Mountains and Streams

Chinese Paintings from the NGV Collection

This exhibition draws upon material from the National Gallery of Victoria’s important collection of Asian art. It includes objects from the 14th to the 21st century such as landscapes or 'mountains and streams' depicted in paintings on scrolls and on porcelains, Daoist mountains carved in jade, cosmic bronze mountains as well as black-and-white photographs of sacred mountains in China.

Art Exhibition previously on at Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia.
From Thursday 29 November 2007 to Sunday 10 February 2008

Pines and cranes dancing in the snow, dance in motion  (detail)  image

Published by Art Gallery of New South Wales on Tuesday 05 February 2008.
Contact the publisher.

China’s magnificent scenery of mountains and streams has inspired Chinese scholars, poets and painters for thousands of years.

This exhibition will look at the period from the 14th century until the present day and will examine the worship of mountains as sacred places in China, an idea that originated in pre-historic times. Mountains were believed to be the pillars of the Universe, connecting heaven and earth; streams were considered to be the arteries of these mountains.

This is a special opportunity to see the historical and spiritual importance that landscape painting has always represented for Chinese artists.

The practice of seeking out places of scenic beauty first became popular with Daoist poets and painters. Landscape was a fundamental aspect of Chinese painting, serving as a substitute for nature, as most Chinese artists during this period painted from memory and experiences, rather than nature itself.

In times of political turmoil, mountains and streams became a spiritual refuge where scholars could find solace.

The exhibition will include more than 40 works, including paintings, objects, works on paper and works on silk.