(Chinese, active mid-1300s)
Handscroll, ink on paper
Image: 23.1 x 84 cm (9 1/8 x 33 1/16 in.); Overall: 23.8 x 734 cm (9 3/8 x 289 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1954.791
Seclusion and leisure—the ideals of the literati, or scholar-gentlemen—are expressed in this mature work by Yao Tingmei. The theme acquired special meaning at a time of the military uprisings near the end of the Yuan dynasty. Dedicated to an ascetic named Du, this work combines painting, calligraphy, and poetry; following the painting are more than 20 poems and essays written by notable scholars, one of whom was the calligrapher Yang Weizhen. It reveals not only the aesthetic taste of the literati but also the practice of contributing artistic and literary works to fulfill social obligations. Yao's painting demonstrates his individual style derived from various ancient masters (Guo Xi, Dong Yuan, and Juran). Yang Weizhen's calligraphy exhibits his bold, vigorous style and his intent to capture the spirit of antiquity in art.
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