This exquisite album, done when Chen Hongshou was between twenty and twenty-four, exhibits a broad range of subject matter and an extraordinarily fastidious brush style that attest to his reputation as a youthful prodigy. Not long after the album was completed, the noted connoisseur and artist Chen Jiru added his critical comments opposite several of the leaves in the album, a further confirmation of Chen Hongshou's recognition among his contemporaries.In the first leaf, the bleak scene of an untended garden presents a powerful image of the decay infecting late Ming society just twenty–five years before the dynasty was toppled by the Manchus. In his accompanying inscription Chen asks, "Does anybody notice?" In subsequent leaves, Chen's evocations of Li Gonglin's (ca. 1041–1106) monochrome drawing (baimiao) figural style, Ni Zan's (1306–1374) dry trees, Wang Meng's (ca. 1308–1385) cloudlike mountains, and Qian Xuan's (ca. 1235–before 1307) archaic "blue-and-green" landscapes reveal his command of past idioms and his affinity for earlier scholar-recluse artists, while a depiction of the Solitary Elegant Peak in Guilin reveals Chen's early interest in the fantastic landscapes of the eccentric professional artist Wu Bin (ca. 1583–1626).DOCUMENTATIONArtist’s inscription, colophons, and signatures Leaf A (1 column in standard script, dated 1618) In the summer of the wuwu year , Hongshou. 戊午夏，洪綬 Leaf AA (3 columns in semi-cursive script) Weatherbeaten pines, old trees, broken banana leaves; sparse bamboo, bony rocks, wilting grass – what a sight! Do people know it? Do people know it? Hongshou 摧松老樹殘蕉，疎竹瘦石衰草，何等光景！大眾知之乎？大眾知之乎？洪綬 Leaf B (1 column in standard script, dated 1619) In the spring of the jiwei year , Hongshou. 己未春，洪綬 Leaf CC (4 columns in semi-cursive script) Since I received power from the Buddha, I can create paintings and calligraphies, which I use to help the poor and to satisfy those who love my work. Thus, I enjoy making Buddhist images to requite the Buddha. Yet, how would the Buddha accept any requital! Please put in a good word for me. Hongshou 予得承佛威力能畫能書，貧者濟之，好者滿其欲，故喜作佛象，以報之耳。佛豈受報耶，請下轉語。洪綬 Leaf D (1 column in standard script, dated 1619) In the spring of the jiwei year , Hongshou. 己未春，洪綬 Leaf DD (2 columns in semi-cursive script) Recently I have been doing things like this in my prose writing as well. People know about my pure and noble character, but not the deep and profound side of me. Hongshou 近來為文亦如此，人知我清貴，不知我深遠。洪綬 Leaf E (1 column in standard script, dated 1619) In the autumn of the jiwei year , Hongshou. 己未秋，洪綬 Leaf EE (2 columns in semi-cursive script) In this painting, I have reached the utmost effects of brushwork, style, and thought. As for the wonder of ink, it lies in the lack of ink. Those who understand painting will agree. Zhanghou 此為用筆、用格、用思之至也。若用墨之妙，在無墨處，解者當首肯。章侯 Leaf F (1 column in standard script, dated 1620) In the autumn of the gengshen year , Hongshou. 庚申秋，洪綬 Leaf G (1 column in standard script, dated 1621) In the spring of the xinyou year , Hongshou. 辛酉春，洪綬 Leaf I (2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1621) Brownish yellow colors weigh down autumn’s charm.The lady furrows her lovely brows.As if in a blink, to the soldiers at the western frontierHundreds of vehicles with their uniforms have passed. Hongshou, in the summer of the xinyou year . 流黃壓秋韻，阿姊撮顰蛾。彈指交河士，征衣百輛過。洪綬，時辛酉夏。 Leaf JJ (2 columns in semi-cursive script) It would be delightful just to encounter this scenery, not to mention I have painted it. Hongshou 得此景佳矣，而況吾筆。洪綬 Leaf K (on painting: 1 column in standard and semi-cursive scripts, dated 1622) In the summer of the renxu year , Hongshou. 