late Yuan (1271–1368)–early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty
Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk
9 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (24.1 x 24.8 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913
Not on view
Under a pair of willow trees, eighteen sheep spread across a summer meadow, some munching on grass, some nursing, others relaxing. While they rest, the young shepherd climbs one of the willows in pursuit of the contents of a bird’s nest. The overall tone is highly auspicious: the number eighteen suggests prosperity, while the mothers with children point to a wish for many offspring. The symbolism would have made this a suitable gift, particularly in the Year of the Ram.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, undated:
[ John C. Ferguson , 1913; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebration of the Year of the Ram," January 17, 2015–April 12, 2015.