(Chinese, 1508–c. 1578)
Handscroll; ink and light color on paper
Image: 31.4 x 355.2 cm (12 3/8 x 139 13/16 in.); Overall: 37 x 989.4 cm (14 9/16 x 389 1/2 in.)
The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1977.56
This painting has a scene showing two small crafts, each manned by two fishermen, practicing a traditional fishing method. In one of them, a man uses a bamboo pole to direct the movements of a cormorant bird sent into the water. Cormorant fishing, witnessed in some areas of the lower Yangzi River, appears in Zhe school paintings. Qian Gu may have borrowed these narrative figure scenes from Zhe school paintings, while his vantage point, brushwork, and soft tones align with the Wu school style. Scenes of fishermen appealed to urban and educated audiences who idealized the self-sufficient independence of fisherfolk.
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