Rubbing of Orchid by Shi Tao


Shi Tao's religious name was Yuanji. He was the tenth-generation grandson of Prince Jingjiang Zhu Zanyi of the Ming Dynasty. After his family was broken up in the late Ming Dynasty, he was taken to Xiangshan Temple in Quanzhou by eunuchs and became a monk. Xiangshan Temple was not only the cradle of Shi Tao and the starting place of his artistic accomplishments, but also the place where Shi Tao always thought of after he left his hometown. Quanzhou was affiliated to Lingling Prefecture during the Han Dynasty and was known as Xiangyuan and Qingxiang during the Tang and the Five Dynasties. Shi Tao often signed Qingxiang Laoren, Qingxiang Chenren, Qingxiang Yiren or Xiangyuan Jishan Monk on his artistic works so as to imbed his yearning for Quanzhou. In the 54th year of the Kangxi reign of Qing (1715), Chen Yuanlong, Governor of Guangxi, hired famous craftsmen to engrave Shi Tao's painting of orchid onto the "Flying Rock" while engraving Emperor Kangxi's work onto the peak of Mount Xiang. Shi Tao's painting of orchid is vivid and vigorous. Viewers would feel like scenting a delicate fragrance while appreciating the orchids. They still send out a faint fragrance after years of weathering, which is praised as a marvelous spectacle.