Image: 138 1/4 x 29 1/4 in. (351.2 x 74.3 cm)
Overall: 169 1/2 x 39 in. (430.5 x 99.1 cm)
Overall with knobs: 169 1/2 x 43 1/2 in. (430.5 x 110.5 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
Rising to the position of minister of rites under the Ming, Wang Duo joined several other high officials in surrendering Nanjing to the advancing Manchu armies in 1645, and subsequently retained his title under the new regime. Likened to twisting rattan or contorted cypress branches, Wang Duo's writing, in contrast to the graceful, suave calligraphy of Dong Qichang (1555–1636), is appreciated for its freedom and boldness. In this monumental writing, done in Wang's running script, the brush moves in a brusque, throbbing rhythm. The large work was taken from the table immediately after it was written, causing the rich black ink to run in a few places.
Wang composed this poem at a friend's banquet: At dusk, in a lonely pavilion, I bring a ewer of wine while the moon is new. The river and the sky are wide and far, A temple in the mist disappears into the emptiness. Several fishing boats hide in the distance, Behind sparse ancient trees from a former dynasty. How the thought of the barbarian threat follows me, I shall not write about it in my letters home.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (4 columns in semi-cursive script)