In 1162, at the age of fifty-five, Gaozong retired from the throne to devote his final years to the arts, especially the study of calligraphy. He began by following the styles of Huang Tingjian (1045–1105) and Mi Fu (1052–1107) but in his later years concen-trated on the works of Wang Xizhi (ca. 303–ca. 361) and other pre-Tang masters whose works he was able to collect and study firsthand. This fan clearly dates after 1162; written in the Wang style, it bears a seal with the name of Gaozong's retirement palace, Virtuous Longevity.
The poem, laden with occult and astrological references, reads in part:
Dark [. . .] from Heavenly Mountain divides the turbid and the vast. Ministered by the second hexagram, the elixir pours in a liquid jade. As I stand at the north-northeast and the south-southwest gates of the compass, I see the flash of rosy lights, ten thousand feet in the air.
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南宋 高宗 草書天山陰雨七絕詩 團扇
Title:Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain
Artist:Emperor Gaozong (Chinese, 1107–1187, r. 1127–1162)
Period:Song dynasty (960–1279)
Medium:Fan mounted as album leaf; ink on silk
Dimensions:9 1/4 x 9 5/8 in. (23.5 x 24.4 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Inscription: Artist's inscription (4 columns in cursive script)
Dark [word missing] from Heavenly Mountain divides the turbid and the vast. Ministered by the second hexagram, the elixir pours in a liquid jade. As I stand at the north-northeast and the south-southwest gates of the compass, I see the flash of rosy lights, ten thousand feet in the air.
Pan Shicheng 潘仕成 (1804–1873) Haishan Xianguan zhuren 海山仙館主人
Xiang Hanping 香翰屏 (1890–1978) Ceng cang Xiang shi Mengshi Lu 曾藏香氏夢詩廬
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988) Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 Hanguang Ge 漢光閣
Unidentified ? shu (half seal) 囗書（半印）
 Translation from Wen C. Fong, Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy 8th–14th Century, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, p. 231.
John M. Crawford Jr. American, New York (until d. 1988; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. China House Gallery. "Masterpieces of Song and Yuan Dynasty Calligraphy from the John M. Crawford Jr. Collection," October 21, 1981–January 31, 1982.
Lawrence. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. "Masterpieces of Song and Yuan Dynasty Calligraphy from the John M. Crawford Jr. Collection," March 14, 1982–May 2, 1982.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection," September 15, 2000–January 7, 2001.
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. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing," September 2, 2006–January 21, 2007.
Shanghai Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Tang, Song and Yuan Paintings from America," November 3, 2012–January 3, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from The Met Collection (Rotation One)," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.
Shih Shou-ch'ien, Maxwell K. Hearn, and Alfreda Murck. The John M. Crawford, Jr., Collection of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Checklist. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984, p. 15, cat. no. 9.
Xu Bangda 徐邦达. Gu shuhua wei’e kaobian 古书画伪讹考辨 (Studies on forgeries and misattributions in ancient calligraphies and paintings). vol. 2, Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1984, p. 199.
Fong, Wen C. Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, p. 230, pl. 32.
Pan Zhengwei 潘正煒. Tingfan Lou xuke shuhua ji 聼帆樓續刻書畫記 (Sequel to catalogue of calligraphies and paintings recorded at the Tingfan Lou Studio). Preface dated 1849. Reprinted in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 中國書畫全書. Edited by Lu Fusheng 盧輔聖. Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 1993–2000, vol. 11, p. 892.
Xu Bangda 徐邦达. Xu Bangda ji 徐邦达集 (Collected writings of Xu Bangda) vol. 4, Beijing: Zijincheng chubanshe, 2005, p. 727.
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