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Taihu Rock from Jiemei Studio

Liu Dan

Asian Art

This monumental painting depicts a rock of a type revered in Daoist philosophy as symbolic of utopian paradises where immortals gathered. The most prized of these limestone rocks were found in the Taihu Lake area of Jiangsu province, with craggy forms that naturally resulted from erosion by water and acidic soil. Such rocks were also found in the gardens or in miniature scale on the desks of Confucian scholars, who installed them as focal points for meditation. Liu Dan has described such rocks as the “stem cells or the DNA” in the structure of Chinese landscape painting; they create the basic building block for depicting sacred mountains and embodying the spirit and life force (qi) within them. Liu writes, “The hallucinogenic effect of rocks, which can transform one’s sense of time and space, has enabled Chinese literati to create spiritual and physical spaces that correspond with their aspired values.” This painting was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum in 2005, when the artist was living in New York City.
MEDIUM Ink on paper
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 2006
    PERIOD Contemporary
    DIMENSIONS image: 102 3/8 × 60 1/8 in. (260 × 152.7 cm) sheet: 110 × 67 3/4 in. (279.4 × 172.1 cm) frame: 113 1/2 × 71 × 2 1/4 in. (288.3 × 180.3 × 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE [Signed] "Jiemeitang cang Taihu shi Liu Dan hua yu Beijing"; [Seal] Liu Dan zhi yin (square, intaglio).
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Asian Art Council, 2005 China Trip Participants, in honor of Amy G. Poster, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator and Chair, Asian Art
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Depiction of a "Taihu Rock", a type of eccentric natural rock collected by the literati of China as a symbol of the microcosm of the universe and to inspire their poetry, philosophical thought and landscape and formal rock paintings.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Liu Dan (Chinese, born 1953). Taihu Rock from Jiemei Studio, 2006. Ink on paper, image: 102 3/8 × 60 1/8 in. (260 × 152.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council, 2005 China Trip Participants, in honor of Amy G. Poster, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator and Chair, Asian Art, 2006.19 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.19_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 2006.19_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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