Attributed to Emperor Xiaozong (Chinese, 1127–1194; r. 1163–89)
Song dynasty (960–1279)
ca. 12th century
Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on silk
9 x 9 5/8 in. (22.9 x 24.4 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210
The individual brush mannerisms of this couplet, though stylistically related to the calligraphy of Emperor Gaozong (1107–1187), to whom it has traditionally been attributed, compare most closely with those found in Eulogy on Calligraphy by Gaozong's son, Xiaozong. This attribution is supported by the fan's three-character dedication to [Zhao] Zhizhong, a eunuch in Xiaozong's service. The imperial seal impressed over the dedication that reads "Treasure of imperial writing," as well as the unequal spacing between characters in the right-hand line, a feature that reveals a degree of spontaneity in execution unlikely from a scribe, further corroborate the conclusion that this piece is from the emperor's own hand.
The couplet describes the stillness of a pond at evening: Above the pond, a thin mist envelops the emerald green; At water's edge, the late sun plays with dragonflies.
Inscription: Artist's inscription (3 columns in standard script)
Above the pond, a thin mist envelops the emerald green; At water's edge, the late sun plays with dragonflies. Bestowed on [Zhao] Zhizhong.
池上疎煙籠翡翠， 水邊遟日戲蜻蜓。 賜志忠。
Pan Zhengwei 潘正煒 (1791–1850) 河陽潘氏書畫 希世之寳
Pan Yanling 潘延齡 (19th c.) 潘延齡印
Xiang Hanping 香翰屏 (1890–1978) 曾藏香氏夢詩廬
He Guanwu 何冠五 (20th c.) 冠五清賞
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988) 漢光閣主顧洛阜鑑藏中國古代書畫之章