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Five poems on plum blossoms

Calligrapher Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) Chinese

Not on view

清 石濤 楷書梅花詩五首 扇面 紙本

Shitao created this fan as a professional artist in Yangzhou, after relinquishing Buddhist monkhood in the mid-1690s. The plainness of the paper and the choice of poems on plum blossoms suggest the work was made for a scholar. The text is written in standard script, but the flaring downward diagonal strokes reveal Shitao’s study of clerical script. Shitao’s mixing of different script types foreshadows calligraphic trends of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This fan was originally designed to be folded, but, as often happens with examples by important artists, it was later remounted as an album leaf.

Five poems on plum blossoms, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707), Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on paper, China

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