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Qian Xuan Quotes


Qian Xuan
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Qian Xuan
  • Born: 1235, Wuxing, Zhejiang Province, China
  • Died: 1305, Wuxing, Zhejiang Province, China
  • Occupation: Artist, poet and painter
  • Style: Calligraphy and brush painting with a memorable native blue and green style
  • Influenced: Zhang Yu and Huang Gongwang
  • Also known as: Shun Ju, Zhaxi Weng and Yu Tan
  • Era: Late Song dynasty and early Yuan dynasty
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"When did these two dragons fly off to the heavens, leaving only these shadows of thoroughbreds to pass down"

Qian Xuan

"I have therefore pictured him. On the twenty-first day of the tenth month of Zhiyuan 27, I happened to paint this for Mr Mei of Jiangyin"

Qian Xuan

"Wuling is in the prime of his youth, energetic and restless, with white steed and golden saddle, he is the free spirit"

Qian Xuan

"The limpid river reflects clusters of stones.. The trees have a delicate fragrance and beauty"

Qian Xuan

"To my dusty image I bid farewell forever. What need have I to seek reclusion?"

Qian Xuan

"By the ancient catalpa at dusk, why should he care about old age"

Qian Xuan

"How pleasant are the elegant bamboo and trees"

Qian Xuan

"In a peaceful pavilion, relaxing with bare stomach, how wonderful it must feel"

Qian Xuan

"My ecstasy soars with the wordless vibration of the five-string zither"

Qian Xuan

"My spirit is free in the realm of unbounded space"

Qian Xuan

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Qian Xuan Biography

Qian Xuan is known as one of the Chinese masters of old whose work is revered by artists and admired by connoisseurs of artistic culture who appreciate the life he injected into his canvas.



The poet Zhang Hu described the work of Qian Xuan in his colophon as art as an historical document and as such it was a cornerstone to inspire future artisans.

Life was not a bed of roses for Xuan as he struggled for many years especially after the fall of the Song dynasty to whom he would remain loyal until his dying breath, he even went as far as to refuse to publicly acknowledge the new Yuan dynasty. Indeed, his legend portrays him as a loyalist who, when seated, never once faced north towards where the Yuan capital Dadu was located (present day Beijing) as he always faced south showing his loyalty to the fallen Song dynasty.

Qian Xuan was a man of his convictions and he preferred to face poverty rather than be disloyal but through his skill as an artist did make a living as a professional artist.

His paintings are rich with the faces of nature in the plant and flower form of which he was very skilled in painting. From great talent often springs wise words with deep meaning, so here is my compilation of 6 of the best Qian Xuan quotes

Quotes About Qian Xuan

The artist Huang Gongwang paid him this tribute: "Qian Xuan was a scholar of Wuxing. People do not realize that the histories and classics were all strung together in his breast"

The author James C. Y. Watt made this observation: "Qian Xuan suggests that, having achieved a lofty detachment from the world, he has no need to adopt the stance of a recluse - his life already exemplifies that ideal"

The critic John C. Ferguson on his painting and ode 'Returning Home': "This picture is one of the best known in the records of Chinese art; it bares on its face an annotation by the emperor Ch'ien Lung and has the seals of the famous connoisseurs who have seen it"

The author Lian Duan noted his place in Chinese art history: "The earliest literati painter in the transitional phase is Qian Xuan who was already an established artist with great fame when the Mongol army captured Hangzhou, the capital city of the Southern Song in 1276"


Qian Xuan image quote