Image: 81 1/2 x 25 in. (207 x 63.5 cm)
Overall: 130 x 34 1/2 in. (330.2 x 87.6 cm)
Overall with rollers: 130 x 36 1/2 in. (330.2 x 92.7 cm)
The C. C. Wang Family Collection, Gift of C. C. Wang, 1997
Not on view
Wang Ao, a native of Suzhou, was one of the most famous literary figures of his day. He also enjoyed a successful career at the court, rising to the position of grand secretary and junior tutor to the emperor.
Wang created this scroll at the height of his court career as a farewell present for fellow official Wu Yan (1457–1519). Wu had been deputized by the emperor to serve as an honorary escort to his uncle Xu Pu (1428–1499), when Xu retired from the Grand Secretariat. Following the poem, Wang added a note describing this event and signed the piece with all his court titles, thus transforming a private gift into a powerful public testimonial of Wu's honorary role as the emperor's emissary.
As befits this kind of formal presentation piece, Wang wrote his text in dramatic large-scale characters that show off to maximum advantage his distinctive style of lean angular brushwork with its sharp firm movements. In recent years, the scroll was a treasured possession of the artist and collector C. C. Wang, who also comes from Suzhou and traces his family lineage to Wang Ao.
Inscription: Artist's inscription and signature (10 columns in semi-cursive script)