The Ninth Day Literary Gathering at Xing’an

The Ninth Day Literary Gathering at Xing’an

1743

Fang Shishu

(Chinese, 1693-1751)

and Ye Fanglin

(Chinese, late 1600s-mid-1700s)

Handscroll, ink and color on silk

Image: 32.4 x 201.2 cm (12 3/4 x 79 3/16 in.); Overall: 33.5 x 893 cm (13 3/16 x 351 9/16 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1979.72

Description

This group portrait and commemorative work keeps alive the memory of a literary gathering held in 1743 at a private garden in Yangzhou.

Refined merchants and art patrons, the brothers Ma Yueguan and Ma Yuelu constructed a private garden in Yangzhou as a place of leisure. It was named Temporary Retreat (Xing'an). In 1743, on the 9th day of the 9th month (the Chongyang Festival), they invited members of a poetry club to gather at the garden. There, a portrait of the ancient poet Tao Qian by Qiu Ying was hung, yellow chrysanthemums were picked, and white wine offered. Improvising on the rhythms of a Du Fu poem, they composed poetry, drinking and humming the whole day.

This painting was done a month after the event by the portraitist Ye Fanglin and landscape artist Fang Shishu (one of the guests of the gathering). Upon completion, the participants wrote down individual compositions to accompany the painting.

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