This was a crucial Chinese era which saw was impacted by many artists including Xu Xi. His Snow Bamboo painting is a notable representation of his creativity. The Snow Bamboo painting by Xu Xi (lived in the early Song period) has been described as being “worth more than 500 pieces of gold” by historians keen on the Song era. Painted on silk using grey ink, the painter manifested marvelous insight and deep sense of realism. The brushwork (bifa) is massively compliant of descriptive detail achieving magical results. One can hardly believe that this is the creation of human hands. Xu Xi presents the painting using a reserve skill where the bamboo plants are lightened against a dark background. This technique is then reversed in some parts of the painting where the bamboo leaves and stalks are darkened on a lightened silk. This technique went on to define the Song period and many artists “return” and creatively present their contemporary work using the reserve-reverse method. Xu Xi creatively switches between the two methods unnoticeably and carefully draws attention away. Suggestions have been proposed that he used wax-resist method to achieve this feat. However, even the wax-resist skill cannot even reach the high standard portrayed by the painting above. The details that Xu Xi technique achieves are extraordinary. The light and dark effect illuminates an incredible measure of realism. The admirer is left engrossed on the subject depicted on the picture, subconsciously drifting away from the artist’s hand.
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