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: