Fan-shaped. A landscape with tall trees in the lower foreground and a river flowing to the right, on which a figure is sitting in a boat under a willow tree on a little island. Houses can be seen. Mountains in the background with inscriptions of a poem composed by the artist.
The Chinese tradition of painting on fans began in the Tang dynasty (618–907), though it was not until the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) that folding fans like this one became popular. The unique shape inspired Chinese artists to think creatively about their paintings. Small and delicate, painted folding fans gradually became a status symbol for Chinese gentlemen, who exchanged them as gifts, collected them as works of art, and carried them as a display of personal taste. The artist inscribed this painting with a sentimental description of the landscape, and also mentions that he is painting in the manner of the Song dynasty painter Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), in the traditional Chinese practice of shi-gu—“following the ancient.”
-Kendra Weisbin, Associate Curator of Education, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Jan. 2017)
landscapes; leisure; courts
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