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Contemporary art

Asian art

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The Eight Immortals



Ding Yanyong


1902 - 1978


'Born in Guangdong province, Ding studied Western art at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, where he was influenced by the colourful style of the Fauves, and Matisse in particular. In 1925 he returned to China, where he played a significant role in rejuvenating traditional styles with the colour and spontaneity of contemporary Western art. In 1949 he moved to Hong Kong and founded the Fine Arts Department of the Arts College in 1957. This lively scroll depicting the Eight Daoist Immortals is typical of Ding's individual and eccentric idiom, with its caricature figurative style, effervescent colours and the so-called quality of 'zhuo' or 'deliberate clumsiness'. The inscription describes the eight Immortals and reads: 'Zhang Guolao was riding backwards on his mule; Lan Caihe had a childish look; Lu Dongbin learnt the secret of Daoism; the great Han dynasty general Zhongli Quan had an erudite expression; Cao Guoqiu was a relative of the Imperial family; Li Tieguai was grotesque and crippled; Han Xiangzi's flute music resounded among the clouds; He Xiangu was a fair lady. Painted by Ding Yangyong in the 'wuwu' year [1978].'

‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.174.
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales


Place where the work was made

Guangdong Province China



Media category


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper


141.5 x 69.6 cm image; 211.3 x 84.4 x 93.9 cm

Signature & date

Signed u.l., in Chinese, inscribed in black ink "…Ding Yangyong in 1978"
Signed c.l., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Niu Jun [artist's seal]"
Signed c.l., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Ding Hong [artist's seal]"


Purchased 2000


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ding Yanyong

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

Referenced in 3 publications


Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Shanghai School and Modern Painting', Sydney, 2003, 174 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 14, 14 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Chinese Painting, 'Ding Yanyong', Sydney, 1985, 14 (illus.).