ART | Chinese calligraphy masterpieces at MAM


An exhibition featuring seals, calligraphy and paintings of two late Qing seal carving luminaries opens today at the Macau Museum of Art (MAM), called The Tension of Talent – Calligraphy, Painting and Seal Exhibition by Wu Rangzhi and Zhao Zhiqian.
MAM’s annual special exhibition of Chinese calligraphy, paintings and artifacts showcases over 200 sets of works, including representative calligraphy, paintings and seals by Wu Rangzhi and Zhao Zhiqian, and also masterpieces by the two artists’ teachers, friends, mentors and followers. Wu and Zhao were both late Qing seal carving masters, who also excelled in calligraphy and painting. Their artistic achievements were profoundly influential, particularly on the development of modern seal carving.
The event is the 12th edition of MAM’s Ming and Qing calligraphy and painting exhibition series launched in 2004, and also one of MAM’s highlights of the year.
Wu Rangzhi (1799-1870) was a master seal carver, also adept at the four major styles of calligraphy and freehand flower painting. In 1853, in order to escape the Taiping Rebellion, he fled to Taizhou, where he made a living from seal carving, calligraphy and painting until his death. The calligrapher studied seal and clerical script under Master Deng Shiru, while emulating Bao Shichen’s running and regular script style. He produced thousands of seal carvings in his lifetime, mostly without side inscriptions. His works include Wu Rangzhi’s Self-
Criticism and Seal Impressions.
Zhao Zhiqian (1829-
1884) started by emulating the Zhe School of seal carving, but later switched to the Wan School. While maintaining a distinct style, he studied traditional scripts but also explored other potential ones that could be used in carving, thus becoming a pioneer in the field. In calligraphy, Zhao emulated the style of Yan Zhenqing in his early years, later adopting the style of steel inscriptions from the Six Dynasties to form his own signature style, which proved very popular. He was an expert in flower painting, portraits and landscapes, greatly inspiring and influencing later artists like Ren Yi and Wu Changshuo, and has been hailed the trailblazer of the Shanghai School of Painting (Haipai).
To facilitate a profound discussion of the two late Qing virtuosos’ works, MAM will organize a 3-day symposium for experts and scholars, held from October 27 to 29 at the Auditorium of the Macau Polytechnic Institute.
MAM will also host the 2015 calligraphy and painting exchange program for Tertiary Schools. Arts students from a total of 12 tertiary schools from China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan will deliver their presentations on the afternoons of October 28 and 29.
MAM will also set up themed outdoor installations at Tap Seac Square and in front of St. Dominic’s Church. The exhibition will run until November 15.

Categories Macau