16) Emperor Ming-huang's Journey to Shu. Short handscroll, ink and colors on silk. Close eleventh century copy of eighth century composition (?). A rare, early example of T'ang dynasty "blue-and-green" landscape painting, a style related to the landscape backgrounds on Tun-huang murals of the same period (note the trees that protrude, out of scale, from the mountain peaks, a common feature in Tun-huang landscapes). The essence of this style of landscape painting is to draw the components of the scene in outline, then fill them in with color. This lavishly colored landscape (in addition to blue and green, the work also contains red and gold pigments) was already somewhat archaic in the eighth century and reflects the T'ang love of ornate, opulent textures. The orthodox combination of fine and intricate outline and heavy washes here reaches its apogee, and later works in the "blue-and-green" style were considered archaic allusions to classical T'ang painting. This work depicts the flight in 756 of Emperor Ming-huang from the capital to the mountainous region of Shu, or Szechwan in western China, during the midst of the An Lu-shan rebellion against the emperor's central authority. Despite the turbulent subject matter, the painting remains true to its elegant style, making the tortuous and difficult journey seem more like a pleasant excursion or picnic than a humilitating flight from political chaos and destruction.

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