Rabbits on the Rise—Permanent Collection of Hong-Gah Museum 2023 Spring

This collection exhibition displays embroidery works filled with the festival vibe of the new year. The first piece on display is Two Rabbits under the Chinese Phoenix Tree by the court painter of the Qing Dynasty, LENG Mei. Based on the sweet osmanthus and chrysanthemum in the background, we can presume that it is autumn. Under the Chinese Phoenix Tree, which symbolizes “a married couple deeply in love,” two snow-white rabbits raise their heads and look at each other. Next is Cypress, Persimmon, and Ruyi painted by ZHU Jianshen, Chenghua Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. There is the Heavenly Master, ZHONG Kui, who specializes in protecting residences and banishing demons, holding a Ruyi in the image, accompanied by a goblin holding persimmons and cypress branches high in his hands. The Cypress, Persimmon, and Ruyi together are homonyms for “best wishes” in Chinese, rich in the connotation of auspicious blessings. The embroidery screen on display is Well-Rounded painted also by Zhu Jianshen. It appears to be a plump Maitreya at first sight. If you look closely, however, you will find that the man is composed by three people in the left, center and right. Employing the technique of optical illusion, Zhu fused Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism as one with his ingenious touch. Four-panel Screen of Figures by CHI Paishi depicts children playing games, including “Kiting,” “Coin Playing,” “Shuttlecocking,” and “Playing with a Ball.” The pictures are full of childlike amusement, presenting vibrant energy. Finally, the scroll Poems of Monk Hanshan and Recluse Pan, originally written by HUANG Tingjian with powerful strokes, serves as the last course of the feast. Although it is an embroidery piece, the work represents the refinement of calligraphy and bestows a heartily pleasure upon its viewers.
Dates: 2023.02.11 – 04.09