The Enchanting Story behind X+Q for the V&A

The V&A Shop recently collaborated with X+Q Art, the brainchild of Chinese artists Xiang Jing and Qu Guangci on two exclusive scarves inspired by the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 – 1900 exhibition.

X+Q Art was founded by leading contemporary Chinese artists Xiang Jing and Qu Guangci to create limited edition sculpture, fashion accessories and gift items based on their own renowned artwork housed in museums all over the world. As well as being the initials of the two artists, the brand name is an interesting play on words – in Chinese, X and Q in characters have the symbolic meaning of rarity and exquisiteness.

X+Q’s work was first spotted on a trip to Beijing in 2012 to promote the V&A’s British Design exhibition. V&A Shop buyers then began discussions with the artists to develop a fashion accessory that was inspired by the works within the Chinese Painting exhibition and the V&A’s permanent collection.

Landscape Mash-Up

Landscape Mash-Up took its direction from two paintings: Visiting a Friend in the Mountains, and Saying Farewell at Xunyang, by Qiu Ying.

Visiting a Friend in the Mountains, China, 1550-1600. Museum no. E.422-1953. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Qiu Ying (1494-1552), Saying Farewell at Xunyang (detail), 1st half of 16th century, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

The traditional nature of the paintings used for the scarves has been updated for a contemporary effect through adaptation of colour, splicing and collaging of image as well as placement and scale.

The Dancing Auspicious Crane scarf

The crane is one of the most popular themes in traditional Chinese painting and is a symbol of longevity and auspiciousness. The Dancing Auspicious Crane scarf was designed with this in mind. In ancient China the face of a crane was regarded as elegant and exquisite and this is given particular attention within the design of the scarf.

 about 1112, LPossibly Emperor Huizong, Auspicious Cranes,iaoning Provincial Museum. © The Liaoning Provincial Museum Collection

Qu Guangci commented on working with the V&A on the scarves: “It is an interesting phenomenon to see the V&A hosting the magnificent Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition, showing that culture transcends boundaries of time and space. It’s a real delight to make a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinese culture for X+Q Art, a Chinese brand and me as a Chinese artist, thanks to this V&A platform.”