Figures, flowers, and landscapes, leaves a–d by Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1598–1652), Album of eleven leaves; ink and color on silk, China

明/清 陳洪綬、陳字 雜畫 冊 絹本
Figures, flowers, and landscapes

leaves a–d by Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1598–1652)
leaves e–k by Chen Zi (Chinese, 1634–1711)
late Ming (1368–1644)–early Qing (1644–1911) dynasty
one leaf dated 1627
Album of eleven leaves; ink and color on silk
Image: 8 3/4 x 8 9/16 in. (22.2 x 21.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng, 1999
Accession Number:
Not on view
This album has four paintings by the late Ming master Chen Hongshou and seven by his son Chen Zi. The first is one of the most iconic images in Chen Hongshou’s oeuvre—a mournful self-portrait depicting the artist drowning his sorrows in wine. It is followed by paintings of landscapes, birds, flowers, and figures. The combining of diverse subjects in a single album was known as “zahua,” and it was an opportunity for a painter to demonstrate versatility. A zahua album is meant to delight the viewer with variety, as a new subject appears with each turn of the page.

The paintings may have been brought together into an album by a collector at a later date, or even perhaps by Chen Zi himself. Comparison of the two men’s work reveals that while Chen Zi worked in his father’s style, he could not match his father’s fluidity or quirky charm.
#7341. Figures, Flowers and Landscapes
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Inscription: Artists’ inscriptions and signatures[1]

Leaf A (5 columns in semi-cursive script):

Again we have lost several thousand li of [national] territory. Shall we ever talk about this yet again? I feel lucky to have some land to farm as an outsider, but worry that armed rebels who are rising up in the Wu and Yue regions [modern Jiangsu and Zhejiang] will rob my granary. In the meanwhile there is still time to drink to our hearts’ content, and I will certainly go visit you. The Zhu brothers have all asked me to send their regards. Please remember me to the venerable Zong [Zhang Dai, 1597–1679] and Yan [Zhang Yanke, active mid-17th c.]. To my learned brotherly friend Ping [Zhang Pingzi, active mid-17th c.]. Your junior, Hongshou.


Leaf B (1 column in semi-cursive script):

Painted as a study for Mr. Kexian. Chen Hongshou


Leaf C (3 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1627):

Tall wutong and old osmanthus trees shade the streets from the sky.
Brewing tea with water saved from early summer rain delights me.
[A painting] was drawn for a visitor to hang on his wall.
In flying snow and cold moonlight someone sits in an empty studio.

On a pure summer day in the dingmao year, Hongshou.


Leaf D (1 column in semi-cursive script):

A branch of plum blossoms painted by Hongshou in celebration.


Leaf K (2 columns in semi-cursive script):

Portrait of the seventh arhat after Guanxiu [active ca. 940], presented for your advice. Xiaolian, Wuyan [Chen Zi].


Artists’ seals

Chen Hongshou 陳洪綬
Hongshou 洪綬 [Leaf A, B, C]
Hongshou 洪綬 [Leaf D]
Chen Zi 陳字
Xiaolian 小蓮 [Leaf K]

Label strip

Unidentified artist, 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated (mounted on brocade cover):


Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904), 5 columns in clerical script, dated 1887; 1 seal:

光緒丁亥十二月十有六日常熟翁同龢得此因題。[印]: 常熟翁同龢摩挲審定


1. Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, undated [Leaf K]:


2. Weng Tonghe翁同龢 (1830–1904), 10 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1887; 2 seals [after frontispiece]:

老蓮,勝國遺民,每飯不忘君國。予家有所畫《三友圖》,蓋入本朝後作,題詩絕悽惋。此冊丁卯[1627]年作,丁卯天啓七年也。時先生才二十九,而首葉數行沉痛若此。嗚呼!先生其三閭之流歟。其子無名亦高士,筆法蕭散,無愧門風。丁亥除夕同龢記。[印]: 翁同龢印、救虎閣主

[1] Translations by Shi-yee Liu.
Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng , New York (until 1999; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Traditional Scholarly Values at the End of the Qing Dynasty: The Collection of Weng Tonghe (1830–1904)," June 30, 1998–January 3, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bridging East and West: The Chinese Diaspora and Lin Yutang," September 15, 2007–February 10, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Mastering the Art of Chinese Painting: Xie Zhiliu (1910–1997)," February 2, 2010–August 1, 2010.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.