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(Chinese, 1525-c. 1606)
Album leaf; ink and color on silk
Sheet: 26.4 x 28.4 cm (10 3/8 x 11 3/16 in.)
The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1998.78.2
By the 1500s, visits to historic and scenic sites in the lower Yangzi delta stimulated an increase of printed illustrated travel books. Topographical depictions of local scenery flourished.
Leaves from this album illustrates sites around Lake Tai of the two adjacent counties Changxing and Wuxing (modern Huzhou). Song Xu, who lived intermittently in Jiaxing and Songjiang, must have passed through Wuxing by boat and thus knew the region.
The paintings are inscribed with gazetteerlike notations, suggesting that the album was produced for clients as commemorative works, a travel guide, or for “armchair travel” (woyou) in one’s mind.
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