Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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明 佚名 游仙圖 卷
Daoist Immortals in a Landscape

Artist:
Unidentified Artist Chinese, 16th century
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
16th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 11 x 150 1/4 in. (27.9 x 381.6 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 1/16 x 384 1/4 in. (33.2 x 976 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1983
Accession Number:
1983.357
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210
This painting invites the viewer to follow a mountain path across a stone arch and into a magical realm where herb gatherers dressed in garments of leaves and grass mingle with robed gentlemen engaged in scholarly pleasures: viewing paintings, playing weiqi (go, in Japanese), strumming a zither, composing poetry, engaging in "pure conversation," and contemplating the scenery. The scroll ends with an imposing terrace for viewing the sky and a cave-an entrance to a Daoist grotto-heaven. Based on the two-character signature at the left edge of the scroll, the painting has been identified as the work of Shen Xiyuan, a late fourteenth-century practitioner of the Southern Song academic tradition of Ma Yuan (active ca. 1190–1225). But many of the figural and landscape details reflect the styles of such mid-sixteenth-century artists as Zhou Chen and Qiu Ying, suggesting that a more appropriate date for the scroll would be the later sixteenth or early seventeenth century.
Inscription: Artist’s signature (1 column in standard script):

希遠


Frontispiece

Wang Dao 王道 (1825–after 1887), 3 large characters followed by 14 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1866; 4 seals:

游仙圖
此卷題跋俱失,不知圖名,作者署名僅“希遠”二字,不知何時人。考之《畫史會要》載:“沈希遠,崐山人,山水宗馬遠,亦善傳神。洪武時寫御容稱旨,授中書舍人。今觀是圖,山水、竹樹、人物、禽獸,莫不精妙,筆法古雅,純用鈎勒,衣褶紋如遊絲,整密中有瀟灑之趣。人凡六十有八,衣冠動作絕無凡態,神彩飄逸,超然有出塵之姿。因題爲《遊仙圖》,重裝並記。同治五年秋七月上浣海上閒鷗王道 [印]:王道私印、海鷗、胸坎悠然見靜虛、私淑香光


Colophons

1. Wu Gan 吳淦 (late 18th c.–early 19th c.), 10 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1887; 3 seals:

沈希遠,明洪武時授中書舎人,工山水,搆境古雅,涉筆超逸,有出塵之致。《畫史會要》稱其畫宗馬遠,誠不誣也。蓋馬遠獨步畫院,其作人物、花鳥、樹石、禽獸,全用鈎勒,愈整密愈瀟灑,非時史所能趨步耳。
海鷗道長重裝是卷,題爲《游仙圖》,持以示余。予雖寓居海上三十餘年,所見宋、元、明諸家真跡甚夥,而希遠畫獨見此卷。海翁得此洵為希世之珍,而余之眼福為不淺矣,因書數語以誌幸。光緒十有三年三月錢塘愚弟吳淦並書。 [印]:富景園丁、吳鞠潭、湌英

2. Wang Dao 王道 (1825–after 1887), 24 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1887; 2 seals:

神仙之說雜見於諸子百家,古之才人畸士放達游戲之寓言,或懷才不偶者悲憤寄慨,每有荒誕不經,至唐人為最甚。游仙詩始於郭景純,隨聲附和者不可勝數。近時厲樊榭多至三百首,則太溢而無味;或欲尋根討據為典故,則陋矣。《游仙圖》始作於晉、宋間,謝稚後有作者不能盡悉焉。是卷所作山水邱壑非塵世境界,人物衣冠皆仙真態度,面目意氣莫不生動超逸,布景設色俱臻神妙,用筆精潔不苟,而又瀟灑自如。時一展閱,不啻身在蓬壺,飄然欲仙,蓋非凡筆也。希遠之畫世不經見,而又鮮能知其名者。即筆記類書中亦未載,僅見於《畫史會要》中耳。噫,古來才人畸士詩文書畫湮沒不傳者何可勝數,享重名者或出其下,然則希遠者其懷才不偶者耶。作是圖也,其放達游戲乎,悲憤寄慨乎。至若書畫之壽修短不齊,有竭畢生之心力作一圖,數十年即毀者,千年而完好者。此卷不知幾經兵火,乃完好若此,流傳到余山齋,重裝珍藏,未知尚能延壽幾何。顧余海濱下士,名不見稱於鄉里,乃題之跋之何足爲此畫之輕重哉,唯是翰墨因緣亦非偶然,爰誌於尾。光緒十有三年丁亥閏四月上浣書於竹影山房東窗。園叟王道,時年六十有三。 [印]:道印、海鷗

3. Jin Dejian 金德鑑 (1810–after 1889), 21 columns in clerical script, dated 1889; 3 seals:

右明初畫家沈希遠所作山水長卷,林壑深長,縑絮竟大而完好分明,洵堪寳貴,惜世代悠遠,題跋俱佚,玆幸為吾友海鷗先生珍藏。先生夙精八法,以書名馳譽海上者歴有年,所書畫理原一致宜於繪事,兼有深契。今就卷中景物若重巌之逥繞、泉石之清幽,琳舘參差,朱橋映帶,煙波出沒,僊侶往來,景象悠然,殆非塵境,故為之署名曰游僊圖,可謂名實相符矣。且更考其年代,溯其淵源,品其佈置之精、用筆之妙,謂整密中復具瀟灑之致,知言哉。非知之深而愛之篤,未易有此信乎,崐山之玉人必待卞氏而顯理固然歟。一日出示索題,余生平癖嗜書畫,昔年搜羅古人墨跡畫卷頗多,莫不領略旨趣,自遭兵燹, 散失殆盡。今耄矣,猶得摩挲此卷,不規心怡神爽,正如離塵埃,而入蓬壺矣。蓋不獨愛其畫之工,而並喜其物之得所也。因書數語於卷尾以誌珍賞,且幸余眼福為非淺云。眼。光緒十有五年孟冬月吉元龢金德鑑識。 [印]:金德鑑、保叁、雙琯閣

4. Jiang Bao 江寳 (late 19th c.), 2 columns in standard script, undated; 1 seal:

此吾師保三先生跋語。先生因目眩手顫,倩人代書,欲手題數語而病日劇,易簀之前一夕命記此以歸海翁前輩。門人江寳謹記。 [印]:堯囗


Collectors' seals

Cai Yu 蔡羽 (? –1541)
林屋 (殘印)

Hua Xia 華夏 (15th–16th c.)
梁溪華氏(殘印)

Wang Dao 王道 (1825–after 1887)
上海王道藏過

Unidentified
2 half seals
[ Donald J. Wineman , New York, until 1983; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China," August 26, 2017–January 6, 2019.

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