Image: 8 3/4 x 118 3/4 in. (22.2 x 301.6 cm)
Overall with mounting: 11 1/4 x 337 in. (28.6 x 856 cm)
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
Pan Tianshou taught himself to paint using the Mustard Seed Garden Manual before receiving instruction in college from Li Shutong (Hongyi, 1880–1942), the pioneering teacher of Western-style painting. In 1925 Pan went to Shanghai, where he met Wu Changshi (1844–1927), who instructed him in seal- and clerical-script calligraphy. In 1928 Lin Fengmian (1900–1991) appointed Pan to the faculty of the newly founded Hangzhou Art Academy as professor of traditional painting. Pan remained at the academy for the rest of his life, serving as director from 1959 to 1971, when he was persecuted and died during the Cultural Revolution.
This handscroll exemplifies Pan's ability to create a formal language to express his emotions. Although his subject matter illustrates the traditional theme of the four seasons and his depictions recall the brush idioms of Ming and Qing scholar-artists, his exaggerated forms and angular calligraphy embody his fiercely independent spirit.
Signature: Shou, signed again
Artist's inscriptions: First section of handscroll, "Rock", poem in four lines, five-character meter: It is just an ordinary rock. It used to be on the ridge of Mount Tai or Mount Hua. There the sea of clouds in the sky is pure, And [the rock] and the snow, both white and cold, keep company. Signed: Shou Seals: 1. Shou (square, red characters) 2. Pan Tianshou (square, white characters)
Second section of handscroll, "Orchid and Bamboo", poem in four lines, seven-character meter: As beautiful as the wisps of hair on Wenzhun's temples [seen from the back] As pure as ice or snow, [the orchid] even looks down on the fairy lady. Certainly its character is matchless. Not only the fragrance will last forever. Signed: Yigong Seal: Seal of Pan Tianshou (square, white characters)
Third section of handscroll, "Young Chicks": They talk to each other; they are not abstruse. Signed: Shouzhu, 1959 Seals: 1. Ashou (square, red characters) 2. Tianshou (square, white characters)
Fourth section of handscroll "Chrysanthemum": Prepare to fight with the West Wind. Signed: Dayi Seal: Mr. Shou (square, red characters)
Last section of handscroll:"Calamus [Sweet Flag] and Water-chestnuts": The calamus and water-chestnuts are delicious at the end of the years. Signed: Lepotofeng Shou Seal: Pan Tianshou (square, white characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (two)
Robert H. Ellsworth , New York (until 1986; donated to MMA)
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Contemporary Chinese Paintings," February 24, 1987–May 4, 1987.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Style and Expressionism: Modern Chinese Painting," November 4, 1989–January 14, 1990.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Between Two Cultures: A Selection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection," January 30, 2001–August 19, 2001.