Fishing by Min Zhen, hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; Qing Dynasty


The name of this painting is Fishing. How many old fishermen can you see in this painting? The artist depicted two standing old men talking to each other and another old man squatting on the ground with merely a few strokes. Each of them holds a fishing pole and wears a bamboo hat. The random texture on their clothes is filled with vivid life atmosphere. In fact, a deeply touching story is hidden behind this simple but generous painting. We have to mention its author Min Zhen for this. 

Min Zhen was born in Nanchang, Jiangxi and fled to Yangzhou later. He was one of the "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou". Both his parents died young. In order to portray his parents, he worked energetically in painting portraits. He acknowledged Wu Wei as his master in the earlier period and then followed Xu Wei and Bada Shanren later. He was not only diligent in studying previous works, but also paid attention to observing life and fathoming the characters and moods of all sorts of figures. Min Zhen achieved superb painting techniques after years of hard work. He gained his fame by virtue of his refined portraits. He hung the portraits of his parents painted by himself in his bedroom, burnt incense to worship them and kept this habit over decades. He was honored as "Min the dutiful son". His story was not only widespread back then, but also is passed to date, and even compiled into the primary school textbook of Taiwan.