Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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清 鄭燮 蘭竹圖 卷
Orchids and Bamboo

Artist:
Zheng Xie (Chinese, 1693–1765)
Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
dated 1742
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 13 3/4 x 147 1/2 in. (34.9 x 374.7 cm) Overall with mounting: 15 1/8 x 295 1/4 in. (38.4 x 749.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Edward Elliott Family Collection, Purchase, Dillon Fund Gift, 1981
Accession Number:
1981.285.7
Not on view
Inscribed by the artist and by Gu Yuankui (juren degree, 1744); Yinxi (1711–1758); Zhu Wenzhen (1718–ca. 1778); and Cheng Duo (act. early-mid-18th century) Inspired by the viewing of a friend's orchids in full bloom, Zheng Xie painted two plants admired by Chinese literati: the orchid, symbol of loyalty and unappreciated virtue, and the bamboo, symbol of the superior man who is strong yet flexible. Orchids and Bamboo was painted when the artist was fifty, about the time he was appointed to a government post in northern China. Both painting and poem look forward to retirement in the south and celebrate the literati ideal of retreating to nature. The poem, inscribed at the left end of the scroll, is written in a free and elegant style that echoes the brushwork of the orchids beside it.

The artist dedicated his painting and poem to his friend Cheng Duo (act. early-mid-18th century), who, in response, inscribed the painting himself and asked three friends to add inscriptions. At the request of a later owner, Huo Rumu (d. 1921), the renowned calligrapher and painter Wu Changshi (1844–1927) inscribed the title sheet with the characters for "Ink Play" in archaic seal script. At Huo's invitation, another scholar wrote a long poetic appreciation on a separate sheet of paper attached at the left end of the scroll.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (6 columns in semi-cursive script):

知君本是素心人,畫得幽蘭為寫真。
他日江南投老去,竹籬茆舍有芳鄰。
乾隆七年春為振凡先生畫并題,統求教政。板橋弟鄭燮拜手。

Artist’s seals
Zheng Xie zhi yin 鄭燮之印
Banqiao Daoren 板橋道人
Ganlan Xuan 橄欖軒

Other inscriptions on painting

1. Gu Yuankui 顧元揆 (juren degree, 1744), 16 columns in standard script, dated 1759; 3 seals:

書法作蘭竹,意在筆墨先。下手快風雨,蘊真合自然。
畫師虛想像,那得窮清妍。板橋好奇者,書法無取焉。
獨寫蘭竹照,往往全其天。位置間瘦石,幽峭紛目前。
得非稽山曲,無乃楚江邊。卷末看題字,結習並洗湔。
仙靈辟魔障,美人謝朱鉛。真趣有相感,高懷得所宣。
莫令俗客市,車馬聲喧填。竹以虛心著,蘭因空谷傳。
己卯秋日振凡老先生以板橋道人畫命題,因請教正。梅坡後學顧元揆 [印]: 顧元揆印、端卿、梅坡

2. Zhu Wenzhen 朱文震 (1718–ca. 1778), 5 columns in clerical script followed by
5 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 5 seals:

幽蘭況幽人,寫贈情何已。
浥浥墨香浮,似共光風起。
會然興遠懷,江南渺煙水。
振翁老先生以我板橋夫子蘭卷屬題,敬賦應命。平陵外史朱文震 [印]:臣震私印、生于戊戌、倚遍江南寺樓、午臨、平陵外史

3. Yinxi 允禧 (1711–58), 12 columns in standard script, dated 1757; 1 seal:

與板橋別十餘年矣。江鄉千里,晤言無因。適程君振凡以其所畫蘭竹示余,慨然如見故人。歲寒之盟,同心之臭,有不隨形跡疏者,因題數語誌之。至其筆墨超俊, 世所共賞,故不復云。丁丑三月朔紫瓊道人識。 [印]: 慎王小印

4. Cheng Duo 程鐸 (active early–mid-18th century), 12 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1742; 3 seals:

壬戌載陽月吉,板橋老先生留宿光明寓齋。適值草蘭盛開,小酌興發,圖此長卷并題見贈。即席依韻稱謝,兼祈教正。
僕本江干落拓人,金蘭投契信天真。
何當九畹傳湘管,麗句清辭許結鄰。
偶生程鐸草。 [印]: 臣鐸、臣手凡、四勿齋

Frontispiece

Wu Changshuo 吳昌碩 (1844–1927), 2 characters in large seal script followed by 5 columns in semi-cursive script, undated:

墨戲
墨戲年年興不孤,紫瓊天上欲狂呼。
清名畢竟傳人口,想見歸裝策蹇圖。
洗盋、舊雨索瑑,耑勝以小詩即正。吳俊卿老缶 媵

Colophon

Lu Hui 陸恢 (1851–1920), 16 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1901; 2 seals:

熙伯 [何汝穆] 先生得板橋道人蘭竹長卷甚精。示恢,恢讀而善之,因作長歌讚歎焉,其辭曰:
鄭板橋,板橋原是人中豪。
一麾出守制百里,歸來依舊安蓬茆。
覺世文章盡情說,說敞瀾翻廣長舌。
樂府盲詞播管絃,銅琶鐵版冰壺裂。
論書知古不知今,漢刻秦碑僻處尋。
饕餮窮奇畫變相,依然不失先民心。
以其餘力事圖畫,墨瀋淋漓恣荒怪。
猶是龍蛇太古書,不徒專守青藤派。
此圖修竹與幽蘭,數筆蕭蕭著意寒。
掃地焚香一展對,恍如坐我瀟湘灘。
板橋板橋熒陽鄭,姿態丰神出生硬。
只有冬心一片心,江南江北相輝映。
人皆以怪病,我獨以怪敬。
無鹽醜女列貞賢,懷中別有光明鏡。
辛丑十月廉夫恢未是稿。 [印]: 吳江陸恢章、廉夫

Collector’s seal

Unidentified

Taihu Santing xiansheng jiacang 太湖三亭先生家藏
[ David L. Elliott , West Palm Beach, FL, 1981; sold to MMA]
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy," April 6, 1977–June 27, 1977.

University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy," September 20, 1977–November 27, 1977.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection," September 15, 2000–January 7, 2001.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)," February 2, 2002–August 18, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy," March 12, 2005–August 14, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eccentric Visions: The Worlds of Luo Ping (1733–1799)," October 6, 2009–January 10, 2010.

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