Sheep and Goat

View right to left

Maker(s)
Artist: Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫 (1254-1322)
Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, ca. 1300
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 25.2 x 48.7 cm (9 15/16 x 19 3/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1931.4
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Handscroll

Keywords
China, goat, sheep, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance

1931
Fukushima Company, New York 1931 [1]

From 1931
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Fukushima Company, New York in 1931 [2]

Notes:

[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note.

[2] See note 1. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Fukushima Company

Label

Zhao Mengfu was the preeminent painter and calligrapher of the early Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), and one of the most versatile and subtle artists in the Chinese tradition. Balanced in mood and posture, the two animals turn their heads back toward each other to create an open but unified composition. In his inscription at the left of the painting, Zhao Mengfu states his motivation for creating this work: "I have painted horses before, but have never painted sheep [or goats]. So when Zhongxin requested a painting, I playfully drew these for him from life. Though I cannot get close to the ancient masters, I have managed somewhat to capture their essential spirit."

The seals of several Ming and Qing dynasty collectors, especially those of the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1735-95), who once owned the scroll, are applied over much of the remaining paper. Borrowing vocabulary from an ancient poem about sheep, the emperor also provided the title frontispiece at right, which reads: "Divine likeness [of sheep] in motion and repose."

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit http://freersackler.mystagingwebsite.com/SongYuan/default.asp Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Noelle Giuffrida. Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E. Lee and Chinese Art Collecting in Postwar America. Frontis.
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  • Nakata Yujiro Fu Shen. O-bei shuzo Chugoku hosho meiseki shu (Masterpieces of Chinese Calligraphy in American and European Collections). 6 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1983. pls. 33-34.
  • Shane McCausland. Zhao Mengfu: Calligraphy and Painting for Khubilai's China. Hong Kong. Cover and p. 145, fig. 1.25.
  • Victor H. Mair, Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, Paul R. Goldin. Hawaii Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture. Honolulu. fig. 93.
  • Osvald Siren. A History of Early Chinese Painting. 2 vols., London. vol. 2, pl. 104.
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  • Laurence Sickman Alexander Coburn Soper. The Art and Architecture of China. The Pelican History of Art London and Baltimore. pl. 112a.
  • Benjamin Rowland. Art in East and West: An Introduction Through Comparison. Cambridge, MA. fig. 52.
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  • Michael Kampen O'Riley. Art Beyond the West: The Arts of Western and Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea, the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas., 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ. pl. 4.26.
  • Philip B. Meggs. Megg's History of Graphic Design., 4th ed. New York. pls. 3-9.
  • Chu-tsing Li. The Freer Sheep and Goat and Chao Meng-Fu's Horse Paintings., Artibus Asiae, vol. 30, reprint. Ascona, Switzerland. .
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  • Chiang Chao-shen. Some Thoughts on the Relationship Between Calligraphy and Painting. vol. 17, no. 5 Taipei, November-December 1982. back cover.
  • Chang Yuan-chien. Jen ch'i t'u and the Horse and Figure Painting of Chao Meng-fu. vol. 17, nos.3-4 Taipei, July/October 1982. pl. 4.
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  • Grace Dunham Guest Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 15.
  • Martha Davidson. Five Oriental Exhibitions. vol. 11, no. 5 New York, May 1939. pp. 29-32.
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  • Judith Burling Arthur H. Burling. Chinese Art. New York. p. 114.
  • unknown title. no. 10, January 1931. p. 150.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 47, p. 160-1.
  • Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. Vol. 32, , No. 2. p. 206, fig. 27.3.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. p. 211.
  • Jacques Dars. Au gre d'humeurs oisives: Les Carnets Secrets de Li Yu, Un Art du Bonheur en Chine. Arles. p. 213.
  • Chuimei Ho Bennet Bronson. Splendors of China's Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong. Exh. cat. London, New York, Chicago, March 12 - September 12, 2004. p. 221.
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  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China. Cambridge and New York. p. 427.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum