Painting of Ink Dragon

Dragon is the symbol of Chinese nation. However, in real life, there is no dragon. It is recorded in “Not to Erya”   that “Generally, the principle of three stops and nine similarities is applied in painting dragons.” The so-called "three stops" means the whole dragon will be twisted into three parts, namely dragon head, dragon body and dragon tail, while " nine similarities " means that dragon head is like camel's, its horns are like deer's, eyes are like rabbit's, ears are like cattle's, neck is like snake's, abdomen is like clam's, scales are like carp's, claws are like eagle's and palms are like tiger's. Chen Rong, a painter in the Southern Song Dynasty. The painter of “Painting of Ink Dragon” integrated various descriptions about dragons and created the dragon in the painting. This painting was called the classic work of dragon paintings in ancient China.


Experts consider that most of the dragons painted by Chen Rong have a common feature that is they are walking towards northwest. This possibly because that the territory of Song Dynasty occupied by Jin Dynasty were to the northwest of Lin'an, the capital of Southern Dynasty. The dragons painted by Chen Rong reminded people of the turbulent period of Southern Song Dynasty.

After Yuan Dynast, the image of dragon was more strictly controlled by government. Common people were not allowed to draw dragons. In the Ming and Qing Dynasty, there were fewer famous dragon painters. Thus the “Painting of Ink Dragon” of Chen Rong seemed to be more precious.

A small number of works of Chen Rong were handed down to today. Most of them ran off to overseas, and are respectively stored in Tokugawa Art Museum of Japan, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art of the US, Princeton University Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The “Painting of Ink Dragon” stored in Guangdong Museum can be regarded as the outstanding work of ancient dragon paintings in China. It is highly-valued in both history and art. 

 

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