南宋 趙孟堅 行書梅竹詩譜 卷 Poems on Painting Plum Blossoms and Bamboo
Zhao Mengjian (Chinese, 1199–before 1267)
Song dynasty (960–1279)
Handscroll; ink on paper
Image: 13 3/8 in. × 11 ft. 7 in. (34 × 353.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 13 5/8 in. × 40 ft. 5 11/16 in. (34.6 × 1233.6 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
An accomplished poet, collector, painter, and calligrapher and a member of the Song royal family, Zhao Mengjian was compared by his contemporaries to the famous scholar-connoisseur Mi Fu (1052–1107). Like Mi's, Zhao's writing does not derive from a single source but combines the best of many earlier models: the natural charm of the fourth-century Jin writers, the brush method and character structure of the seventh-century Tang masters, and the free expression of the eleventh-century Northern Song calligraphers.
This scroll, which transcribes Zhao's poems on plum and bamboo painting, is his best-known extant calligraphic work. Written for a young relative who was studying painting, the poems stress acute observation of nature and mastery of brush methods and conventions, as well as the importance of personal expression.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (68 columns in semi-cursive script)