H. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); W. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); D. 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Purchase, Elizabeth M. Riley Bequest, in memory of Jean Mailey, 2006
Not on view
The motif of a woman reading a letter is most likely based on a woodblock print illustrating a scene from a fourteenth-century play known as either The West Chamber or The Romance of the West Chamber. This play, which tells of the convoluted romance between a young scholar and a beautiful woman, is one of the most well known in Chinese history, and allusions to some of its more famous moments are often found in the visual arts.
Inscription: Zhi xi cai gao, zi san ming xia (carved on screen above the woman's head, a reference to great talent and powerful calligraphy)
jiayin qin Sansong (Apocryphal reference to Zhu Sansong)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011.
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. "Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture," February 13, 2014–June 15, 2014.