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Qian Xuan



Qian Xuan was a Song loyalist, master of calligraphy, and one of the most famed painters of the 13th century. Qian Xuan was born in 1235 and attempted a career as a scholar-official in the Southern Song dynasty, yet achieved little success. The Yuan dynasty, founded by the Mongol empire, took over South China in 1276, causing Qian Xuan to decide to live as a yimin, a “leftover subject” of the Song dynasty. He self-exiled to continue to dedicate himself to the Song, and he devoted his life to his painting from then until his death in 1305. Beyond being a master calligrapher, Qian Xuan used a “blue and green” style in his paintings, a choice intended to evoke antiquity and distance the works from realism. He often drew his compositions from poetry and Daoism, which Qian Xuan practiced. He took inspiration from the natural world. His artworks often were dreamlike, unmoored from the political troubles of the time, and nostalgic for ancient times as well as the former Song dynasty.

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