[EXHIBITION 展覽] Art of the Iron Brush: Bamboo Carvings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties 鐵筆之藝術：明清竹雕
明代 (一三六八–一六四四) 的文人和宮廷對竹雕製作的贊助使其成為一種重要的藝術形式。位於嘉定 (今上海)和金陵 (今南京) 等地的文人雕刻家和作坊大量生產筆筒、臂擱、袖珍山水小景、人物雕像及其他雅玩。許多竹雕家亦會以其他材質柔軟、能以「鐵筆」── 即文人製作富有書畫筆觸美學的雕品時所用的雕刻刀和相關雕刻工具── 雕刻的材料如黃楊木、犀角和象牙等來製造雕品。此等作品一概被統稱為「雕刻」。這些造型獨特、由不同材料幻化而成小巧玲瓏、卻又維妙維肖的雕刻品，充分展現出匠人的鬼斧神工和超凡的想像力。
The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) will present "Art of the Iron Brush: Bamboo Carvings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties" from April 17 to July 28, 2019. Durable, flexible and abundant in nature, bamboo has been used as a material and a subject in Chinese art for millennia. At first woven into baskets, containers and other everyday objects during the Neolithic period, over successive centuries bamboo came to be used in increasingly sophisticated ways, at the same time attaining numerous symbolic meanings. Because it bends in a storm but does not break, it was particularly associated with the integrity and personal virtue of the scholarly elite, who embraced its symbolic value by producing, acquiring and displaying delicate bamboo objects suitable for various scholarly pursuits, such as painting and calligraphy.
During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), scholarly and imperial patronage transformed bamboo carving into a major art form. Scholar-carvers and workshops centred around Jiading (in present-day Shanghai) and Jinling (now Nanjing) produced large numbers of brush pots, wrist rests, miniature landscapes, figurines and other objects. Many bamboo carvers also worked in other materials soft enough to be manipulated with the ‘iron brush’—a term for knives and other carving tools used by literati to transfer their brushwork aesthetic to other media—including boxwood, rhinoceros’ horns and ivory, which shared a kind of loose identity under the heading of "diaoke" (‘carving’ in modern Chinese). Small in scale yet teeming with life, these works reflect prodigious technical skill and great imaginary involvement because of the unique shapes and contortions of the materials involved.