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Zha Shibiao

Chinese painter, connoisseur, calligrapher and poet. One of the Four Masters of Xin'an School of Painting, he was born to a wetitlehy family of connoisseurs and art collectors. He passed the first stage in the civil service examination ladder to receive his xiu cai ('cultivated talent') degree while in his 20s, but like many scholars after the fall of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) he abandoned all thought of an official career, turning instead to writing and painting. Later in life he referred to himself as an 'inkstone-ploughing guest', that is, one who has made a living with a brush. Forced to flee when the invading Manchus destroyed his home, Zha travelled to Nanjing and Zhenjiang in Jiangsu Province and during the 1660s settled in Yangzhou. By nature he was easy-going and somewhat reclusive, given to drinking late into the night.

Trees in Autumn Secluded House in the Mountain

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