VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Mountain Rain
P-0807
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Mountain Rain is evocative of monumental landscape paintings from the Northern Song dynasty. Its complex brushwork and ink wash present a rain-soaked vision of craggy mountain cliffs. Yet, this goes beyond mere replication of a typical Chinese landscape painting. Tan has ingeniously left the central triangular space unpainted, rendering the composition compellingly bizarre. Here, he has created an unusual spiral perspective that prompts the viewer to imagine himself, looking at a patch of sky framed by towering cliffs. This, in turn, reinforces the traditional Chinese viewpoint that man is but a small part of nature.

History of the Object
Building upon his foundation in the technically more demanding gongbi (highly detailed) style, Tan Swie Hian went on with typical verve, to become equally proficient in the more expressive xieyi (writing the idea) style. The latter, with its emphasis on brushwork and ink play, aims to capture the qi (spirit) of the subject, rather than a naturalistic representation. Hence, literati artists have always regarded it as the ideal that they should strive for.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Chinese ink and colour on paper 
Measurements
H: 178 x W: 96 cm 
Creator name
Tan Swie Hian 
Creator date
1943 
Where it was made
Singapore 
Geography
Singapore 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 1985 
Function
Art Work 
Acquisition
The painting was acquired from the artist, Tan Swie Hian, on 5th December 1985 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Singapore Art Museum 
Museum
Singapore Art Museum 
Credit line
 

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    AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century
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    AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century
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