Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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元 羅稚川 古木寒鴉圖 軸
Crows in Old Trees

Artist:
Luo Zhichuan (Chinese, active ca. 1300–30)
Period:
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Date:
early 14th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 52 x 31 5/8 in. (132.1 x 80.3 cm) Overall with mounting: 9 ft. 6 1/4 in. x 38 3/4 in. (290.2 x 98.4 cm) Overall with knobs: 9 ft. 6 1/4 in. x 42 1/2 in. (290.2 x 108 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1973
Accession Number:
1973.121.6
Not on view
This painting, by the southern artist Luo Zhichuan, demonstrates the renewed interest in the brush idioms of the Northern Song artists Li Cheng (919–967) and Guo Xi (ca. 1000–ca. 1090) that grew after the Mongol conquest forcefully reunified north and south China in 1279. Luo’s painting may be read as a bleak commentary on life under the Mongols, for the image of a wintry grove of trees has long been understood as a metaphor for likeminded men enduring political adversity. Similarly, the two male pheasants on the shore in the foreground symbolize scholars living in reclusion, while the varied pattern (wen) of their plumage is a symbol of literary cultivation (also wen). Luo contrasts their stoic endurance with the agitated movement of dozens of circling crows—a reference to petty opportunists.
#7359. Old Trees, Pheasants, and Crows in Winter
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Inscription: No artist’s signature or inscription

Artist's seals

Luo shi Zhichuan 羅氏稚川
Youxi hanmo 遊戲翰墨

Label strips

1. Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (C. C. Wang, 1907–2003), 1 column in standard-clerical script, undated; 1 illegible seal:

Anonymous Yuan painting, Crows in Old Trees, divine class. Authenticated by Zhenyuan [Wang Jiqian].

元人 《古木寒鴉圖》 神品。真園鑑定。

2. Artist unknown, 1 column in standard script, undated:

Song painter Li Yingqiu’s [Li Cheng’s, 919-967] Crows in Old Trees, a genuine work of the divine class.

宋李營丘 《古木寒鴉圖》 真跡,神品。

Collectors' seals

Yuan Zhongche 袁忠徹 (1377–1459)
Zhangun Tang 瞻袞堂
Nanchang Yuan shi jiacang zhenwan zisun yongbao 南昌袁氏家藏珍玩子孫永保

Illegible: 1
[ C. C. Wang Family , New York, until 1973; sold to MMA]
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," October 1, 1968–November 4, 1968.

New York. Asia House Gallery. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," January 9, 1969–February 2, 1969.

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.

Princeton University Art Museum. "Images of the Mind: Selections from the Edward L. Elliot Family and John B. Elliott Collections of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting at the Art Museum, Princeton University," April 15, 1984–June 17, 1984.

Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," April 17, 1986–June 1, 1986.

Kobe City Museum. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," June 7, 1986–July 13, 1986.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Images of the Mind: Selections from the Edward L. Elliot Family and John B. Elliott Collections of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting at the Art Museum, Princeton University," September 18, 1987–January 10, 1988.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Imperial Painting of the Ming Dynasty: The Zhe School," March 10, 1993–May 9, 1993.

Dallas Museum of Art. "Imperial Painting of the Ming Dynasty: The Zhe School," June 6, 1993–August 1, 1993.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Arts of Korea," June 7, 1998–January 24, 1999.

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. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bridging East and West: The Chinese Diaspora and Lin Yutang," September 15, 2007–February 10, 2008.

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

Shanghai Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Tang, Song and Yuan Paintings from America," November 3, 2012–January 3, 2013.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection I," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.

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