Zhou Wenjing (Chinese, active ca. 1430–after 1463)
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 35 15/16 x 16 1/2 in. (91.3 x 41.9 cm)
Overall with mounting: 79 1/2 x 21 5/16 in. (201.9 x 54.1 cm)
Overall with knobs: 79 1/2 x 23 1/8 in. (201.9 x 58.7 cm)
Edward Elliott Family Collection, Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1981
Not on view
Zhou Wenjing served as a court painter in the Beijing imperial palace. His artistic abilities became known when he was summoned to court as a soothsayer and won first prize in a painting competition sponsored by the Xuande emperor (r. 1426–35). Zhou was still active as a court painter in 1463.
This small hanging scroll elucidates Ming accounts describing how Zhou Wenjing followed the styles of both the Southern Song Academy master Xia Gui (act. ca. 1190–1225) and the Yuan scholar-painter Wu Zhen (1280–1354). The painting's large proportion of empty space, the intimate focus, and the use of mineral colors on silk recall the highly selective "one-corner" landscapes of the Song Academy. Zhou's intentionally naive rendering of figures and calligraphic treatment of foreground grasses and foliage patterning, however, are derived from scholar paintings of the late Yuan. This painting probably decorated a small panel or screen in the living quarters of the palace.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (2 columns in semi-cursive script)
Painted by Sanshan, Zhou Wenjing, while serving in the Renzhi Palace.
三翠軒 叔理 一印不辨
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10, 2007–August 26, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.