Three Perfections
Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art 三绝:詩书画
HUANG Shen
Birds and flowers (mid 18th century)
album: ink and pigments on paper, ten leaves, cardboard and silk cover, glued binding
23.3 x 33.3 cm (image and sheet) (leaf) 29.5 x 36.7 cm (mount) (leaf) 29.9 x 37 cm (closed) 29.9 x 74 cm (open)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Estate of Miss G. S. Grimwade, Fellow, 1982
AS27-1982

Three Perfections explores the interconnections between poetry, calligraphy and painting. In traditional China, scholars and scholar-officials were cultivated in these arts as vehicles of self-expression. Painting was regarded as 'silent poetry' and poetry 'painting with sound'. Scholars trained in the 'art of handwriting' or calligraphy at an early age used calligraphic brushstrokes in their paintings.

This exhibition consists of paintings and calligraphy from the Asian Collection. Works dating from the fourteenth century to the present will show the uniqueness of Chinese art and the contrast between traditional and contemporary art in the continuity of a living tradition.

The newly-ripe cherries scatter like coins of elm seeds.
It is also April in Yangzhou.
Last night red orchids in the thatched hut burst into blossom.
Worrying about the wind and rain [that might ruin the blossoms], unable to sleep.


Huang Shen
Chinese 1687–1768
Red Orchid from the Birds and flowers album (mid 18th century)


06 Dec 201309 Jun 2014 NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road

Level 1 Mezzanine


An NGV Voluntary Guide talks about one of the works in the collection

Free Voluntary Guide Tours

Three Perfections
Free Voluntary Guide Tours

6 Dec – 9 Jun

Guided tours, Thursday & Saturday, 1.30pm

Join our Voluntary Guide for a journey through this exquisite exhibition.

Cost: Free
Meet at the exhibition entrance,
Asian Galleries, level 1

More on Voluntary Guide Tours
Students learn about Australian art at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
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