Hibiscus, Lotus, and Rock

Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) Chinese

Not on view

Recalling a beautiful woman in their blushing colors and delicate shapes, the blossoms of the lotus and hibiscus epitomize the exuberance and fullness of youth. Seeming to mock himself for continuing to admire such lush summer flowers, the aging Shitao inscribed the lines by the renowned Song dynasty poet Su Shi (1036–1101): “As I grow older, I have stopped having lush dreams, Even one hibiscus tree by the pond is too much for me.”

Suffering from the infirmities of old age, Shitao, in the last years of his life, frequently painted in a broad impressionistic style with rich wet ink. As he wistfully suggests in his inscription, painting in such an obviously sensuous manner was perhaps not entirely appropriate for one of his age.

Hibiscus, Lotus, and Rock, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, China

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