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Lotus Blossom

Accession Number
1991/1.67

Title
Lotus Blossom

Artist(s)
Zhang Daqian (Chang Ta-ch'ien)

Object Creation Date
circa 1965-1975

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

Dimensions
56 3/8 in x 25 13/16 in (143.19 cm x 65.56 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Richard and Vee Ling Edwards In Memory of Li Ch'i, Scholar, Poet, Friend

Label copy
In China, the lotus has been a symbol of well-being since ancient times. The pod, abundant with seeds, came to be associated with the desire for many offspring. In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of the intrinsic purity of the “Buddha-nature” lying within all living beings, because it emerges as a pure white blossom from the muck of a swamp. A Confucian layer of meaning likens the lotus blossom to the pure and lofty character of a gentleman who is above worldly concerns.
For Zhang Daqian (also known as Zhang Yuan / Chang Yüan), the artist of this scroll, painting lotuses seems to have offered an ideal opportunity for a tour-de-force formal exercise in blue, gray and black ink washes. Zhang Daqian was one of the most famous, versatile, and prolific artists of twentieth-century China.
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "Flora and Fauna in Chinese Art," April 6, 2002 - December 1, 2002.
(Chinese Gallery Rotation, Spring 2009)

Subject matter
In China, the lotus has been a symbol of well-being since ancient times. The pod, abundant with seeds, came to be associated with the desire for many offspring. In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of the intrinsic purity of the “Buddha-nature” lying within all living beings, because it emerges as a pure white blossom from the muck of a swamp. A Confucian layer of meaning likens the lotus blossom to the pure and lofty character of a gentleman who is above worldly concerns.
Perhaps the lotus rising out of muddy waters are alluding to the elusive nature of wisdom or purity. Zhang Daqian was one of the most famous, versatile, and prolific artists of twentieth-century China.

Physical Description
Blue, gray and black ink washes are used to depict lotus blossoms rising out of and partially hidden by plants and muddy waters. A poem is written above, alluding to the lotus blossoms below.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
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Keywords
calligraphy (process)
ink
lotus (motif)
mud
swamps
water (inorganic material)

6 Related Resources

Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Landscape and Nature, Comparative and Historical
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Docent Materials for Proof: The Ryoichi Excavations Photography Exhibition
(Part of: Docent Information From Training Continuing Education Sessions)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted