This portrait is one of a set that commemorates a gathering of five retired gentlemen at Suiyang, Henan Province. The sensitive delineation of features in contrast to the thick shaded brush lines of the garment reflects Tang dynasty conventions of official portraiture and a conservatism appropriate to the subject. Equally formal is the inscription written in regular script-a style also used for steles and official documents.
Two portraits from this set of five are at the Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C., and two are in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.
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北宋 佚名 睢陽五老，畢世長像 冊頁
Title:Portrait of Bi Shichang, from the set Five Old Men of Suiyang
Artist:Unidentified artist Chinese, active 11th century
Period:Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Medium:Album leaf; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:Image: 15 3/4 x 12 5/8 in. (40 x 32.1 cm)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1917
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, ca. 1060:
Bi Shichang, retired Chief Minister of the Court of the National Granaries, age ninety-four (sui).
Unidentified Suiyang shijia 睢陽世家 Cheng ? 成囗
Note For the frontispiece and colophons originally attached to this set of portraits mounted separately as an album, see 17.136a–r.
[ Laiyuan & Company , New York, until 1917; sold to MMA]
Washington D.C. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Chinese Figure Painting," 1973.
New York. China Institute in America. "Treasures from the Metropolitan Museum," October 24, 1979–January 27, 1980.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
Shanghai Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Tang, Song and Yuan Paintings from America," November 3, 2012–January 3, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from The Met Collection (Rotation One)," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Up Close," January 25, 2020–June 27, 2021.
Midian zhulin shiqu baoji sanbian 秘殿珠林石渠寶笈三編 (Catalogue of painting and calligraphy in the Qianlong imperial collection, third series). Preface dated 1816. Facsimile reprinted of an original manuscript copy. 10 vols. vol. 3, Taipei: National Palace Museum, 1969, pp. 1532–33.
Cahill, James. An Index of Early Chinese Painters and Paintings: T'ang, Sung, and Yüan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.
Suzuki Kei 鈴木敬, ed. Chûgoku kaiga sogo zuroku: Daiikan, Amerika-Kanada Hen 中國繪畫總合圖錄: 第一卷 アメリカ - カナダ 編 (Comprehensive illustrated catalog of Chinese paintings: vol. 1 American and Canadian collections) Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1982, pp. 18–19, cat. no. A1-092.
Fong, Wen C. Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 44–47, pl. 7, fig. 18.
Bian Yongyu 卞永譽. Shigu Tang shuhua huikao 式古堂書畫彙考 (Studies on calligraphy and painting from the Shigu Tang Studio). Preface dated 1682, juan 15 of painting section. Reprinted in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 中國書畫全書(Compendium of classical publications on Chinese painting) Edited by Lu Fusheng 盧輔聖. Shanghai: Shanghai shuhua chubanshe, 1993–2000, vol. 6, pp. 1043–49.
Zhu Cunli 朱存理. Tiewang shanhu 鐵網珊瑚 (Coral treasures in an iron net). Edited by Zhao Qimei 趙琦美. Postscript dated 1600, juan 3 of painting section. Reprinted in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 中國書畫全書 (Compendium of classical publications on Chinese painting and calligraphy) Edited by Lu Fusheng 盧輔聖. Shanghai: Shanghai shuhua chubanshe, 1993–2000, vol. 3, pp. 691–97.
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