Wang Xizhi watching geese

Qian Xuan Chinese

Not on view

After the fall of Hangzhou, the Southern Song capital, in 1276, the artist Qian Xuan chose to live as an yimin, a “leftover subject” of the dynasty. Painted in his deliberately primitive “blue-and-green” style, this handscroll illustrates the story of Wang Xizhi (  303 – 361), the calligraphy master of legendary fame and a practitioner of Daoist alchemy, who was said to derive inspiration from natural forms such as the graceful neck movements of geese. In creating a dreamlike evocation of antiquity, the artist prevented a realistic reading of his picture space as a way of asserting the disjuncture he felt after the fall of the Song royal house.

#7460. Wang Xizhi Watching Geese, Part 1



  1. 7460. Wang Xizhi Watching Geese, Part 1
  2. 7460. Wang Xizhi Watching Geese, Part 2
Wang Xizhi watching geese, Qian Xuan (Chinese, 1239–1301), Handscroll; ink, color, and gold on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.