The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 4, 2024

Elephant, Horse, and Hare

Elephant, Horse, and Hare

(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

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).
  • 1788–?
    Daili Shanren 戴笠山人 [active late 1700s]
    Ni Yun 倪耘 [d. 1864]
    Yan Shiqing 顏世清 [1873–1929]
    Xu Xiaopu 徐小圃 [1887–1961]
    c. mid-1900s
    Ding Nianxian 丁念先 [1906–1969]
    (Eskenazi Ltd., London, England, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Ding, Nianxian 丁念先. Nian sheng lou du hua xiao ji [念聖樓讀畫小紀 = Chinese calligraphy and painting of various dynasties in the collection of Nianshenglou]. Taibei: Wen xing za zhi she, 1961. Mentioned: p. 41, no. 85
    Fukunaga, Takehiko 福永武彥, and Howard L. Rogers. Kinnō, Bunjinga suihen. chiyūgo (9) 金農, 文人画粋編. 中国篇 9. Tōkyō: Chūōkoronsha, 1976. Mentioned and Reproduced: pls. 94–97, p. 179, fig. 30
    Sotheby's, Parke, Bernet, New York. Fine Chinese Paintings. June 3, 1985 sale. Mentioned and Reproduced: cat. no. 69
    Chou, Ju-hsi and Anita Chung. Silent poetry: Chinese paintings from the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2015. Reproduced: pp. 462–465
  • When Salt was Gold: Yangzhou, City of Riches and Art (Chinese art rotation). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (May 12-November 5, 2023).
    Gallery 122 Rotation. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (January 26–April 26, 2000).
    Gallery 122 Rotation. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (March 27–June 25, 2001).
  • {{cite web|title=Elephant, Horse, and Hare|url=false|author=Min Zhen|year=1788|access-date=04 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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