Young Hawk, Old Tree

Title: Young Hawk, Old Tree
Artist: Mansheng Wang
Date: 2011
Medium: Ink on paper
Dimensions: Aprx. 5’x3′

Distinct Visual Characteristics: The work depicts the highest branches on a tree traveling up the left side of the of the paper. The brush strokes are consistent in movement to form the bark on the trunk of the tree. The foliage of the tree is created using what appears to be precise blotting of the brushes. The hawk turns its head to gaze the viewer with detailed feathers on its backside. The hawk does not look harmful to the viewer and instead looks almost sad as it is about to fly away from from its rooted home.

Analysis: This piece is located in the Charles Chu room to the right of the door near the windows. It is located in a ‘standing glass case. The depth of the piece is shown in the work’s height as the viewer’s eyes travel up the bark of the tree. Wang uses black ink but uses different shades of black ink to create depth in the foliage showing the dimensionality of the tree. Wang combines his roots in literati art with his new home along the Hudson River which is not always easily identifiable in his pieces but he often depicts hawks or eagles on desolate trees. “Here, the hawk or eagle embodies a state of spiritual detachment as well as individual freedom and autonomy,” (Mang 2020). The darkness of the tree shows how sturdy it and its roots are, representing Wang’s roots in his Chinese culture and heritage and how they support him, symbolized by the young Hawk as he sets up a new home in the Hudson Valley.

Mai Mang (2020) Wang Mansheng, Chinese Literature Today, 9:2, 66-84, DOI: 10.1080/21514399.2020.1852025

Author: Sophie Kyle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *