Bamboo grove

Shen Xun Chinese

Not on view

Created at the time of political and social turmoil that accompanied the disintegration of the Mongol Yuan and the establishment of the native Ming dynasty, this painting reflects a common theme found in scholar paintings of the day: the yearning for a safe haven.

Bamboo Grove portrays "this gentleman"—bamboo—as the reclusive companion of rocks and water. While earlier painters depicted bamboo as a tactile object and a moral symbol, Shen's portrayal suggests bamboo's ability to create a mood of tranquility through its delicate shadows and gentle movement and the soft rustling sounds of its leaves. Growing wild or in a garden, it evokes thoughts of purity and freedom.

Bamboo grove, Shen Xun (active ca. 1370–1400), Handscroll; ink and color on paper, China

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