniques from predecessors such as Wu Changshuo, Zhu Da, and Pan Tianshou. Through a fusion of elements from the East and West, Pan Gongkai applies his unique aesthetic sense and broad means of expression to further enrich contemporary Chinese painting.