Beyond Brushwork: Symbolism in Chinese Painting

April 29, 2006 – November 26, 2006

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC

Gallery 13 Floor Plan

Traditional scholarship on Chinese painting focused mainly on brushwork. This exhibition takes a look at the contemporary approach of examining the objects within Chinese paintings for their symbolic meanings, such as longevity and good fortune, and for their social and political commentary. Through approximately 34 works by master and anonymous painters, the exhibition explores the context of many familiar yet unappreciated motifs in Chinese paintings, how homophones in the Chinese language are used to create rebuses (visual puns), and how symbolism is a language that evolves among artists and their patrons over time.