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Plucking Chrysanthemums

After Zhang Feng (Chinese, active ca. 1628–1662)

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
dated 1658
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 32 1/2 x 12 in. (82.6 x 30.5 cm) Overall with mounting: 70 1/2 x 17 3/8 in. (179.1 x 44.1 cm) Overall with knobs: 70 1/2 x 21 in. (179.1 x 53.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The C. C. Wang Family Collection, Gift of C. C. Wang, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.746.1
  • Description

    This painting is a copy of a work by the writer-artist Zhang Feng. The original, a birthday gift for a friend, was executed on the eve of the Double Ninth Festival—the ninth day of the ninth lunar month—when tradition called for ascending the heights and drinking chrysanthemum wine. Zhang's subject matter was undoubtedly inspired by the occasion, but it also pays tribute to the poet Tao Qian (365–427), who was renowned both for his rejection of an official position and for his love of chrysanthemums and wine. He depicts the chrysanthemum's most famous admirer enjoying the bouquet of a plant that has grown in the company of rocks and bamboo—symbols of a life in reclusion, which, on a different level, can be construed as congratulatory wishes for long life.

    Zhang's two poems read:

    In the light rain of this clear autumn,
    Today is your birthday.
    With the Double Ninth Festival just around the corner,
    I should first search out a chrysanthemum for you.

    So much have I learned as I grow older,
    Now is the time to put myself on strong foundations.
    With a deep draught of wine,
    [I contemplate the paradises lying to] the west and south,
    Their powerful radiance is indestructible.

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