Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

元 鮮于樞 歸去來辭
Ode on Returning Home

Artist:
Unidentified Artist
Artist:
After Qian Xuan (Chinese, ca. 1235–before 1307)
Artist:
Xianyu Shu (Chinese, 1246–1302)
Date:
14th–15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 42 x 10 1/4 in. (106.7 x 26 cm) Overall with mounting: 12 1/4 in. x 13 ft. 6 in. (31.1 x 411.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
13.220.124
Not on view
Qian Xuan was a celebrated Song loyalist who, following the Mongol conquest, supported himself through painting. Toward the end of his life, however, he complained that his works were being forged. Here, both the calligraphy and painting are modeled closely on Qian's style, suggesting that the work is a faithful copy.

Qian's composition was inspired by Tao Qian's (365–427) poem "Returning Home," written in 405 after Tao resigned from public office. In it, Tao expresses his preference for poverty over the compromises and constraints of official life, establishing forever the ideal of the home and garden as a personal retreat. Clearly, Qian saw Tao's poem as a reflection of his own life in reclusion. Using the archaic "blue-and-green" style in a new, purposefully naive manner, he created a dreamlike environment that exists outside the realm of temporal troubles. His poem, written to the left of the picture, is both an appreciation of Tao and an expression of his state of mind:

In front of his gate he plants five willows,
The eastern fence, he picked chrysanthemums.
In his long chant is a lingering purity,
There is never enough wine to sustain him.
To live in this world it is necessary to become deeply drunk,
To take office would only bring shame.
In a moment of inspiration he composes "Returning Home"
The poem of one thousand years.
Inscription: Artists’ inscriptions and signatures

1. Unidentified artist after Qian Xuan 錢選 (ca. 1235–before 1307), 5 columns in semi-cursive script, undated:

In front of his gate he plants five willows;
By the eastern fence, he picks chrysanthemums.
In his long chant is a lingering purity,
But there is never enough wine to sustain him.
To live in this world it is necessary to become deeply drunk,
For to take office would only bring shame.
In a moment of inspiration he composes “Returning Home”,
The poem of a thousand years.[1]
Qian Xuan, Shunju, from Wuxing [in Zhejiang Province]

衡門植五柳,東籬采叢菊。
長嘯有餘清,無奈酒不足。
當世宜沈酣,作邑召侮辱。
乘興賦歸歟,千載一辭獨。
吳興錢選舜舉

Artist's seals

Shunju 舜舉
Qian Xuan zhi yin 錢選之印
Qian shi 錢氏

2. Xianyu Shu 鮮于樞 (1246–1302), 43 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1300:

“Ode on Returning Home”

To get out of this and go back home!
My fields and garden will be overgrown with weeds–
I must go back.
It was my own doing that made my mind my body's slave
Why should I go on in melancholy and lonely grief?
I realize that there's no remedying the past
But I know that there's hope in the future.
After all I have not gone far on the wrong road
And I am aware that what I do today is right, yesterday wrong.
My boat rocks in the gentle breeze
Flap, flap, the wind blows my gown;
I ask a passerby about the road ahead,
Grudging the dimness of the light at dawn.
Then I catch sight of my cottage–
Filled with joy I run.
The servant boy comes to welcome me
My little son waits at the door.
The three paths are almost obliterated
But pines and chrysanthemums are still here.
Leading the children by the hand I enter my house
Where there is a bottle filled with wine.
I draw the bottle to me and pour myself a cup;
Seeing the trees in the courtyard brings joy to my face.
I lean on the south window and let my pride expand,
I consider how easy it is to be content with a little space.
Every day I stroll in the garden for pleasure,
There is a gate there, but it is always shut.
Cane in hand I walk and rest
Occasionally raising my head to gaze into the distance.
The clouds aimlessly rise from the peaks,
The birds, weary of flying, know it is time to come home.
As the sun's rays grow dim and disappear from view
I walk around a lonely pine tree, stroking it.

Back home again!
May my friendships be broken off and my wanderings come to an end.
The world and I shall have nothing more to do with one another.
If I were again to go abroad, what should I seek?
Here I enjoy honest conversation with my family
And take pleasure in books and cither to dispel my worries.
The farmers tell me that now spring is here
There will be work to do in the west fields.
Sometimes I call for a covered cart
Sometimes I row a lonely boat
Following a deep gully through the still water
Or crossing the hill on a rugged path.
The trees put forth luxuriant foliage,
The spring begins to flow in a trickle.
I admire the seasonableness of nature
And am moved to think that my life will come to its close.
It is all over–
So little time are we granted human form in the world!
Let us then follow the inclinations of the heart:
Where would we go that we are so agitated?
I have no desire for riches
And no expectation of Heaven.
Rather on some fine morning to walk alone
Now planting my staff to take up a hoe,
Or climbing the east hill and whistling long
Or composing verses beside the clear stream:
So I manage to accept my lot until the ultimate homecoming.
Rejoicing in Heaven's command, what is there to doubt?[2]
On the twelfth day of the eleventh [lunar] month in the gengzi year of the Dade reign era [December 23, 1300] Xianyu Shu wrote this in a guest house of Weiyang [Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province]. [Seals]: Xianyu, Boji yinzhang, Hulin yinli

