Quantcast

Quatrain on Fishermen

Attributed to Emperor Gaozong (Chinese, 1107–1187, r. 1127–1162) or

Artist:
Emperor Xiaozong (Chinese, 1127–1194; r. 1163–89)
Period:
Song dynasty (960–1279)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Fan mounted as album leaf; ink on silk
Dimensions:
9 1/4 x 10 in. (23.5 x 25.4 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.7
  • Description

    Following his abdication in 1162, Gaozong lived another twenty-five years in retirement with his wife, the empress Wu (1115–1197), devoting himself to scholarly and artistic pursuits. This poem, written in running script, may be a late work. The poem embellishes a round silk fan, a favored new format in Southern Song imperial art. By the late twelfth century, all silk fans were embellished with a painting on one side and a poem on the other, the image and the words complementing each other. The retired emperor often inscribed fans to bestow as gifts. The poems, when not original works by the emperor, were taken from anthologies of Tang or early Song poetry.
    This poem, describes the life of the fisherman-recluse:

    Small fishing boats are moored along the sandbanks of a stream.Calling to one another, the boatmen have gone to the wine-house.Turning in their catch of perch to buy drink,They retire to the song of the oars, to sleep in the rosy mist.

    (Wen C. Fong, trans., in Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th-14th Century [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992], p. 227)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
40059

Close