Reminiscences of Nanjing: Old Gingko at Mt. Chinglong

Maker(s)
Artist: Shitao (1642-1707)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1707
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 23.8 x 19.2 cm (9 3/8 x 7 9/16 in)
Geography
China, Nanjing
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.204.11
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, ginko tree, mountain, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To?
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York. [3]

Notes:

[1] See object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Daqian China, 1899-1983
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Label

This painting of a lightning-damaged tree that sprouts new growth could easily allude to the artist's personal struggles. He was orphaned as an infant and most of his family was murdered in the turbulent dynastic overthrow that established the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Shitao's father had been a prince of the conquered Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It was expected that, because of his royal ancestry, Shitao would never deign to serve the Qing government. Instead, he became a Buddhist monk and lived for a period in Nanjing, which is the theme of this painting. Both leaves from the album Reminiscences of Nanjing present a memorable image from that locale.

Reminiscences of Nanjing was painted in Shitao's last year, and the paintings and poetry are contemplative, ranging from happy to melancholy thoughts. The strong, blunt strokes and chromatic richness of this tree suggest vitality and survival, an aspect of Shitao's own character. The directness of the visual image and the economy of description are typical of Shitao's new approach in painting. He celebrated a style bursting with energy. His paintings often seem naively simple--even awkward--which was a look he intentionally cultivated to great effect.

Published References
  • Jonathan Hay. Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China., reprint. Taibei shi. .
  • Chang Wanli. Shitao shuhua ji [Selected Painting and Calligraphy of Shih-Tao]. multi-volumed, Hong Kong. vol. 4, pl. 95.
  • Richard Edwards. The Paintings of Tao-chi 1641-ca 1720: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Museum of Art, University of Michigan, August 13-September 17, 1967. Exh. cat. Ann Arbor. pp. 44, 94, fig. 19.
  • Richard M. Barnhart. Wintry Forests, Old Trees: Some Landscape Themes in Chinese Painting. Exh. cat. New York. p. 63.
  • Les Trois Reves du Mandarin. Exh. cat. Brussels. cat. 84d, pp. 106-7.
  • Helmut Brinker, Marc Nürnberger. Shitao: Aufgezeichnete Worte des Monchs Bittermelone zur Malerei. Mainz. p. 213.
  • Marilyn Fu, Fu Shen. Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., Third Edition. Princeton, 1973. pp. 302-313.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 206, p. 310.
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.