歸去來辭
歸去來兮,田園將蕪胡不歸。既自以心為形役,奚惆悵而獨悲。悟已往之不諫,知來者之可追。實[迷]途其未遠,覺今是而昨非。舟搖搖以輕颺,風飄飄而吹衣。問往*征夫以前路,恨晨光之熹微。乃瞻衡宇,載欣載奔。僮僕歡迎,稚子候門。三逕就荒,松菊猶存。攜幼入室,有酒盈樽。引壺觴以自酌,眄庭柯以怡顏。倚南窓以寄傲,審容膝之易安。園日涉以成趣,門雖設而常關。策扶老以流憩,時矯首而遐觀。雲無心以出岫,鳥倦飛而知還。景翳翳以將入,撫孤松而盤桓。歸去來兮。請息交以絕遊,世與我而相違遺。復駕言兮焉求,悅親戚之情話,樂琴書以消憂。農人告余以春及,將有事于西疇。或命巾車,或棹孤舟,既窈窕以尋壑,亦崎嶇而經丘。木欣欣以向榮,泉涓涓而始流。善萬物之得時,感吾生之行休。已矣乎,寓形宇內復幾時,曷不委心任去留。胡為乎遑遑欲何之,富貴非吾願,帝鄉不可期。懷良辰以孤往,或植杖而耘耔。登東皐以舒嘯,臨清流而賦詩。聊乘化以歸盡,樂夫天命復奚疑。
大德庚子十一月十二日鮮于樞書於維陽客舍。

Artist’s seals

鮮于
伯幾印章
虎林隱吏

Other inscriptions on the painting

1. Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525–1590):

Chu 處 (inventory character)

2. Qing emperor Qianlong 清帝乾隆 (r. 1736–1795), 8 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals:

On returning home, Quanming [Tao Yuanming] composed an unadorned ode.
Abstaining from society, he drowned his pride in wine.
Avoiding fame, he ironically remains a luminary through the thousand years;
His journey on boat has been a favorite subject among painters.
Inscribed by Emperor Qianlong [Seals]: Jixia yiqing, Qianlong chenhan

泉明歸去賦清辭,寄傲壺觴謝世知。
千載隱名偏藉甚,畫圖每寫泛舟時。
乾隆御題。 [印]: 幾暇怡情、乾隆宸翰

Label strip

Unidentified artist (18th c.), 1 column in standard script, undated (mounted in front of the frontispiece):

Qian Xuan’s painting of Tao Qian’s [Tao Yuanming, 365–427] “Ode on Returning Home”

錢選畫陶潛 《歸去來辭圖》

Frontispiece

Unidentified artist (14th c.), 1 line in seal script, undated:

Painting of Returning Home

歸去來圖

Collectors' seals

Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525–1590)
天籟閣
墨林山人
神品
寄敖
項叔子
退密
項墨林父秘笈之印
欈李項氏世家寶玩
項墨林鑑賞章
墨林堂
宮保世家
子京所藏
墨林
桃花源裏人家
子京父印
虛朗齋
項氏子京
鴛鴦湖長

Li Zhousheng李周生 (active 17th c.)
永昌

Qing emperor Qianlong 清帝乾隆 (r. 1736–1795)
乾隆御覽之寳
乾隆鑑賞
石渠寳笈
宜子孫
三希堂精鋻璽
石渠定鋻
寳笈重編
五福五代堂古稀天子寳
太上皇帝之寳
淳化軒
淳化軒圖書珍秘寳
乾隆宸翰
信天主人
古希天子

八徵耄念之寳

Unidentified
周季良氏
復卦 [one of the 64 hexagrams]
郭氏家藏
軍司馬印

Illegible: 2

[1] Trans. by Wai-kam Ho in Sherman E. Lee and Wai-Kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368), Exh. cat. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1968, cat. no. 184. Modified by Wen C. Fong, in Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, p. 316.

[2] Trans. by James Robert Hightower, The Poetry of T'ao Ch'ien, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970, pp. 268–70.
Related Objects

Karaki Masaemon

Date: 19th century Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper Accession: JP212.49 On view in:Not on view

Incense container

Date: 19th century Medium: Maki-e lacquer with inlay of cloisonne, ceramic and shell Accession: 1975.268.180a, b On view in:Not on view

Early Evening in Yoshiwara Inn

Date: 19th century Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper Accession: JP1093.4 On view in:Not on view

Portrait of Shun'oku Myōha (1311–1388)

Date: ca. 1383 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk Accession: 2007.329 On view in:Not on view

Emperor Guan

Date: ca. 1700 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk Accession: 2001.442 On view in:Not on view