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Asian art

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Calligraphy in cursive script



Shen Peng


1931 -


Shen Peng (1931 - ), a native of Jiangsu, China, is a well-established critic and calligrapher, not only on the local scene but internationally. He was the Deputy Chief Editor of a prestigious publishing house, the People's Fine Arts Press, and the Vice-President of China's National Association for Calligraphers. He is considered one of the best contemporary calligraphers.

In this hanging scroll, Shen Peng has written a poem by the Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772 - 846) in cursive script. In a spontaneous manner, he produces a kind of visual continuity from top to bottom. Rather than focussing on the structure of the characters, he has used a high degree of distortion and exaggeration as a form of emotional expression.

Bai Juyi, a poet and a government official, was one of the greatest poets of the Tang dynasty. During his long official career, he held the post of the Palace Librarian and several provincial governorships. For some years, as governor of Zhejiang province, he stayed in Hangzhou and led the reconstruction work of the famous West Lake located right at the heart of the city.' He was so impressed by the beautiful surroundings of the Jiangnan area (present-day Zhejiang and the south of Jiangsu province) that he often used his wonderful experience of Hangzhou as inspiration to compose poems. This is one of a set of two poems under the title 'Yi jiangnan' or 'In Memory of Jiangnan' that he composed in praise of the beauty of Hangzhou. It reads:

'How wonderful Jiangnan is!
Long ago, I used to be very familiar with the landscape.
At sunrise, blossoms by the river were as red as fire,
In spring, the river’s green turned into deep blue.
How could I resist remembering Jiangnan?'

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, June 2003.


Place where the work was made

Jiangsu Province China



Media category


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink on paper


123.7 x 45.7 cm


Gift of Edmund Capon AM, OBE 2003


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Shen Peng

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Jiangsu Province