Red bamboo, 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, ca. 1573-1610
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 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

bamboo, China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), still life, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

Sun Kehong, a scholar-official who painted as a pastime, often created works employing an intentionally plain and simple style that was associated with concepts of antique elegance in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Sometimes he also used rich colors to add decorative appeal. The theme of this painting pertains to Sun’s hobby of cultivating miniature plants, which many Ming scholars considered an art form.

This is the last painting in an album of eight images of potted plants. The artist’s inscription dates Red Bamboo to “winter in the Wanli reign [1573–1619]." Ordinarily, artists provided the reign date plus an indication of the precise year they painted a work, but here Sun forgot. Judging by style, it is fairly late. One twentieth-century owner of this album believed Sun may have written such a vague date because he was tipsy when he painted the album.

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

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects