Ink Play, Jin Nong (Chinese, 1687–1773), Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper, China

Ink Play

Jin Nong (Chinese, 1687–1773)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
dated 1754
Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper
Each 11 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (28.6 x 23.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng, 1997
Accession Number:
Not on view
Signature: Artist's inscriptions:
Leaf a:
The lotus blossomed
In the quite silver pond,
And the chilling air of the early morn.
How many are the dragon glies
with irridescent wings?
Through those six-panelled windows
facing the water,
Breeze flows beneath the fan.
Remember the occasion when
seated together,
Your delicate hands
peeled the lotus seeds [for me].
Seal: Jin Jijin yin

Leaf b:
This is [based on a] Northern Song version. A number of Ming masters copied it quite frequently. Do I dare to be different? Therfore I also painted it.
Seal: Zhuquan

Leaf c: Iris and Rock
In sketching plants it is not difficult to achive grace, but most difficult in attaining a sense of richness. I intend to mix grace amidst richness. When compared to [the works] of contemporary painters, I trust that I am a shade better.
Seal: Zhuquan

Leaf d: Prunus
The qin music arrested for the moment,
I raised the cup,
And with a smile,
Drank a toast
to the Prunus blossoms.
Signed: Ju jijin; seal: Zhuquan

Leaf e: Melons and Fruits
In haste we all praised the elegance
of one who lived in jade towel;
let her than peel the fruits for this
old man to savor.
This was a couplet which in a playful mood, I dedicated to Yuping. By chance I painted the melons and fruits and casually inscribed this old poem. You man of learning, do not laugh at me.
Seal: Zhuquan

Leaf f: Geese
I am sending words to Master Wang of Yu district. Will exchange these creatues for your calligraphy.
Seal: Nong
The inscription alludes to Wang Zhizhi (303–379), the sage of calligraphy, and his fondness for geese.

Leaf g: Monk
Silence greeted he who
knocked on the door shaded by trees.
No, no ordinary monk was he.
Today he was back empty-handed;
For he had lost a rattan staff
in yesterday's outing in the hills.
In the fifth month, jiawu [1754].
Seal: Shou
["Ordinary monk" is a rough translation of "zhufanseng" (a monk of rice and congee), which is also a byname of Jin Nong].

Leaf h: Deer and Stream
The stream flows for hundreds of feet,
And the deer is a thousand years old.
So free and so easy,
Drink and eat, it is his own pleasure
to seek.
Seals: Nong; Shoymen; Jin Jijin yin

Leaf i: Winter Melon, Eggplant and Radish
Winter melon, eggplant and radish
Wil make a mountain monk a full lunch.
Signed: Ershiliu Lang Jin Jijin; seal: Zhuquan

Leaf j: Poor Maiden
A poor maiden by the green shade.
Seal: Jin Jijin

Leaf k: Rabbits
There is a Song version of this painting by Yihe Shanqiao.
I saw it at Linglong Mountain Lodge, and playfully tried to capture its idea.
Seal: Jin Jijin yin
[Linglong Mountain Lodge belonged to Chen Zi (1683–1759) of Jiaxing].

Leaf l: Prunus Tree
Silhouettes of prunus tree
crisscrossed the aged west wall.
Eight or Nine out of ten flowers had bloomed.
So canny was the spring breeze,
In random did it blow, drop and cast
the flowers into the dust.
Seals: Shou; Men

Inscription: Cover: Cartouche reads: :Jin Dongxin Xiansheng Moxi (Ink Play by Master Jin Dongxin"

Weng Tonge (1830–1904), one leaf following the paintings (leaf m):
It is unfortunate that there are so few genuine works by Master Jin. In the first month of yinyou [1885], I obtained this album. those who thought I might be a fake do not realize that which may appear to be loose and unstrung is also that which cannot be surpassed. Since it was done in the year of jiawu [1754], he was in his 68th year of age.
Calligraphers in the early dynasty period tended to follow the style of Dong [Qichang]. For those who desired a spirited outlook, they would add the method of Oubo [Zhao Mengfu] which only resulted in a frail charm. Master [Jin] alone studied the northern stele inscriptions and his brush is slanted with forceful, horizontal movements. For those who know, they would agree fully with me.
Signed: Pingsheng casually noted
Seal: Weng Tonghe yin

Marking: Collectors' seals:
Leaf a: Xingnong
Leaf b: Laoxing
Leaf c: Shouchang
Leaf d: Changsha Zhoushi
Leaf e: Yanfu
Leaf f: Xingnong
Leaf g: Shouchang
Leaf h: Shouchang
Leaf i: Changsha Zhoushi
Leaf j: Changsha Zhoushi; Haichang Zhashi
Leaf k: Xingnong
Leaf l: Junzhai shoucang
C. C. Wang , New York, by 1959; Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng , New York (until 1997; donated to MMA)
New York. China Institute in America. "The Resonance of the Qin in Far Eastern Art," September 16, 1999–December 12, 1999.