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The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove
仇英 竹林七賢圖 扇面 金箋纸設色 明代
Date: approx. 1550-1552
Historical Period: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Object Name: Fan; album leaf
Materials: Ink and colors on gold-flecked paper
Dimensions: H. 7 1/16 in x W. 21 3/4 in, H. 17.9 cm x W. 55.2 cm (image); H. 13 in x W. 24 1/2 in, H. 33.0 cm x W. 62.2 cm (overall)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B79D5.i
On Display: No

More Information

Marks: Qiu Ying
Exhibition History: "Gems of Chinese Art: From the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection", Hong Kong Museum of Art, 5/17/1983-8/7/1983

"The Hundred Flowers: Botanical Motifs in Chinese Art", Asian Art Museum, March 24 - June 25, 1985

"The Art of Wine in East Asia", Asian Art Museum, Nov. 5, 1985 - Jan. 21, 1986

"Deities, Emperors, Ladies and Literati: Figure Painting of the Ming and Qing Dynasties", Birmingham Museum of Art, 4/11/1987 - 6/14/1987

"Taoism and the Arts of China", The Art Institute of Chicago, 11/4/2000 - 1/7/2001

"Taoism and the Arts of China", Asian Art Museum, 2/21/2001 - 5/13/2001

"Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016

Additional Label:

During the sixteenth century, the artist Qiu Ying sparked a fashion trend among the wealthy citizens of Suzhou, just northwest of Shanghai. He created fans out of gold-flecked paper, which were painted with a variety of motifs that recall important Chinese mythical themes. These fans, when folded up, could be carried in the long, loose sleeves of gowns worn by both men and women, and casually displayed at a desired moment. Such fan paintings were among the most sought-after luxury goods of the time, and the ownership of a Qiu Ying fan thus became a symbol of social status and sophistication.

The gold ground of the fan paintings symbolizes high value and thus status. Beyond this, however, these two fans employ painted imagery that emphasizes the symbolism of immortality. On one fan (B79D5.a), one of the eight Daoist Immortals can be seen riding on a crane, symbol of transcendence. On the other (B79D5.i), the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove—at least one of them immortal—grace the golden background. In these fans, the substance of gold and the theme of immortality find common ground on what might otherwise be a rather common substance: paper.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Marks: Qiu Ying
Exhibition History: "Gems of Chinese Art: From the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection", Hong Kong Museum of Art, 5/17/1983-8/7/1983

"The Hundred Flowers: Botanical Motifs in Chinese Art", Asian Art Museum, March 24 - June 25, 1985

"The Art of Wine in East Asia", Asian Art Museum, Nov. 5, 1985 - Jan. 21, 1986

"Deities, Emperors, Ladies and Literati: Figure Painting of the Ming and Qing Dynasties", Birmingham Museum of Art, 4/11/1987 - 6/14/1987

"Taoism and the Arts of China", The Art Institute of Chicago, 11/4/2000 - 1/7/2001

"Taoism and the Arts of China", Asian Art Museum, 2/21/2001 - 5/13/2001

"Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016

Expanded Label:

During the sixteenth century, the artist Qiu Ying sparked a fashion trend among the wealthy citizens of Suzhou, just northwest of Shanghai. He created fans out of gold-flecked paper, which were painted with a variety of motifs that recall important Chinese mythical themes. These fans, when folded up, could be carried in the long, loose sleeves of gowns worn by both men and women, and casually displayed at a desired moment. Such fan paintings were among the most sought-after luxury goods of the time, and the ownership of a Qiu Ying fan thus became a symbol of social status and sophistication.

The gold ground of the fan paintings symbolizes high value and thus status. Beyond this, however, these two fans employ painted imagery that emphasizes the symbolism of immortality. On one fan (B79D5.a), one of the eight Daoist Immortals can be seen riding on a crane, symbol of transcendence. On the other (B79D5.i), the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove—at least one of them immortal—grace the golden background. In these fans, the substance of gold and the theme of immortality find common ground on what might otherwise be a rather common substance: paper.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)