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Odes of the State of Bin

Ma Hezhi (Chinese, ca. 1130–ca. 1170), and Assistants

Period:
Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink, color, gold and silver on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 10 15/16 in. × 21 ft. 9 1/4 in. (27.8 × 663.6 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 13/16 in. × 45 ft. 10 1/2 in. (35.1 × 1398.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1973
Accession Number:
1973.121.3
  • Description

    This handscroll is one of a set that illustrates the 305 poems in the Shijing (The Book of Odes), a work traditionally believed to have been compiled by Confucius (551–479 B.C.). The scrolls were made at the court of Gaozong (r. 1127–62), the first emperor of the Southern Song dynasty, and the transcriptions they bear, probably inscribed by either a scribe or a consort, are written in Gaozong's regular-script style. The accompanying paintings are the work of Ma Hezhi, a court artist known for his "orchid-leaf" brushstroke, a distinctive type of undulating brush line.

    The poems illustrated in this scroll are known as the Odes of the State of Bin, for they were believed to have been the songs of Bin (in modern Shensi Province), the ancient homeland of the founders of the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1100–256 B.C.). These odes are the last in the section known as Guofeng ("Airs from the States"), which contains poems gathered from all over the realm so that the Zhou king might learn what his people were thinking and feeling.

  • See also
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
40054:11

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