The Five Deer Hermitage

Maker(s)
Artist: Li Shida (active 1580-1621)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 17th century
Medium
Ink and color on gold-flecked paper
Dimensions
H x W: 31.8 x 60.9 cm (12 1/2 x 24 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1988.8a
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, garden, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), mountain, water, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This album leaf and F1988.8c, each by a different artist, present disparate views of a small private estate called the Wulu shanfang (Five Deer Hermitage), located near Daming in Hebei Province. While the depictions differ in many details, the basic elements-a walled (or fenced) garden compound with numerous buildings, located on a small island connected to the mainland by one or more small bridges-are consistent. Judging from the discrepancies, however, one or both of the artists may have worked from memory, or even from written or oral accounts, to create their representations of the garden's layout and environs. As portraiture was not particularly popular during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), scholars often used depictions of their gardens as artistic expressions of their personal identities and cultural aspirations. By inviting two such eminent scholar-artists as Li Shida and Lu Shiren to paint his garden, the owner of the Five Deer Hermitage was undoubtedly more interested in their poetic evocations of his property than in precise and topographically accurate representations.

Published References
  • Sotheby's (New York). Fine Chinese Paintings. sale #5723 New York, June 1, 1988. lot 44a.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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