“One Hundred Horses and the Four Seasons — A Concerto of Sino-Western Cultural Exchange” VR

The Italian missionary Lang Shining (1688-1766) served as a court painter through three successive reigns under Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors. In the sixth year of Yongzheng (1728), he completed the autumnal pastoral masterpiece “One Hundred Horses”, a representative of his earlier works. This scroll combines Western perspective with the techniques of Chinese ink painting to vividly render officers tending to a herd of horses out in the pasture. He used principles of light and shadow to paint three-dimensional horses, figures, trees, and slopes alongside traditional Chinese painting styles, such as outlining the pine needles, bark, and grass with ink lines, and rendering stone slopes through texturing methods.

“One Hundred Horses and the Four Seasons — A Concerto of Sino-Western Cultural Exchange” VR is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between National Palace Museum, the digital technology industry, the academia and students, which combines the One Hundred Horses handscroll by Lang Shining and the Four Seasons violin concerti by the Italian composer Vivaldi (1678-1741). It uses software to simulate the virtual placement of sound sources and features classic sections from the “Four Seasons” concerti performed by the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra to reproduce a high order ambisonic version that restores the authentic location of the sound, presenting an immersive VR narrative experience and an audio-visual feast of light and shadow. 

Following the rhythm of the music and the transition from day to night, the shining particles transform into horses of various physiques, sizes, and coat colors, demonstrating the infinite charm of the blending of Eastern and Western painting techniques from a new perspective. The melodious strings awaken the movement of life: in the verdant spring, the horses frolic in the lush pastures. In the heavy rainfall of summer, the horses are herded by the officers and transform into rapid light beams that resemble streams of notes. In the pleasant weather of autumn, the horses briskly dance along to the harmonious chords. At the end, the horses cross the ford in the shining lights of winter, which gradually amalgamate into shadows coming ashore, bringing the experience to a poetic rest.