Poet Fisherman

Poet Fisherman

장지화 어부사 (張志和漁父詞)

1800s

Album leaf from a set; ink and color on silk

Overall: 22.5 x 24 cm (8 7/8 x 9 7/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1990.70

Description

This album leaf depicts the 8th-century Chinese official and Daoist scholar Zhang Zhihe sitting on a raft buffeted by waves. He drinks wine from a small cup, and gazes up at a crane flying above him. Behind him are two large jars, one covered with an overturned lotus leaf. The handle of a ladle emerges from the other. His fishing rod is balanced at his side, but its line is twisted uselessly. Based on its iconography, the painting is likely modeled after an image from an illustrated woodblock edition of the Chinese text Liexian Zuan (Biographies of Exemplary Immortals). The biographical inscription above him reads, "he is a recluse among the rivers and lakes. He calls himself ‘Fishing Disciple Amidst Mists and Waves.’ He is always fishing without bait for Zhi has no need for fish." A rectangular seal in relief appears to the right of the inscription, while a square seal in relief appears to the left. Neither is legible.

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