AIC: calligraphy of Xugu
The story on Xugu (1823-1896) is that he was an army officer who became a Chan monk and made a living as a popular painter in Shanghai. Did the Taipei rebellion/disaster have any connection to this career change ? I don't know -- but thanks to this temporary exhibit of these items from the AIC basement, I do know that Xugu was a wonderful painter.
The use of light-versus-heavy brush strokes to create illusions of space in a human-size vertical, rectangular box --- well -- it's so delighful -- and just about impossible to reproduce on a computer monitor - even if I had a good camera -- and even if the illusion was not destroyed by glare from the protective glass.
But I could shoot the calligraphy -- and that is such as wonderful and ideosyncratic -- a world away from the rigid, boxed-in characters that are found so frequently.
Something about his painting -- and his calligraphy -- just makes me long for a night of food, music, and pleasure.
Maybe that was the purpose.