by Qian Feng (1740–1795)
China, Qing dynasty, late 18th century
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
Later generations of calligraphers frequently copied individual works by Yan Zhenqing (709–785) and emulated the style of his standard script. For this scroll, the scholar-official, painter, and calligrapher Qian Feng, who was particularly influenced by Yan, copied the opening passage of the Duobao Pagoda Stele (seen in the rubbing to the right), using his interpretation of Yan’s well-known style. This particular passage praises the pagoda as an important religious site. It also recounts the miraculous conception of the monk Chujin after his mother, who had long been unable to bear a child, saw the Buddha in a dream.