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1600 - 1800

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Autumn Landscape (hanging scroll)

100 1/2 x 28 1/4 in. (255.3 x 71.8 cm)

Zha Shibiao
Chinese (Haiyang, Anhui Province, 1615 - 1698, Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Ink on paper
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1964.6
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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,
Ten-thousand rock-walls.
The air is still, yet reverberates with wind-sound.
Exhilarated, I wish to exhaust the limitless vistas.
The evening sun fades, diminishing the view.

Frank Caro (dealer), New York; purchased from him by the Gallery in 1964

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