(Chinese, 1711-aft 1754)
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Image: 199.1 x 94 cm (78 3/8 x 37 in.); Mounted: 260.2 x 106 cm (102 7/16 x 41 3/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1976.112
Li Shan was born into a family of scholars and officials in Yangzhou. The wealth and status of Li's family assured him of an educational and cultural advantage, including his appointment at court. The subjects Li Shan chose to paint—orchids, bamboo, pines, and flowers—reflected his literati background. Five Pine Trees, painted late in his career, is a large, impressive work. A realistic treatment of the subject is subordinated to the abstract interplay of richly modulated ink which forms the trees and the casual semicursive script interspersed among the branches. Li thus illustrates the kinship between calligraphy and painting.