View of Lake Tai

Wen Zhengming Chinese

Not on view

Wen Zhengming painted this dreamy vision of Lake Tai, China's "Great Lake," for a friend after their springtime boat ride together. Wen's poem reads:

Islands spread out in a mirror,
Like purple hibiscus immersed in a watery
silver platter.
Who can hold thirty-thousand jing [the
supposed size of Lake Tai] in his bosom?
I long to visit the seventy peaks [of Lake Tai]
for myself.
Heaven is vast, billows roll on, days turn
into months.
In the spring cold the water country hides fish
and dragons;
Sitting in the middle of the lake I seemed to
hear roosters [crow] and dogs bark.
Where should I find the retired statesman
Fan Li?

View of Lake Tai, Wen Zhengming (Chinese, 1470–1559), Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on gold-flecked paper, China

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