Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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元/明 佚名 竹鶴雙清圖 軸
Crane in a bamboo grove

Artist:
Unidentified Artist Chinese, 14th–early 15th century
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
14th–early 15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 65 5/16 x 39 11/16 in. (165.9 x 100.8 cm) Overall with mounting: 65 5/16 x 39 11/16 in. (165.9 x 100.8 cm) Overall with knobs: 118 1/4 x 49 1/2 in. (300.4 x 125.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Crane Co., 1991
Accession Number:
1991.378
Not on view
A favorite image in Chinese society and a familiar presence in imperial gardens as well as refined scholarly retreats, cranes were also renowned as the vehicles of Daoist immortals. Their long life span and loyalty to a single mate made them symbols of longevity and faithfulness. Here, a Manchurian crane, identified by its distinctive red forehead, strolls through a corner of the palace garden. Stopping in midstride and turning its head, the bird has just been startled by a branch of bamboo that has brushed against its tail feathers.

One of only a handful of such large-scale images of birds to survive from the late Yuan or early Ming dynasty, this painting derives its subject from a composition by the emperor Huizong (r. 1100–25), who painted a set of six cranes in different poses. The complex branch structure of the twisting bamboo and the intricate detail of the bird's plumage—with every filament of the feathers carefully delineated—reveal a level of naturalistic description that predates the more conventionalized images of cranes created by the Ming court painter Bian Wenjin (ca. 1354–1428).
Inscription: Artist's seal

Zhao Boju 趙伯駒 (late 11th–early 12th c.) (spurious)
Qianli 千里

Collector’s seal

Illegible: 1
Charles Lang Freer , Detroit (until 1916; gave to Woolley); ; Clarence M. Woolley , Michigan (1916–1930; present to Crane Co.); ; Crane Co. Stamford, CT (1930–1991; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peach Blossom Spring," November 21, 1983–June 3, 1984.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.

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. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.

Cincinnati Art Museum. "Decoded Messages: The Symbolic Language of Chinese Animal Painting," October 9, 2009–January 3, 2010.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Yuan Revolution: Art and Dynastic Change," August 21, 2010–January 9, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.

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