Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Lake Louise, Canada
Copenhagen, Denmark
Loch Ness, Scotland
  • Location: China

Sea of Ink

Sea of Ink

Why a Booktrail?

1600s – Meet Bada Shanren, the most influential Chinese painter of all times

  • ISBN: 978-0956284082
  • Translator: Jamie Bulloch
  • Genre: novella

What you need to know before your trail

Bada Shanren was born in 1626 in to the heart of the Chinese Royal Family. The Ming dynasty crumbles and so he becomes an artist who is adept at capturing the essence of his country’s changes with each of his brushstrokes. But when the rules of the new Qing Dynasty discover who this humble painter really is, he has to feign madness and risk everything he has ever known in order to escape their clutches.

Travel Guide

Two paintings can be seen here – at the Met Museum in New York

Bada Shanren was like the Chinese Picasso of his times and in this fictional account of his life, you get to see behind the brush strokes which made him the man he became.

As a Ming Dynasty prince, becoming a painter was not the expected journey of a Chinese royal. But the collapse of this period caused great upheaveal and destroyed much of the country’s infraestructure – the Qing Dynasty replaced it and put the country and Bada Shanren at risk.

Bada Shanren who went by many different names throughout his career had to flee the city and escape to the mountains where he mastered the art of painting and tried to live the quiet life

‘When you dip your paintbrush into the ink, you are dipping it into your soul. And when you guide the paintbrush, it is your spirit guiding it.”

There are some lovely pictures to accompany the words in this story which show Bada Shanren’s unique way of capturing simple objects on a blank canvas. As a student, he was also exploring why he painted what he did –

‘How is it possible to express magnitude through smallness, hardness through softness and light through darkness? How can one thing be expressed by another which it is not?’

A story of one man and his painting as he captures the essence of a changing China.

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