Art/ Collection/ Art Object

近代 松溪策杖圖 軸
Wandering in a Cloud-Filled Valley

Artist:
Pu Ru (Chinese, 1896–1963)
Date:
late 1940s or early 1950s
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 26 3/8 x 16 3/4 in. (67 x 42.5 cm) Overall with mounting: 87 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. (222.9 x 60 cm) Overall with knobs: 87 3/4 x 27 3/8 in. (222.9 x 69.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Lin Yutang Family Collection, Gift of Richard M. Lai, Jill Lai Miller, and Larry C. Lai, in memory of Taiyi Lin Lai, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.509.20
Not on view
Pu Ru, a Manchu prince who lived through the fall of the Qing dynasty, was a classical scholar, poet, calligrapher, and painter. Although he disliked being referred to as an artist, his fame today rests on his painting. Typically, Pu worked in the academic style of the Song dynasty (960–1279), which combined descriptive representation with atmospheric effects, but he often adapted and integrated the Song manner, as he did here, by incorporating later interpretations of that style by such Ming-dynasty artists as Tang Yin (1470–1523).

The powerful pines depicted here may have had a very specific association for Pu Ru. After the Manchu dynasty was overthrown, he was forced to live at a Buddhist temple in the Western Hills near Beijing that was surrounded by them. He repeatedly recalled these pines in paintings and nostalgic writings later in his life. Pu inscribed this work with a quatrain:

White clouds fill my hut by the cliff;
The sound of a stream fills the empty valley.
Whence came this person into the mountains?
Forgetting the schemes of the world he befriends the deer.

(trans. by Shi-yee Liu)

He embellished his inscription with an oval seal that reads "a piece of red cloud," which is impressed on portions of its first two characters, baiyun (white clouds). Due to its color and location, this seal literally looks like a red cloud floating above the pines, graphically blurring the boundary between text and image.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (5 columns in cursive script)[1]

White clouds fill my hut by the cliff;
The sound of a stream fills the empty valley.
Whence came this person into the mountains?
Forgetting the schemes of the world he befriends the deer.

Xinyu painted and inscribed.

白雲滿廬壁,溪聲滿空谷。
何來山中人,忘機友麋鹿。

心畬畫并題。

Artist’s seals

Pu Ru 溥儒
Jiu wangsun 舊王孫 (“A former prince”)
Yiduo hongyun 一朵紅雲 (“A piece of red cloud”)
Jiangtian shuimo qiuguang wan 江天水墨秋光晚 (“Ink-toned river and sky in autumnal twilight”)

Collectors’ seal

Li Ming 黎明 (Richard Lai, 1920–2011) and Lin Taiyi 林太乙 (Taiyi Lin Lai, 1926–2003)
Li Lin 黎林

[1] Documentation from Shi-yee Liu, Straddling East and West: Lin Yutang, A Modern Literatus: The Lin Yutang Family Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, no. 33, p. 100.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bridging East and West: The Chinese Diaspora and Lin Yutang," September 15, 2007–February 10, 2008.

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