Old Pine Tree

Old Pine Tree


late 1530s

Wen Zhengming 文徵明

(Chinese, 1470-1559)

Handscroll, ink on paper

Painting: 28 x 139.3 cm (11 x 54 13/16 in.); Overall: 29.3 x 596.9 cm (11 9/16 x 235 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1964.43



Here the natural appearance of a gnarled and vine-entangled pine has been transformed into a rhythmic abstraction of brushstrokes and ink tonalities, with unifying opposites—opening and closing, rising and falling—that provide the design across the horizontal scroll. The artist's inscription reads: "The force of change beyond restraint; / The dragon's whiskers are likened to a forest of spears."

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