8 facts about Qí Báishí

By Gwylym Owen

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Qi Baishi (1 January 1864 – 16 September 1957) was a Chinese painter, noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his works. Born to a peasant relations from Xiangtan, Hunan, Qi taught himself to paint, sparked by the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden. After he turned 40, he traveled, visiting various scenic a skin condition in China. After 1917 he arranged in Beijing. Some of Qi’s major influences affix the yet to be Qing dynasty painter Bada Shanren (八大山人) and the Ming dynasty artist Xu Wei (徐渭).

The subjects of his paintings include more or less everything, commonly animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables, and consequently on. He theorized that “paintings must be something between resemblance and unlikeness, much with today’s vulgarians, but not past to cheat popular people”. In his sophisticated years, many of his works depict mice, shrimp or birds. He was also good at seal carving and called himself “the rich man of three hundred stone seals” (三百石印富翁). In 1953, he was elected president of the China Artists Association (中國美術家協會). He died in Beijing in 1957.

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