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Online exhibition gathers painterly images of ancient Chinese women

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: April 7, 2021 L M S

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A fan painting by Shen E, a Qing Dynasty woman painter. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhejiang Provincial Museum has mounted an online exhibition, Li Ren Xing, to examine women as they are depicted in classical Chinese paintings. It opened on March 8, International Women's Day, and runs until March 3, 2024.

The exhibition teams up some 32 museums who have shared digital images of more than 1,000 ancient paintings in their extensive collection. And the database will expand over time to include more pictures.

The exhibition title is drawn from an eponymous poem by Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Du Fu. It offers an encyclopedic view of images of women in ancient Chinese art. And it is an investigation of the daily lives and emotions of women throughout the centuries, as well as the roles they assumed.

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A section of Scroll of Flowers and Butterflies by Wen Chu. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The exhibition shows the images of women portrayed by men. Also, it has a section dedicated to works by talented female artists.

Women from well-connected families or of aristocracy had much leisure time. Some aspired to live a more fulfilling life, other than raising children and doing needlework.

Painting, practicing calligraphy, composing poems and other cultural activities greatly enriched their lives and also showcased their talents and allowed them to express themselves.

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