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(Chinese, c. 1185-after 1260)
Album leaf, ink on silk
Image: 25.1 x 25.3 cm (9 7/8 x 9 15/16 in.); with mat: 33.3 x 40.5 cm (13 1/8 x 15 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1961.421.1
Artists at the Southern Song Painting Academy were often trained in illustrating poetry. Here, Ma Lin responds to a poem composed by Tang poet Wang Wei (701–about 761) and written by emperor Song Lizong: “I walk unto where waters end—And sit down to watch when clouds arise.” While two thirds of the round fan leaf remain empty, Ma Lin paints a scholar who gazes at a vast landscape panorama with a shore shrouded in mist and faint mountain ranges in the distance.
This leaf and the emperor's calligraphy were originally mounted together and must have made a precious imperial gift when bestowed on a worthy official or high dignitary.
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