Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Quatrain by Meng Haoran

Artist:
Emperor Lizong (Chinese, 1205–64, r. 1224–64)
Period:
Song dynasty (960–1279)
Date:
ca. 1260–64
Culture:
China
Medium:
Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 9 × 9 5/8 in. (22.9 × 24.4 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.19
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210
Like most imperial calligraphies, this fan is not signed or dated, but its distinctive writing style— the same as that of the couplet mounted together with Ma Lin's Landscape at Sunset (Nezu Museum, Tokyo) and dated 1254—clearly identifies it as a work by Lizong. The round seal showing the trigram qian ("Heaven"), used only by the emperor, confirms its imperial pedigree. The poem, though composed by Meng Haoran (689–740), perfectly describes the kind of atmospheric qualities that thirteenth-century painters, such as Ma Lin and Liang Kai, sought to evoke pictorially:

In the Chan meditation hall, on the mountaintop, hangs a priest's robe.
There is no one outside the window, only birds flying by a stream.
As dusk half envelops the mountain path,
I hear the bells toll over the endless greenery.

(Wen C. Fong, trans., in Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992], p. 239)
Inscription: Artist's inscription (4 columns in semi-cursive script)

In the meditation hall on the mountain hangs a monk's robe.
There is nobody in sight, only birds fly about the stream.
As dusk half envelops the mountain path,
The sound of a bell reverberates through the endless greenery.[1]

山頭禪室挂僧衣,
牎外無人溪鳥飛。
黃昏半在山下路,
卻聼鐘聲連翠微。

Artist’s seals

乾卦
御書 [half-seal]

Collectors' seals

An Qi 安岐 (ca. 1683–ca. 1744)
儀周珍藏

Pan Zhengwei 潘正煒 (1791–1850)
季彤曾觀

Pan Yanling 潘延齡 (19th c.)
曾藏潘健庵處

Xiang Hanping 香翰屏 (1890–1978)
曾藏香氏夢詩廬

Ho Lifu 何麗甫 (late 19th or 20th c.)
麗父所藏

Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988)
顧洛阜
漢光閣

Illegible: 2

[1] The poem is a transcription of Meng Haoran’s 孟浩然 (689–740) “過融上人蘭若”. Translation from Department records.
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