Autumn Landscape (hanging scroll)
100 1/2 x 28 1/4 in. (255.3 x 71.8 cm)
(Haiyang, Anhui Province, 1615 - 1698, Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province)
Medium and Support:
Ink on paper
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Not currently on view
When the Ming Dynasty fell in 1644, Zha Shibiao, like many Chinese scholars of the day, retired from public life and devoted himself exclusively to literary and aesthetic pursuits. In this scroll, Zha paints the time-honored theme of a lonely figure – perhaps a scholar-poet-painter, perhaps the artist himself – contemplating nature. Standing on a ledge overlooking a river, he gazes at the mountains beyond. His servant, seen through the tall group of trees at the lower right, waits patiently below. The trees, with clusters of leaves barely clinging to their branches, make it clear that this painting shows the melancholy season of autumn.
The wistful tone of the painting is reflected in the poem inscribed in the upper left:
Shadows billow in the deep-green of the mountains,
The air is still, yet reverberates with wind-sound.
Exhilarated, I wish to exhaust the limitless vistas.
The evening sun fades, diminishing the view.