The National Palace Museum exhibition coincides with the forthcoming seventh lunar calendar month. Known as the Ghost Month, the period marks two major festivals of Buddhist and Taoist traditions, where the gates of the underworld are opened to the living world, with wanting spirits to be quelled with offerings.
The exhibition features an extensive collection of 31 paintings from the five dynastic periods, and the early 1900s. Most notably, 8 works by renowned painter and calligrapher Puru (溥儒) will be featured in the exhibition. Incidentally, Puru is the cousin of Puyi (溥儀), the final ruler of the Qing Dynasty, and the last Emperor of China.
Purus supernatural-themed paintings are characterized by his minimalistic brushwork depicting lurking ghosts and spirits in desolate mountain forests. However, his rendering of ghosts and spirits are not of grotesque menace, but lithe ethereal beings, symbolizing that once departed, a person is free from the burdens experience during life. Puru's also displays his more playful side in certain works, rendering humorous circumstances in a number of paintings, such as the meeting between a recently departed spirit and a longtime ghost, and of a love-spurned specter jumping off a cliff in a fit of rage.