- Provenance research underway.
On the third day in the third lunar month of 353 C.E., which corresponded to April 22, the famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi (ca. 303-361 C.E.), along with forty friends and family members, traveled some ten kilometers from the town of Kuaiji (modern Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province) to the picturesque Orchid Pavilion, a private retreat that Wang had built in a nearby mountain valley. Here they celebrated an ancient springtime purification ceremony that had transformed over the centuries into a secular holiday, when people would gather near a body of water to enjoy the scenery, eat and drink together, and compose poetry. At the Orchid Pavilion, a channel had been dug and the local river diverted to form a small meandering stream, along which the participants sat in order of seniority. Cups were floated down the water course, and each member of the group had to compose a poem when a cup arrived at his location, or pay the penalty of drinking three dippers of wine. At the end of the day, thirty-seven poems were collected, and Wang Xizhi, glimpsed in the thatch-roofed pavilion at right, composed a famous preface to record the circumstances of the occasion. A second, more substantial pavilion with a tiled roof and swooping eaves appears in the lower part of the painting.
The current work is probably by the late-sixteenth-century artist You Qiu, who was the son-in-law and most gifted follower of the artist Qiu Ying (ca. 1494-1552), two of whose seals appear on the painting at lower right. You Qiu is best known for his figure paintings of scholars in garden settings rendered in the baimiao (plain-outline) style of painting seen here, which he executed with great skill and elegance in the tradition of the Northern Song dynasty artist Li Gonglin (ca. 1049-1106), whose forged signature was added on the right side of the painting by a later owner.
- Published References
- Ellen Mae Johnston Laing. Scholars and Sages: A Study in Chinese Figure Paintings. Ann Arbor, 1967-1986. .
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
- SI Usage Statement
Usage Conditions Apply
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)
Usage Conditions Apply
Chrome users: right click on icon, select "save link as..."
Internet Explorer users: right click on icon, select "save target as..."
Mozilla Firefox users: right click on icon, select "save link as..."