On March 4th, the Exhibition of Character Styling Paintings for TV series Water Margin (水浒传) by Dai Dunbang was open to the public at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Wenbo Building on the Minhang Campus. Themed under “appreciating the Chinese painting of Liangshan heroes, comprehending the loyalty and righteousness of Water Margin”, the show was hosted by SJTU Wenbo Archive Center and co-organized by SJTU Museum and Dai Dunbang Art Research Center.
Dai Dunbang, a master of traditional Chinese painting, donated all 178 paintings of characters for TV series Water Margin adapted from one of the four classic Chinese novels to SJTU Museum and exhibited them for the first time. With the paintings as the main exhibits, the show also displays the picture albums of famous Water Margin characters since the Ming Dynasty. “The 108 Heroes” gathered together in SJTU Museum, presenting the perfect fusion of classic masterpieces and painting art.
Zhang Jizhong, the renowned director who produced Water Margin TV series at CCTV in 1998, made a speech to recall how he was acquainted with Dai Dunbang and influenced by his artistic values. He praised Dai as an extremely open-minded artist who always remains humble and stays true to the original aspiration. Zhang Jizhong commented that Dai Dunbang’s paintings achieved harmony in both form and spirit by using only black, white and grey, and his work has provided the crew with the most vivid portrayal and clue for casting. “Dai’s delicate touch also offered useful guidance for costume and make-up design. His art stands eternal in time.” says Zhang.
Dai Dunbang said in his speech that the Water Margin characters give life to Chinese figure painting, highlighting the infinite aesthetic value of outstanding traditional Chinese art. He often takes pride in being an SJTUer and was very grateful to SJTU Museum for organizing this exhibition. He hoped that his paintings would boost the interest of SJTU students and teachers in Chinese traditional art and better promote traditional Chinese culture.
As Tsung-Dao Lee, the famous scientist and Nobel Laureate, once said, Dai Dunbang used the exquisite skills to capture the long-lasting affection in Dream of The Red Chamber and the courageous heroes in Water Margin and meticulously put them all in the painting. SJTU Museum is grateful for Dai’s support and trust for donating the best works in his life to SJTU, the Alma Mater where he worked before, and where the paintings would be safely preserved and appreciated by the SJTU students, teachers and people from different walks of life.
Author: Zhang Yandi, He Xuemei
Photographer: Wu Xinmin, etc.
Source: SJTU Wenbo Archive Center
Translated by Zhang Yue
Proofread by Zhao Xiaojing, Xiao Yangning