Image: 13 1/16 in. × 12 ft. 3 1/4 in. (33.2 × 374 cm)
Overall with mounting: 13 7/16 in. × 32 ft. 7 3/16 in. (34.1 × 993.6 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of The Dillon Fund, 1973
Not on view
Zhao Mengjian, a member of the Song imperial family and an accomplished scholar and calligrapher, specialized in painting narcissi and raised the flower to the level of the orchid in the esteem of scholars. Offering the promise of spring, the narcissus is known in Chinese as the "water goddess" (shuixian) or the "goddess who stands above the waves" (lingbo xianzi). The fragrant blossoms are associated with the two goddesses of the Xiang River and, by extension, with Qu Yuan (343–277 b.c.), author of Li Sao (On Encountering Sorrow). Qu Yuan, a loyal minister of the state of Chu, drowned himself in a tributary of the Xiang River after failing to alert his prince of the imminent danger threatening the state.
In a poem appended to the scroll after the Mongol conquest, the Song loyalist Qiu Yuan (1247–after 1327) describes Zhao's narcissi as the only vision of life in an otherwise devastated land:
The shiny bronze dish is upset, and the immortals' dew spilled; The bright jade cup is smashed, like broken coral. I pity the narcissus for not being the orchid. Which at least had known the sober minister from Chu.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Wang Tongyu 王同愈 (1855–after 1941), 1 column in standard script, undated; 1 seal:
宋趙子固 《凌波圖》真蹟。密韻樓 珍祕，栩緣題。 [印]： 王同愈印
1. Zhou Mi 周密 (1232–1308), 10 columns in semi-cursive/standard script, undated; 4 seals:
Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (C. C. Wang, 1907–2003) 王季遷海外所見名跡 王季遷氏審定真跡 震澤王氏寳武堂圖書記 季遷珍藏 曾藏王季遷處 延陵 寳武堂 寳武堂印 此中有何好秀色妙滿眼 平淡天真 心賞 懷雲樓
Unidentified: 其求世業 子孫保之 無等庵收藏印
Chu Deyi 褚德彜 Wuxing, Zhejiang Province, China ; Wu Puxin 吳普心 , Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China ; Zuyi Jiang , Wuxing, Zhejing Province, China ; C. C. Wang Family , New York (by 1949–1973; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Song and Yuan Paintings: Exhibition of Newly Acquired Chinese Paintings," November 1, 1973–January 20, 1974.
London. British Museum. "Song and Yuan Paintings," November 7, 1975–January 4, 1976.
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy," April 6, 1977–June 27, 1977.
University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy," September 20, 1977–November 27, 1977.
Kyoto National Museum. "Kachō no bi: kaiga to ishō," October 5, 1982–November 13, 1982.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peach Blossom Spring," November 21, 1983–June 3, 1984.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the C.C.Wang Family Collection," September 2, 1999–January 9, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cultivated Landscapes: Reflections of Nature in Chinese Painting with Selections from the Collection of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill," September 10, 2002–February 9, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan II," March 22, 2003–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12, 2004–August 8, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 10, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection I," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.