Bada Shanren (ca. 1626-1705, Chinese: 八大山人; Wade-Giles: Pata Shanjen; is the artist's pseudonym literally meaning "Mountain Man of the Eight Greats", also spelled as Gan: Pat-thai San-nin) , born as Zhu Da (朱耷), was a Chinese painter of shuimohua or "sumi ink and water painting" and a calligrapher. Being a descendant of the Ming dynasty prince Zhu Quan, Bada Shanren, a purported child prodigy, began painting and writing poetry in his early childhood. About the year 1644, when the Ming emperor committed suicide while the Manchu army from the north attacked Beijing, the young Han Chinese man sought refuge in a Buddhist monastery. Because he was a Ming prince, the dynastic upheaval created a great amount of uncertainty for his position in society. As years passed and the Qing dynasty became more firmly established, there was less and less insecurity among the Qing regime about remaining Ming loyalties and possible future rebellions. Due to these more stable circumstances, after 40 years, Bada Shanren deemed it acceptable to leave the monastery and to re-enter day-to-day life among society. In the aftermath of a nervous breakdown that could have been staged to avoid retribution for his family background, Zhu Da abandoned his monastic life and developed a career as a professional painter, adopting a series of descriptive pseudonyms, most notably Bada Shanren by which he is most often known today. Art historians and many leading painters after him considered Daba Shanren as the second peak after Xu Wei in the history of Chinese shuimohua .
Most of his works are small size spontaneous studies of nature. His flower-and-birds painting had a mysterious style of his own and often left large areas of voids for the viewer's imagination. His characteristic birds, fish and animals are all reflections of his personality. Bada Shanren also incorporated calligraphy into his painting in terms of expressive and abstract strokes, and the use of ink. His brushstrokes, which seem free and careless at first glance, are filled with vitality and descriptive power.
Bada Shanren's art has influenced many generations of Chinese painters even today. The minimalism of his ink paintings of flowers, birds, fish and landscapes appealed to the Japanese sumi painters and his style has become synonymous with Zen painting in Japan.
(Click here to read more about Daba Shanren on Google).
Personally, Bada Shanren is my favorite artist. I have learned lotus, bamboo, birds-and-flowers from his art works, espacially his sidebrush strokes. I always got some inspirations to paint everytime browsing through his paintings. As you can see from the Youtube video below how my daughter Amy likes this book and learns from copying Bada's painting.
This book contains two volumes which included a complete collection of Bada's major paintings.
Dimension 8-1/4"(21cm) x 11-1/8"(28.5cm)
Hard cover with hard jacket box.
Published by Beijing Rongbao Zhai Art Press, 2003