Boating by a Willow Bank

Unidentified artist

Not on view

Evoking the scenery of Hangzhou's West Lake, this painting shows a gentleman being paddled across a placid inlet between a profusion of water lilies and a shore lined with willows. The composition recalls that of Li Jie's Fisherman's Lodge at Xisai of about 1170. As the boat glides through the silvery moonlight, stillness reigns on the cool, scented water. The simplicity of the painting recalls the spare imagery of a Tang-dynasty (618–907) quatrain:

Willows still by a lotus bank,
A boat drifts slowly by.
Ahead, tall grass, blue distant hills,
White moon in golden sky.

Boating by a Willow Bank, Unidentified artist Chinese, active 13th century, Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk, China

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