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Fine Works of the Ming and Qing Women Painters

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The Ming and Qing dynasties were the very period when ancient women paintings were developing at an unprecedented rate. The amount of women painters and that of their works as well as their artistic expression through painting languages all surpassed the performances of women painters in other dynasties. The works of women painters in this period were marked with extensive themes such as landscape, flowers and birds and figures, rich techniques as various as fine and freehand brushworks, dark color depiction and ink and wash as well as all kinds of art forms like album, scroll and fan. Although most of these women painters, due to the restrictions of cultural environment, life conditions and ethical and moral standards in that period, failed to form distinctive styles and their achievements in painting languages could not be compared with those of male painters, yet they naturally poured true feelings on their artistic creation so that their works, graceful but slightly melancholy, were characterized by subtle emotions peculiar to women. Their works opened the new field of revealing women’s emotion world, thus no doubt possessing unique significance in art history of China. The Palace Museum attaches great importance to the acquisition of ancient women painters’ works. Through channels like purchase and donation, the Museum collects over 250 works of the Ming and Qing women painters, among which many are representative works of key women painters. This exhibition displays 42 representative works of 27 women painters in the collection of the Palace Museum and gives a glimpse of the basic features of ancient women paintings in China. (Column Master:Li Shi)

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