Goddess of the River Xiang

Fu Baoshi Chinese

Not on view

The youthful Fu Baoshi, fiercely idealistic and proud, often created images of unrecognized virtue, a theme that found its earliest expression in the poetry of Qu Yuan (343-278 B.C.), a loyal minister of the Chu kingdom who drowned himself in a tributary of the Xiang River in response to the false slander of his enemies.

Here, Fu was inspired by verses from a cycle of poems entitled the Nine Songs that is traditionally attributed to Qu Yuan. The Xiang River, a major tributary of the Yangzi that ran through the state of Chu, was known to harbor a goddess in its depths. She surfaced and enchanted the poet, who swore to make her his bride. The moment of enchantment depicted by Fu is described by the poet::

The Child of God, descending the northern bank,Turns on me her eyes that are dark with longing.Gently the wind of autumn whispers;
On the waves of Dongting Lake the leaves are falling.

(David Hawkes, trans., Ch'u Tz'u: The Songs of the South [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959], p. 38)

Goddess of the River Xiang, Fu Baoshi (Chinese, 1904–1965), Album leaf; ink and color on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.