28 May 2010
QI BAISHI (1863-1957)
Lotus and Fish
Scroll,mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
107 x 33.8 cm. (42 1/8 x 13¼ in.)
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
As Qi Baishi's family grew in number, in 1900 they moved to a new residence not far from his original home. Lotus flowers blossomed in ponds that lay by the road between the homes, and Qi planted more of the same plant at the entrance of his house. They slowly became not only a source of admiration but also one of inspiration for painting.
Lotus were not only admired for their beauty but were also revered in Buddhism as a symbol of purity. The flower also represented the ideals of the upright gentleman. The lotus depicted here shows depth and dimensionality that are further highlighted by the dark leaves that surround them. Qi wielded the brush so that one sees great depth and power in the large lotus leaf, while the lotus flower seems restrained. The sturdy stalks complement the two fish in their leisurely swim, culminating in a harmonious depiction of our natural world.
There is also a painting Plum Blossoms and Magpie by Qi Baishi dedicated to Yiru in Mr. Low Chuck-tiew's Xubaizhai collection. It is published in Han Mo 14 - Special Study on Qi Baishi, Han Mo Xuan Publishing Co., Ltd, Hong Kong, 1991, p.39.
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