Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Wang Xizhi Watching Geese, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), ca. 1295
    Qian Xuan (Chinese, ca. 1235–before 1307)
    Handscroll; ink, color, and gold on paper; 9 1/8 x 36 1/2 in. (23.2 x 92.7 cm)
    Inscribed by the artist (far left) and by the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–95; upper left, dated 1746)
    Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of The Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.6)

    After the fall of the Southern Song capital in 1276 (1279?), Qian Xuan chose to live as a yimin, a "leftover citizen" of the Song dynasty. Using his richly archaistic "blue-and-green" painting style, the artist deliberately employed a primitive manner to allude to a lost immortal's realm that could be achieved only through a regimen of "internal alchemy."

    Watching Geese illustrates the story of Wang Xizhi (ca. 303–ca. 361), a calligraphy master of legendary fame and a practitioner of Daoist alchemy who was said to derive inspiration from natural forms, such as the graceful necks of geese. The artist's poem reads:


    How pleasant are the elegant bamboo and trees!
    In a peaceful pavilion, relaxing with bare stomach,
    how wonderful it must feel!
    Writing the Daodejing [The Way and Its Power] for a Daoist friend,
    He leaves behind a romantic image–a man who loves geese.

    Related


    Not on view
    Move Separator Print
    Close
  • Wang Xizhi Watching Geese, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), ca. 1295
    Qian Xuan (Chinese, ca. 1235–before 1307)
    Handscroll; ink, color, and gold on paper; 9 1/8 x 36 1/2 in. (23.2 x 92.7 cm)
    Inscribed by the artist (far left) and by the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–95; upper left, dated 1746)
    Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of The Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.6)

    Move
    Close