Album of Miscellaneous Subjects

Elephant, Horse, and Hare


Min Zhen 閔貞

(Chinese, 1730–after 1788)
Overall single page: 36.8 x 22.1 cm (14 1/2 x 8 11/16 in.); Painting: 29 x 18.4 cm (11 7/16 x 7 1/4 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The artist might have seen an elephant in the imperial zoo when he worked in Beijing from 1773 to 1784.


Min Zhen, who was orphaned at age 12 and developed an eccentric personality, was trained by Tang Yin (1682–1756), a writer, playwright, and superintendent of the imperial porcelain workshops in Jingdezhen. The connection to him may have enabled Min to stay in Beijing for a decade from around 1773. It is not clear whether he ever resided in Yangzhou, but his style is in many instances reminiscent of that of Yangzhou artist Huang Shen.

The album was painted for the artist's friend Dailili Shanren in exchange for a scholar’s stone. The paintings demonstrate Min Zhen’s versatility and mature style in the last years of his life. This leaf, Elephant, Horse, and Hare, seems to exhibit a contest, and may be associated with the recipient’s affinity to Buddhism (elephant), Confucianism (horse), and Daoism (hare).
Elephant, Horse, and Hare

Elephant, Horse, and Hare


Min Zhen

(Chinese, 1730–after 1788)
China, Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

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