Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper
Image: 112.5 x 52 cm (44 5/16 x 20 1/2 in.); Overall: 233 x 70.5 cm (91 3/4 x 27 3/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1999.6
Xugu was a military commander and then a Buddhist priest before becoming a major figure in Shanghai's art scene.
The loquat is a plant native to China that produces a juicy, yellow fruit in early summer. The artist may have intentionally extended the branches beyond the paper to emphasize their abundance of fruit. Xugu inscribed his painting on the right, dedicating the work to a certain Mr. Youshan. Two additional inscriptions by other writers were added later, each time the painting changed owners.
Xugu gave up his career as a military official during the Taiping rebellion (1850–64) and became an itinerant monk who painted for a living. He spent the later years of his life in Shanghai and his fame as an artist is associated with that city.
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