Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

清 八大山人 (朱耷) 蓮塘戲禽圖 卷
Birds in a lotus pond

Artist:
Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705)
Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
ca. 1690
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on satin
Dimensions:
10 3/4 x 80 3/4 in. (27.3 x 205.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.135
Not on view
Focusing on a narrow band of the natural world, Birds in a Lotus Pond, datable stylistically to about 1690, shows the artist boldly experimenting with the highly absorbent medium of satin to create a daring composition of saturated ink lines and dots starkly set against a blank background. The scroll opens with the daringly abstract form of a torn lotus leaf that is precariously suspended from its bent stalk, which extends leftward above a cluster of half-hidden blossoms. The black leaf stands in contrast to a stark white boulder, defined only by its ink outline. Two fluffy chicks perch atop this boulder, apparently oblivious to their surroundings. On the shore beyond crouch two mynahs, their glances directed upward toward a final lotus leaf that looms above them. Balanced on the back of the second mynah is another tiny chick, its beak open in song or hunger.

The birds appear to personify the interaction of dark and light that animates the entire composition; the human-like expressions with which Bada has imbued them adds an unsettling quality to the already enigmatic composition.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (2 columns in semi-cursive script)

Engagements in a mountain dwelling. Bada Shanren

山房涉事
八大山人

Artist’s seals

Sheshi 涉事
Bada Shanren 八大山人
Bada Shanren 八大山人

Label strip

Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 1 column in seal script, undated:
Birds in a Lotus Pond painted by Bada Shanren, a treasure in the Dafeng Tang Hall.
八大山人 《蓮塘戲禽圖》,大風堂供養

Collectors’ seals

Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983)
Bieshi rongyi 別時容易
Qiu tu bao gurou qing 球圖寶骨肉情
Dafeng Tang Jianjiang Kuncan Xuege Kugua moyuan 大風堂漸江髡殘雪箇苦瓜墨緣
Nan bei dong xi zhiyou xiangsui wu bieli 南北東西只有相隨無別離

Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988)
Hanguang Ge zhu Gu Luofu jiancang Zhongguo gudai shuhua zhi zhang 漢光閣主顧洛阜鑑藏中國古代書畫之章
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜
Hanguang Ge 漢光閣

Unidentified
Wuyun shoucang 務耘收藏

Illegible: 1
Related Objects

Letters to Fang Shiguan

Artist: Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705) Date: datable to ca. 1688–1705 Medium: Album of ten leaves; ink on patterned and plain paper Accession: 1982.458a–e On view in:Not on view

Letter by Li Zhi

Artist: Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705) Date: dated 1702 Medium: Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on paper Accession: 1989.363.139 On view in:Not on view

After Wang Xizhi's (303?-361?) "Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Gathering"

Artist: Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705) Date: ca. 1694–96 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 1989.363.136 On view in:Not on view

Two eagles

Artist: Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705) Date: dated 1702 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 2014.721 On view in:Not on view

Album

Artist: Attributed to Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) (Chinese, 1626–1705) Medium: Album of twelve paintings; ink wash on paper Accession: 54.34a–l On view in:Not on view