Magnolia, from an album of flower and rock arrangements in pots

Artist: Sun Kehong (1532-1610)
Colophon: Wu Hufan (1894-1968)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, probably 1590s
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 53.2 x 45.7 cm (20 15/16 x 18 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Karen Y. Wang in memory of her father, Nan-Ping Wong
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf

China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

Sun Kehong was a scholar-official who painted as a pastime. He is remembered for an intentionally plain style of brushwork that reflects antique elegance;  but he often used rich colors with decorative appeal. Sun cultivated a large garden in his retirement in which he was fond of displaying special stones and unusual potted plants--the subject of this album. Ming scholars considered both the raising of miniature trees and the collecting of rocks to be art forms.

The simplicity of Sun's compositions and their "awkwardness" is a studied sensibility shared by many Ming dynasty scholar-artists, who were more concerned with paintings as a forum for personal expression and revival of antique styles than with the ability to accurately imitate nature.

The last leaf in this album is dated by Sun to the "Wanli period (1573-1619)." A twentieth century collector who once owned this album suggested that the artist may have been tipsy when he painted it, or he would have written a precise year. Despite this conjecture, the album is sketchy and casual compared to other examples of Sun's works.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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