烟壶随笔 | Snuff Bottle Blog


Discussing Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) Inner Painted Snuff Bottles

Discussing Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) Inner Painted Snuff Bottles

Discussing Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) Inner Painted Snuff Bottles

 

The first time I saw Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) Inner Painted Snuff Bottles was in a Beijing art shop many years ago. The shop was filled with inner painted snuff bottles of all kind and from many different artists; landscape, portrait, still life, birds and insect etc. I was overwhelmed by the number of bottles in the shop and took a deep breath before proceeding to admire the art pieces. Suddenly, a group of bottles caught my eyes. It was a set of 4 bottles painted by Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) depicting the ancient beauties; each of the bottle was beautifully drawn and capture the different expressions and characteristics of the individual beauties. I was intuitively drawn to this set of bottle and spend all my time admiring this particular set of bottles.

The first time I met Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) face to face was in spring 2009. His Mongolian hospitality and his love, knowledge and pride towards the Chinese culture was most impressive. Over the years, Master Zhang has evolved and become a mature artist. I would like to share my observations and a few key notes about his passion and his art.

 

  • Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) personality is similar to his art pieces. A well-mannered and educated gentleman with an uncompromising pride to his art work. When you come to know Master Zhang personally, you will enjoy his warm hospitality like all Mongolian. At the same time, you will be very amazed by his attention to details, both in his art work and how he conducted himself as a person.

 

  • Less is more! This Chinese artistic concept of “Liu Bai” (留白) or literally translated as “Leave it White”, is the skill of intentionally leaving empty or unpainted spaces in Chinese painting. This unpainted space invites the audiences to start imaging, reflecting and probably fill up that space with his or her own imagination. Together with calligraphy written on the painting, they form a kind of interactive art pieces which allows the audience and the artist to communicate via the art piece. This is probably the most different artistic concept when you compared Chinese painting with Western art pieces. Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) art pieces have fully express this element within a small bottle. Less is in fact MORE!

 

  • It’s not difficult to notice that Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) painting style is different compared to many other artists. His ability to see things in a different perspective, his choice of contrasting colors and the way he breaks the traditional rules of painting, sets himself up as a unique artist. Very often, with just one look, one can identified his art pieces apart from all other artists.

 

  • Good painting technique is the cornerstone of a good inner painted art pieces. However, by itself, good painting technique will fall short of expressing the spiritual influences that a good art piece should give to its audience. To be able to put a soul into a painting, the artist must be able to express his personal attitude and feeling into his painting. That requires education and life experiences. Currently, we can classify all inside painted bottles broadly into three categories; those painting that accurately copy a picture or portrait onto the bottle, just like a photograph. Those painting that try to portray a story, like the work of photo journalist. The last type are pieces that expresses the artist inner feeling and the artist uses his work to communicate and influence the audience; very similar to abstract painting or abstract photography. Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) works encompasses all the three categories. His works not only convey the stories and beauty of his subject but encourage the audience to go one step further to imaging, reflect and discover something for him or herself.

 

A piece of successful art is a reflection of the artist’s innovative spirit, intellectual capacity, core values and his passion and expression towards life. Master Zhang Da Yong (张大勇) work certainly exhibits all of these elements.

 

Bottle 1

A desert landscape with a camel caravan. This bottle uses multi-layer of splash ink to draw out the fluid and moving sand in the vast and endless Gobi desert. The camel caravan at the background added to the loneliness of the travelers moving across this harsh and unpredictable environment.

 

Bottle 2

A portrait of Ba Da Shan Ren (八大山人), who is the decedent of the overthrown Ming Empire. The portrait depict Ba Da living in seclusion among the mountain with a deep feeling of sorrow and sadness for the fall of his country to the Qing Emperor. Master Zhang cleverly painted the portrait back facing the waterfall and in a subtle way, showed Ba Da as a proud and uncompromising person.

 

Bottle 3

The bottle depicted the mysterious love affair between the Cao Zhi (曹植), the forth son of Cao Cao (曹操), and his elder brother’s wife Zhen Shi (甄氏). Master Zhang used the falling autumn leaves, a vast and silent sea between the lovers to express how much they missed each other and how impossible for them to be together. The bottle expresses the mood of Cao Zhi; his sadness and loneliness, with the thought of his lover lingering on his mind.

by Peng JianDe (彭健德)

 

 

Translated from The Art of Inside Painting 2014 First Publication

 

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