Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Passage from Tao Qian's "Returning Home"

Artist:
Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636)
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on gold paper
Dimensions:
6 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (17.5 x 50.5 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.97
Not on view
Court politics caused Dong Qichang to retire from office three times during his government career. This fan conveys Dong's eloquent response to political intrigue. Quoting a passage from the recluse-poet Tao Qian's (365-427) Returning Home, Dong's spacious and graceful calligraphy reflects his ability to rise above worldly affairs:

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.

(James Robert Hightower, trans.)
Signature: Signed, undated, one artist's seal.

Inscription:
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.

(Trans. James Robert Hightower)

Marking: Collector's seals:
Pan Zhengwei (1791–1636)
John M. Crawford, Jr.
Related Objects

Landscape in the Style of Mi Fu

Artist: Attributed to Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636) Date: dated 1611 and 1612 Medium: Handscroll; ink on satin Accession: 55.211.1 On view in:Not on view

Landscapes after old masters

Artist: Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636) Date: dated 1630 Medium: Album of eight leaves; ink on paper Accession: 1986.266.5a–k On view in:Not on view

Shaded Dwellings among Streams and Mountains

Artist: Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636) Date: ca. 1622–25 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 1979.75.2 On view in:Gallery 216

Poem in Cursive Script

Artist: Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636) Date: ca. 1622–25 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on silk Accession: 1979.500.3 On view in:Not on view

Spring Mountains over Warm Greenery

Artist: Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636) Date: dated 1630 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 1989.363.102 On view in:Not on view