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Fantastic Mountains. 12 March until 9 May, 2004

Fantastic Mountains reveals the rich imaginations and sensitivities of the Chinese landscape painters in a variety of styles. All the paintings, most of which have not been seen outside China, are from outstanding collection of the Shanghai Museum, one of the most important museums in China.

Included in the exhibition are exquisite examples of hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, album leaves and fan paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties (14th - 19th centuries). 

Shitao, (1642 - 1718)  Pine trees on green cliffs

"The mountains of Chinese landscape painting are fantastic - they are fantasies of the mind and the imagination which resound with praise for the power and regenerative beauty of nature. They represent and explore in the unique vision the Chinese artist that constant dialogue between man and nature, which has been for centuries at the very heart of Chinese philosophical attitude."  Edmund Capon, Director, The Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The worship of great mountains as the embodiment of mysterious power was one of the major elements of Chinese religion, and began from a very early time. In the cosmology of the early period first century CE, a mountain was an intermediary realm through which man could reach heaven. People who practised religious Daoism associated the great mountains with the theological concept of the sacred realms where immortals and divine creatures resided. Throughout China's history this long-standing conceptual link between mountains, spiritual power, auspicious animals and the quest for personal immortality has become an endless source of inspiration for artists.

Liu Yang, Curator of Chinese Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales says:
"Through these fine works of art from the Ming and Qing periods, we enter a world where we are encouraged to closely appreciate fantastic images of nature, letting our spirits roam through a land of eternal peace far from the madding crowd, and discover that each work is in fact a mirror reflecting the Chinese individual response to the mysterious yet colourful phenomena of nature, to the sensual beauty and to the symbolism of culture and religions."


Friday 12 & Saturday 13 March 2004
9.30am to 4.30pm
International scholars and curators discuss the role and meaning of mountains in Chinese religious belief and artistic expression. Speakers include Professor Robert Harrist, Columbia University and Dr Stephen Little, Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Bookings telephone (02) 225 1878 or book online.

Curator's Talk
Wednesday 17 March 2004
Dr Liu Yang, Curator of Chinese Art

Guided Tours
Daily 12 noon
Asian collection tour, including Fantastic Mountains exhibition

Wednesday 2.30pm & 7.15pm
Sundays 2.30pm
Feature films by Chinese fourth and fifth generation filmmakers.
7, 11 April Old Well 1986 Dir. Wu Tianming 124 min. Rated PG
14, 18 April The Blue Kite 1993 Dir. Tian Zhuangzhuang 139 min. Rated PG
21, 25 April Red Sorghum 1987 Dir. Zhang Yimou 90min. Rated M
28 April, 2 May Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000 Dir. Ang Lee 120 min. Rated M
5, 9 May Ermo 1994 Dir. Zhou Xiaowen 93 min. Rated M
12, 16 May 1991 Raise the Red Lantern 1991 Dir. Zhang Yimou 124 min. Rated M
19, 23 May Hibiscus Town 1986 Dir. Xie Jin 131 min. Rated PG
26, 30 May Yellow Earth 1984 Dir. Chen Kaige 90 min. Rated G


Sino Gold
Principal Sponsor
Supporting Sponsor
On view:Friday 12 March to Sunday 9 May 2004
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Telephone:Telephone (02) 9225 1744
or recorded information (02) 9225 1790
National Toll Free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am to 5pm, 7 days a week
Art After Hours Wednesday nights until 9pm
Admission:Free of Charge
Media Information and Interviews:Claire Martin, Press Office
Telephone 61 2 9225 1734 or 0414 437 588
Images available on request

IMAGE CREDIT: Shitao (1642-1718), Pine trees on green cliffs, hanging scroll, 198 x 89.6cm