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Yangzhou - City of culture

Having spent three weeks selecting pieces for shipment, labelling, wrapping and packing a container, Weilian made a long-awaited trip to Yangzhou, home of the Eight Eccentric artists, to explore their rich culture and history.  Below is a taste of Yangzhou with more to come!

Yangzhou, located north-west of Shanghai, is a tranquil and friendly city set apart from the glamour and bustle of the more familiar destinations of Beijing and Shanghai.

 

ArtLuo Pin painting

Since the Tang dynasty (618C.E. – 907C.E.) Yangzhou has been one of China’s wealthiest cities renowned for its great merchant families, poets, artists, and scholars. A leading artistic movement in the late eighteenth century was that of the Eight Eccentrics - eight masters noted for rejecting orthodox ideas about painting in favour of a style deemed expressive and individualist. Their art delivers a spirit of vigour and simplicity.

Shown here is a landscape painting by Luo Pin (1733C.E.-1799C.E.). This deftly executed work evokes an ethereal lightness similar to that of nineteenth century western impressionist painters. Such an abstract approach is very different to the traditional detailed landscapes of earlier artists in China. The Eight Eccentrics shared this bold, and at the time, quirky approach.

 

 

 

Yangzhou book

Printing

Yangzhou is the Chinese publishing capital for traditional block and movable type printing. This volume of paintings by the Eight Eccentrics is block-printed on rice paper with hand-sewn binding by the Guangling Publishing House in Yangzhou. It gives a textured shading effect authentic to the original ink and watercolour painting.

 

 

Gardens

As you walk around it becomes obvious that even in today’s Yangzhou the Eight Eccentrics’ influence is profound. People not only still passionately enjoy their art, their spirit can also be seen in the gracefulness of their housing, gardens and food.

Views of Ge family garden


Yangzhou food

Cuisine

Yangzhou cuisine is famed for its freshness and delicate natural flavor. This finely chopped bean curd in chicken broth delivers a silky texture, and like a fine wine, first the aroma then the taste, make an exquisite flavour.