Edward Elliott Family Collection, Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1982
Not on view
This painting is a rebus or pictorial pun, that conveys a wish for success on an examination. The Chinese title of the painting, Yuan lu ("gibbons and deer"), is a homophone for the expression "First [place gains] power." Thus, the painting must be read as a text, its images read as words.
Marking: The owners of the seal impressed in the upper right corner and the half seals placed across the left and right edges of the composition are as yet unidentified. Traces of red pigment in the lower left corner suggest that a fourth seal, now effaced, may have once been impressed there.
[ David L. Elliott , West Palm Beach, FL, 1981; 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.