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Chu Ta

Chu Ta or Zhu Da (both: jōō dä), c.1626–c.1705, Chinese painter and calligrapher, also known as Pa-ta-shan-jen or Bada Shanren. Said to have been a descendant of the imperial Ming family, he was a child prodigy, a poet at 7 and a painter by his teens. Becoming a monk after the fall of the dynasty, in 1678 he apparently suffered a nervous breakdown, was unable to speak for a number of years, and became known for his fits of madness and eccentric behavior. He left the monastary and, despite his afflictions, became a founder of the school of painting known as Ch'ing. Most of his works are small-scale spontaneous studies of nature. His brushstrokes, which seem free and careless at first glance, are filled with vitality and descriptive power. His works may be seen at the British Museum; Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

See J. Chang and Q. Bai, In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren (catalog of exhibition at Freer Gallery, 2003).

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