Image: 12 7/8 x 371 1/2 in. (32.7 x 943.6 cm)
Overall with mounting: 14 5/8 x 463 1/8 in. (37.1 x 1176.3 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
Poet, calligrapher, and bon vivant, Zhu Yunming was one of the most prominent and colorful literary figures of the Ming period. Except for a brief official career as a magistrate in Guangdong Province from 1515 to about 1520, Zhu passed most of his life in the Suzhou area enjoying scholarly pastimes in the company of such friends as Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Tang Yin (1470–1523).
An uninhibited, highly creative calligrapher, Zhu is best known for his "wild" cursive script inspired by the Tang dynasty masters Zhang Xu (ca. 700–750) and Huaisu (ca. 735–800?) and by the Song scholar-poet Huang Tingjian (1045–1105). Prose Poem on Fishing, nearly twenty-seven feet long, is a tour de force of sustained creative energy. Written on coarse paper "by lamplight" with a "worn brush," the rounded and thick brushstrokes have a blunt strength that distinguishes this writing from Zhu's usually more carefully executed and gracefully modulated characters.