May 24, 2010

Landscape Album in Various Styles: The Stream of Wuling

Landscape Album in Various Styles: The Stream of Wuling


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Zha Shibiao 查士標

(Chinese, 1615-1698)

Album leaf, ink and light color on paper

Overall: 29.9 x 39.4 cm (11 3/4 x 15 1/2 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1955.37.4



The mention of Wuling in the inscription signals the “Peach Blossom Spring,” but Zha Shibiao purposefully left out all the accepted iconography for that story: a lone fisherman, cave entrance, and village of hermits. Instead, two men in separate boats are engaged in conversation. Could they be talking about the way to the Peach Blossom Spring, or could one of them be that fisherman blessed by his unintended visit but no longer able to find his way back again? Around them unfolds a lyrical landscape, with willows along the shores, and empty pavilion, a wide-open lake surface, and endless distant hills.

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