Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Michael Sullivan: A Life of Art and Friendship

(from 11th Mar until 14th Sep 2014)

A commemorative exhibition in memory of Michael Sullivan, leading scholar of Chinese art.

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Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong

  • loan
  • Description

    Lui Shou-Kwan (1919-1975) was a native of Guangdong province. His father ran a painting and calligraphy shop in Guangzhou, where he had many chances to view and learn about Chinese painting while growing up. The family moved to Hong Kong after 1949 and Lui worked for the Yaomati Ferry Company there for many years. However, he still devoted much of his time to art and developed from a conventional guohua artist to an experimentalist. In the 1960s and 1970s Lui was a founding member of several art societies, such as Yuandao Art Society and Yi Art Society, which were seeking ways to develop Chinese art by adapting western ideas. During this period, Lui and his many pupils contributed to revolutionizing guohua ink painting in Hong Kong. His later work became increasingly abstract and related to the Chinese philosophical idea of Zen.

    This painting gives a graphic impression of the floating village of Tanka people at Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, Hong Kong, in the 1960s. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Aberdeen Harbour emerged as one of the most important fishing ports in Hong Kong and as the area of the Tanka people, who used to live on boats and fished for a living. In 1963, the total population of boat dwellers in Hong Kong was estimated at 150,000. However, the population of the Aberdeen Floating Village community has decreased in recent decades, due to rapid development of fisheries in nearby Guangdong Province and the increase in operating costs of the fishing industry in Hong Kong. Instead of living on boats permanently, the majority of the boat people now only fish during the day. The view depicted in this painting no longer exists.

    The inscription reads ‘Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong. Painted by Lui Sho-Kwan in the fourth month of a dingwei year [1967] when Michael and his wife visited Hong Kong, we viewed and talked about paintings until midnight. He particularly liked this painting. I therefore gave it to him as a memento.’

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaChina Hong Kong (place of creation)
    AsiaChinaHong Kong Aberdeen Harbour (subject)
    painting 1967
    inscription 1968
    Lui Shou-Kwan (1919 - 1975) (artist)
    Lui Shou-Kwan (1919 - 1975) (calligrapher)
    Associated people
    Khoan Sullivan (1919 - 2003) (recipient)
    Michael Sullivan (1916 - 2013) (recipient)
    Material and technique
    ink and colour on paper
    mount 86 cm (width)
    painting 141 x 65 cm (height x width)
    along roller 95.9 cm (length)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    On loan from the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Sullivan, Michael, Modern Chinese Art: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, revised edn (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2009), no. 78 pn p. 107, illus. p.106 fig. II.78

Past Exhibition

see (1)


    • currently in research collection

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Objects from past exhibitions may have now returned to our stores or a lender. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so please contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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