壬戌夏，洪綬 Leaf KK (3 columns in semi-cursive script) I once traveled to Mount Goulou [in Hunan Province] with Li Changheng [Li Liufang, 1575–1629]. Gazing at a jasmine flower, Changheng said: “If I can have Zhanghou [Chen Hongshou] transmit its spirit and let me view [his painting] with respect, it will be such a delight.” Changheng, Changheng, have you ever seen this painting? Hongshou 予從李長蘅遊岣婁，見柰子華，長蘅曰：“得章侯傳其神，長蘅拜而觀之，亦一佳事。”長蘅，長蘅，見此畫否？洪綬 Leaf L (1 column in standard script, dated 1622) In the autumn of the renxu year , Hongshou. 壬戌秋，洪綬Artist's seals Zhanghou 章侯 [Leaves A, D]Chen Hongshou yin 陳洪綬印 [Leaves AA, JJ] Zhanghou shi 章侯氏 [Leaf B]Chen Hongshou yin 陳洪綬印 [Leaf C]Zhanghou 章侯 [Leaves CC, DD, KK]Hongshou siyin 洪綬私印 [Leaf E]Hongshou Zhanghou shi 洪綬章侯氏 (double seal) [Leaf EE] Zhanghou shi 章侯氏 [Leaves F, G, H, I, J] Zhanghou shi 章侯氏 [Leaf K] Hongshou 洪綬 (double seal) [Leaf L]Frontispiece on wooden cover Nagao Kō 長尾甲 (1864–1942), 1 column in standard script, undated: 明陳章侯畫冊Inscription on wooden box Nagao Kō 長尾甲 (1864–1942), 6 columns in standard script, dated 1931; 1 seal: 明季畫風寖流靡弱，骨氣日薄，古法日遠。陳章侯洪綬狷介狂散，不為斗米折腰，抗心希古，所作必規橅唐宋，戞戞孤詣，一筆不墮時人徑畦。當時名宿如倪鴻寳、陳眉公莫不敬重焉。此冊作于萬曆己未天啟壬戌間，章侯卅嵗以前，而古氣盎然脫俗乃尓。朱竹垞稱其繪事本天縱，良不諛也。辛未秋分長尾甲識。 [印]：雨山Colophons Chen Jiru 陳繼儒 (1558–1639) Leaf BB: 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated; 1 seal: Not until you have seen Longmian's [Li Gonglin, ca. 1041–1106] Nine Songs will you know Zhanghou's [Chen Hongshou] model. [Seal]: Jiru 見龍眠《九歌》始知章侯畫學。 [印]：繼儒 Leaf FF: 2 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals: This is the Solitary Elegant Peak in Prince Jingjiang’s Palace in Western Yue [Gueilin]. When did it fly here? [Seals]: Meigong, Jiru 西粵靖江藩府中獨秀峰何日飛來到此。眉公 [印]：眉公、繼儒 Leaf GG: 4 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals: [It is said that] Zhang Yuanwai [Zhang Zao, active late 8th c.] once held two brushes and used them simultaneously, one for drawing living branches, and the other for dry ones. Their spirit transcends mist and clouds; their momentum recalls that of a storm. This painting by Zhanghou compares closely with it. It employs the method of Tang dynasty masters. [Zhang] Zao said, “Study nature as external discipline; find the source inwardly in your heart.” How true it is! [Seals]: Meigong, Jiru 張員外手握雙管，頓時齊下，一為生枝，一為枯枝，氣傲煙霞，勢轟風雨。章侯此幅類之，皆唐人畫法也。璪云：“外師造化，中得心源。”信夫。[印]：眉公、繼儒 Leaf HH: 2 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals: [Here] Zhanghou uses the ideas of Hongguzi [Jing Hao, active ca. 870–ca. 930] as well, not merely those of Huanghe Shanqiao [Wang Meng, ca. 1308–1385]. [Seals]: Meigong, Jiru 章侯同參洪谷子，非從黃鶴山樵入也。 [印]：眉公、繼儒 Leaf II: 3 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals: Li Longmian did a painting titled Preparing Silk, in which the figures were all plump and naïve-looking, but in this one alone [the woman] appears gaunt. In the bright moonlight, she seems deep in sorrow. How pitiful she looks! [Seals]: Meigong, Jiru 李龍眠有《㨞帛圖》，皆肥姿憨態，獨此幅肌肉廉削。明月光中，愁心萬種，可憐也。眉公 [印]：眉公、繼儒 Leaf LL: 5 columns in semi-cursive script, datable to 1622–1623; 1 seal: Chao Buzhi [1051–1110] said: “[In painting] follow Hou Yu [active 10th c.] for Buddhist figures, follow Wu Daoxuan [Wu Daozi, active ca. 710–60] for clouds and vapors, follow Guan Tong [active 907–23] for celestial guardians, pines, and rocks, follow Guo Zhongshu [d. 977] for grasses and trees, follow Li Cheng [919–967] for reclining boughs and dangling vines, follow Xu Daoning [ca. 970–ca. 1052] for tumbling cliffs and emaciated trees, and follow Yi Yuanji [d. ca. 1064] and Cui Bai [active ca. 1060–85] for flowers, birds, fish, and insects.” Now Zhanghou is just twenty-five sui, but has acquired all those merits. In his previous incarnations, he must have been a painter as well a poet. Meigong [Seals]: Jiru 晁補之云：“菩薩倣侯昱，雲氣倣吳道玄，天王松石倣關仝，草樹倣郭忠恕，臥槎垂藤倣李成，崩崖瘦木倣許道寧，花鳥魚虫倣易元吉、崔白。”今章侯年甫二十五歲，具得其長，前身畫師，宿世詞客也。眉公 [印]：繼儒 Translations from Department records. Translations from Department records.