New museum showcasing ancient artists

Thirty paintings and calligraphies by Ming Dynasty artist Dong Qichang along with the works of other Songjiang artists are on display at Dong Qichang Art Museum.
New museum showcasing ancient artists
Ti Gong

Dong Qichang Art Museum has opened in Zuibai Pond Garden. 

Thirty paintings and calligraphies by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) artist Dong Qichang (1555-1636) along with the works of other Songjiang artists are on display at Dong Qichang Art Museum at Zuibai Pond Park as part of an opening exhibition.

The museum opened to public on December 25. At the exhibition visitors will also see 20 paintings by contemporary Songjiang artist Cheng Shifa (1921-2007).

The overall items showcased amount to 90 pieces or sets, among which 80 are paintings or calligraphies.

The construction of the museum at Zuibai Pond Park, one of Shanghai’s Top 5 historic gardens, began in December 2015. It is said that Dong, who was also a man of letters, drew inspiration by drinking near the pond and writing poems.

The museum covers 1,500 square meters, of which 1,200 square meters are newly built. It consists of a major exhibition hall, an exchange hall and office areas.

“We reorganized the old residential house where Dong Qichang once lived in Songjiang and established an art museum to display his works. After we did those things, the young people of the next generation will inherit his contributions to calligraphy,” said Su Shishu, president of the Chinese Calligraphy Society who wrote the inscription for the museum’s plaque.

Dong, a Songjiang Huating native, enjoyed a smooth official career. At the same time, he was an accomplished calligrapher and painter.

His gift has been unfolding since he was a child. He started by copying the work of Mi Fu (1051-1107), a Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) calligrapher, at first and developed his own style later.

In his painting, he integrated traits of well-known artists in the Song and Yuan dynasties and painted vivid pictures from his mind.

In addition, Dong was good at appreciating calligraphies and paintings. His comments on a piece of work were highly valued by other collectors.

Gentle and amiable, Dong was familiar with Buddhist concepts and talked with refined language daily.

To come in tandem with the opening of the Dong Qichang Art Museum, another grand exhibition of the artist’s calligraphies and paintings is taking place at Shanghai Museum and will last till March 10. A total of 154 pieces or sets of works are being displayed. The majority of the works are from Shanghai Museum’s collection while the others are borrowed from 15 key institutes collecting Dong’s works such as the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States.

A number of lectures will be held during the exhibition to give a deep analysis of Dong’s artistic achievements and the late Ming Dynasty society where he lived. Many well-known experts studying the artist will be visiting Songjiang District.

Dong Qichang Art Museum

Address: 64 Renmin Rd S., Songjiang Old Town

How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Zuibai Pond Park Station and exit from Gate 3

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