The Moon Inviting Gate and Breeze Combing Gate in the Humble Administrator’s Garden are two moon-shaped holes, one is opening while the other is closed. Entering the atrium by the Moon Inviting Gate, you’ll see michelia in full bloom with faint fragrance wafting in the air and the Breeze Combing Gate on the opposite wall. The wording of “Moon” and “Breeze” in the names is not about romance, but implies an analogy in Chinese art, in which, the “moon” is compared to the present, while the breeze is compared to the past. The doctrine of painting and calligraphy is exactly like the present moon and the ancient breeze. The moon in the sky is shedding lights over the modern people,while the breeze can be felt and arouse the ancient feeling. Not everyone can attain such artistic height, but Qiu Ting is almost there.
Qiu Ting came all the way from Guangzhou to Hangzhou and then to Beijing, to receive education as well as to trail heritages. He has visited many natural landscapes in south and north China as well as many renown heritages of Song and Yuan dynasties and has instilled the ancient spirit in his paintings. When speaking of Qiu Ting, Bai Qianshen reflected on the relationship between the artistic style, individual aesthetic taste and the environment and put forward the question：is the change of artistic style due to the conscious reshaping of aesthetic taste or due to the imperceptible influence of the surrounding environment that is internalized as new aesthetic tendency?
Zhong Xing of Ming Dynasty ever remarked that height creates mountain, while depth produces water, various heights and depths produce diversified landscape. In recent years, Qiu Ting has been resided in Suzhou and lived in seclusion in the urban forest to pursue the life and mentality of the ancient men of letter. As is known to all,Suzhou gardens, from Pavilion of Surging Wave to Lion Grove Garden, are all featured by stacked stones and rockeries, small bridges over water, seasonal flowers and plants, pavilions, terraces, building and towers with perfect integration of nature and culture. Therefore, it is only natural that Qiu Ting’s themes of works fall into this category. While travelling abroad, he was surprised to encounter people of his own mind and gradually combined fine brushwork with freehand brushwork in his painting. The transformation of spaces on the paper is like the changing of scenery from different angles in the garden. Despite of the limited size of the paper, he uses inks and combines the present with past to present the scenery that is beautiful in sight and vivid enough as if one is travelling and living in it.
Suzhou Museum is to the west of Humble Administrator’s Garden and is separated from it by a wall. However, it seems that the Moon Inviting and Breeze Combing gate have climbed over the wall by themselves. I cannot help teasing Qiu as if he is practising zen meditation in painting and is able to jump across the wall at whimsical inspiration.
So much for the foreword.