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)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng, 1999
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.
Inscription: Artists’ inscriptions and signatures
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 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.
高梧老桂暗天街，梅水烹茶有好懷。 寫與來君懸壁去，雪飛月冷坐空齋。 丁卯清夏，洪綬
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].
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]
Unidentified artist, 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated (mounted on brocade cover): 陳老蓮畫冊