Image: 87 3/4 x 30 in. (222.9 x 76.2 cm)
Overall with mounting: 132 1/4 x 37 3/8 in. (335.9 x 94.9 cm)
Overall with knobs: 132 1/4 x 41 in. (335.9 x 104.1 cm)
Edward Elliott Family Collection, Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1984
Not on view
Shitao, one of the most outstanding landscape masters of his time, was also passionately in love with bamboo painting. On this monumental work, he quotes a description by Su Che (1039–1112) of Wen Tong (1018–1079), the Northern Song bamboo painter: "He dallies amid bamboo in the morning, stays in the company of bamboo in the evening, drinks and eats amid the bamboo, and rests and sleeps in the shade of bamboo; having observed all the different aspects of the bamboo, he then exhausts all the bamboo's many transformations."
Accompanying Shitao's signature is his seal, which quotes a saying by Wen Tong: "How can I live one day without this gentleman!"
During the eighteenth,century, Shitao's style of bamboo painting was practiced by members of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou.
Signature: Accompanying Shitao's signature is his intaglio seal, which quotes Wen Tong's saying: "He ko yiri wu cu zhun" ["How can I live one day without this gentleman!"] i.e., the bamboo.
Four-line inscription: Wen Yuku [Wen Tong, 1018–1979] painted bamboo in ink without colors and regarded it as fine bamboo. A guest saw it and was startled. Su Zuyu [Su Che, 1039–1112] explained, "Walking a month bamboo in the morning, being a companion to bamboo in the evening; drinking and eating amid bamboo, relaxing in the shade of bamboo. Only after much observation of the transformations of bamboo can one completely understand them. If this is not done, then whether horizontal or slanting, crooked or straight, its character will be obscured". If that guest had not been startled, my heart would not be on the right path and I would always have been an outsider in bamboo painting. The Bitter Melon Monk of Qingxiang, Ji.