Hanging scroll; ink on silk
Painting: 164.6 x 94.6 cm (64 13/16 x 37 1/4 in.); Overall with knobs: 260.6 x 126.3 cm (102 5/8 x 49 3/4 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1974.26
The painting portrays the plum in the nighttime, as indicated by the tint of the background and the presence of the moon.
The plum flourishes in the mild climate of the south, and it was not before the Six Dynasties period (220– 589 CE) that the motif began to be appreciated by southern artists, many of whom had emigrated from the north.
Wang Mian from Zhejiang province had failed the civil and military service examinations and later rejected appointments under the Mongol government. Instead, he chose to return home, making a living by selling plum paintings. Few of Wang’s works have survived, but they demonstrate that by his time the ink-plum (momei) genre was fully developed.
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