Silent Poetry—Delicate Paintings from the Southern Song Dynasty

Although literature and painting are two different modes of artistic expression, during the Southern Song dynasty, the surfaces of fans, albums, and small paintings were graced with no small number of paintings where “poetic sentiments merged with painted imagery.” These richly poetic, finely-painted, small-sized artworks are broadly referred to as “delicate paintings” in this exhibit. The creation of artworks where painting and poetry blend into one another can be traced back to Su Shi (1037–1101) and other Northern Song dynasty literati, who believed that paintings are “silent poetry” and that poems are “formless paintings” or “paintings made from sound.” Their stance stirred up a tsunami of artistic responses, and moreover, Northern Song dynasty emperor Huizong (1082–1135) enthusiastically supported the inscription of poetry atop paintings, further leading court painters to put the ideal of “poetry and painting merged as one” into practice.

This exhibition is through March 27, 2022. 

Source: National Palace Museum in Taipei