Stealing an Urn of Wine

Maker(s)
Artist: Qi Baishi 齊白石 (1864-1957)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, ca. 1930
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 35.9 x 25.8 cm (14 1/8 x 10 3/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Bequest from the collection of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai, donated in their memory by Mr. Shao F. Wang.
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1998.67
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, drinking, Modern period (1912 - present), Shao F. Wang collection, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1997
Wang Fangyu (1913-1997) and Sum Wai (1918-1996), to 1997 [1]

To 1998
Shao F. Wang, New York and Short Hills, NJ, by descent, to 1998 [2]

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Shao F. Wang in 1998

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 5, Joseph Chang, May 7, 1998, and Joseph Chang, August 18, 1998, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Shao F. Wang
Wang Fangyu 1913-1997
Sum Wai 1918-1996

Label

Stealing an Urn of Wine was a favorite subject of the modern master Qi Baishi, for he painted similar compositions time and again. He apparently was fond of the comical story of Bi Zhuo, an official of the Ministry of Personnel during the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420) who often drank excessively. Once, Bi was so drunk that he stumbled into a neighbor’s house and continued to drink from an urn of wine. Inebriated, he fell asleep next to it. The neighbor returned to discover his servants had tied up the esteemed official as a common thief. After being released, Bi invited his neighbor to have a drink by the urn--and then he stumbled away.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 262-263.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
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