Snowy Bamboo (雪竹)
Guo Bi (郭畀, 1280-1335), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)
Handscroll, ink on paper, 31.8 x 145.2 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei
Guo Bi (style name Tianxi 天鍚, sobriquet Tuisi 退思), a native of Jingkou (京口, in Jiangsu province), was a skilled painter and calligrapher who was often associated with famous scholars and monks of his time. His landscapes bear the style of the Song dynasty father-and-son scholar-painters Mi Fu (米芾) and Mi Youren (米友仁). He also specialized in painting scenes of bamboo, trees, and rocks. When intoxicated, he would take a brush and apply ink freely to create his paintings, which he thought equaled in beauty those of the ancients.
Set deep in a cold and desolate winter, the bamboo here is laden with snow as this riverbank scene is hushed in stillness. Guo Bi’s style of painting is quite exquisite, revealing an atmosphere of purity and utmost elegance.