Art/ Collection/ Art Object

元 鄧宇 竹石圖 軸
Bamboo and rock

Deng Yu (Chinese, ca. 1300–after 1378)
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
ca. 1360–67
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Image: 53 3/16 x 16 5/8 in. (135.1 x 42.2 cm) Overall with mounting: 104 1/4 x 23 7/8 in. (264.8 x 60.6 cm) Overall with knobs: 104 1/4 x 27 1/8 in. (264.8 x 68.9 cm)
Credit Line:
From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Oscar L. Tang, 1991
Accession Number:
Not on view
Deng Yu, a leading late Yuan literary Daoist, joined the Orthodox Unity sect of Daoism at the age of twelve. By 1360 he had become the abbot of a Daoist temple in Wenzhou, near the Zhejiang coast, and in 1371 he accompanied the 42nd Celestial Master to the Ming capital, where he repeatedly performed miracles of rainmaking.

Bamboo and Rock, executed according to the precepts of the early Yuan scholar-artist Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322), demonstrates Deng's familiarity with the literati aesthetic of calligraphic painting. The bamboo leaves are done in clerical script; the stalks, in seal script; and the rocks, drawn in mixed ink tones, simulate the "flying-white" style of calligraphy. A poem inscribed by Liu Renben, the governor-general of Wenzhou under the rebel leader Fang Guozhen, establishes the date of Deng's painting:

After fog and rain, in Jiangnan,
Few friends of integrity remain.
As autumn fills the shores of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers,
Clouds paint the bamboo a deep green.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (2 columns in semi-cursive script)

[Deng] Zifang painted this for Chuxian.


Artist's seals

Deng Zifang 鄧子方
Huhai weiguan 湖海偉觀

Other inscriptions on the painting[1]

1. Lian Dewang 連德望 (14th c.), 3 columns in clerical script, undated; 3 seals:

Lush verdant jades tilt left and right,
Moist from the spring clouds and morning haze.
Gazing toward the faraway Xiang River, they think of the nymphs
Crossing the water to the south amid green banners in a mist.
Lian Wuyun [Lian Desheng] from Tiantai (in Zhejiang Province)

天台連五雲 [印]: 可可軒、五雲私印、連氏德望

2. Liu Renben 劉仁本 (died 1367), 4 columns in standard script, undated; 2 seals:

After fog and rain, in Jiangnan
Few friends of integrity remain.
As autumn fills the shores of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers,
Clouds paint the bamboo a deep green.

羽庭 [印]: 劉氏德玄、羽庭

3. Meng [Zhiying?] 孟 [志穎?], 3 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals:

Standing with a delicate grace, she hovers over the green…,
Overwhelmed by a chill from the wind and dew.
In bright moonlight, she feels like a dream companion;
Deep in the night a mouth-organ is playing….
Meng Zhiying

孟志穎 [印]: 孟氏子貞、一印不辨

[1] Translations from Department records.
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