March 11, 2019
Chinese artist Wan Liya paints natural sceneries inspired by traditional Chinese paintings onto ceramics of contemporary household items. Soda bottles and soap dispensers become highly decorative objects, blurring the line between traditional and contemporary craft.
Each piece has its own detailed illustration—some feature birds perching upon blossomed trees, while others depict rugged mountainous forms. However, when the objects are arranged together, they compose a larger picture. The images are inspired by Wan Ximeng’s 12th-century painting One Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains, a large piece depicting mountains and lakes meticulously painted on Chinese silk.
“The idea of this installation work is based on one of the top ten [most classic] paintings in Chinese art history,” says Wan. “The Emperor Song Hui Zong liked [Wan Ximeng] very much and called him into the imperial palace and taught him personally when he was 18 years old. He died when he was 21 years old. Now, this is the only painting by him left.”
Influenced by Wan Ximeng’s skill and craft, Wan Liya reinvents his traditional Chinese style by placing the imagery onto contemporary objects, elevating the meaning and beauty of ordinary, everyday items. To view more of his work visit the China Design Centre’s online gallery and visit Wan’s website.
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