Zhu Da (called Bada Shanren)

Zhu Da (1626-1705), better known as Bada Shanren, was a leading painter and poet of the Qing Period (1644-1911). A descendant of the imperial family of the previous Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), he was born in 1626 in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. After the Manchu conquest in 1644, he was forced to flee his home and live in hiding. Zhu became a Buddhist monk and rose to the position of an abbot. He is said to have struggled with mental illness throughout his life, and in 1680 suddenly left his monastic existence behind. Zhu Da mainly painted flowers, birds, insects, small animals and in his mature phase also landscapes with simple but sensitive brushwork. His poetry is often sarcastic, criticizing Chinese officials who collaborated with the Manchu conquerors.