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Shih-K’o and the I-P’in by Alexander C. Soper

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The article “Shih K’o” and “I-p’in” by Alexander C. Soper discusses about two Patriarch pictures that the great painter Shih-K’o painted.  Both the paintings show the brilliant artistic ability of Shih-K’o and have been declared as national treasures (Soper 7). Both the paintings have historical significance and the styles of both the pictures reflect the glorious Chinese art. The article describes both the pictures in great detail and even attempts to decipher the inscriptions on both the paintings.  Mr. Soper identified the importance of bird script-seal in the paintings. He described the historical significance of the red seal, which was supposedly presented to Emperor Che Tsung (Soper 9). I did not know of this concept before and this article introduced me to this new piece of information about the paintings by Shih-K’o. Mr.Soper’s description cleared my doubt and helped me absorb new knowledge about the historical significance of the bird script.

The major question in my mind was about the origin of the term “I-p’in.”  The article discussed this term in detail and also provided a complete timeline of the term’s usage.  Mr.Soper did a great job of highlighting the different techniques of art and ensured that his readers would get a complete overview of the great works done by Shih-K’o.  He used several pictures to make the readers understand the significance of art completely. He wanted readers to corroborate his article points with the pictures and grasp the concepts simultaneously. I agreed with most of Mr. Soper’s claims. I had read about Shih-K’o before and this article really did complete justice to his achievements. The article had lots of information, which could be corroborated with other readings on art. Overall, this article by Mr. Soper is an excellent description of Shih-K’o and his work.

However, the article was too long and intricate. The description of the paintings had many technical terms, which ordinary readers would not be able to comprehend. Even though the article was certainly enlightening, it would have been better of the article length had been reduced slightly.

It can be concluded that Alexander C. Soper did a good job of explaining the concepts of art with beautifully elucidated examples. The article is a good read for anybody interested in art.

Works Cited:

Soper, Alexander C. “Shih-K’o and the I-p’in”. Archives of Asian Art, vol. 29, 1975, pp.6-22. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20062575. Accessed 21 March 2018.



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