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Between and Mortarboard


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The Seven Sages Passing Through a Gate

Accession Number
1990/2.1

Title
The Seven Sages Passing Through a Gate

Artist(s)
Sheng Maojun

Object Creation Date
early 17th century

Medium & Support
fan mounted as an album leaf, ink and light color on paper

Dimensions
7 3/16 x 20 7/16 in. (18.2 x 51.9 cm);22 1/8 x 28 1/8 in. (56.04 x 71.28 cm);18 x 26 3/16 in. (45.6 x 66.5 cm);7 3/16 x 20 7/16 in. (18.2 x 51.9 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
17th century
Fan mounted as an album leaf, ink and light color on paper
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker
Art Collection Fund, 1990/2.1

Gatherings of renowned scholars were a popular subject
in Chinese painting. Now mounted as an album leaf,
Sheng Maojun’s fan painting alludes to a historical event
of the Kaiyuan era (713–41), when seven prominent scholars
celebrated the first snowfall of winter by traveling to
Longmen temple outside of Chang’an (present day Xi’an, in
central China).
Sheng Maojun’s family included five professional painters
who likely worked together to produce paintings for
Suzhou’s art market. His better-known elder brother was
Sheng Maoye, whose handscroll The Orchid Pavilion Gathering
is also on display in this case. A comparison of the two
paintings sheds light on the role each brother presumably
played in the family workshop. Sheng Maoye’s handscroll
references literary works, suggesting he received a better
education than Sheng Maojun. Additionally, Sheng Maojun
appears to have been less skilled at painting figures,
perhaps indicating he had fewer opportunities to refine his
technique.

Subject matter
This fan painting depicts a well-known historical event of the Kaiyuan era (713–41), when seven prominent scholars celebrated the first winter snow by venturing forth together for an outing to the famous Longmen temple outside of the capital city of Chang’an (today’s Xi’an). This attractive fan was painted by Sheng Maojun, the younger brother of the renowned painter Sheng Maoye from Suchou.

Physical Description
A temple lies in the not-so-distant background of tree and mountains. Travellors weave their way along the path, some on horseback. They have their heads covered--some with cloth and some with hats.

Primary Object Classification
Unbound Work

Primary Object Type
leaf

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
fan-shaped
fans (costume accessories)
horses (equipment)
ink
mountains
temples (buildings)
travelers (people by activity)
trees

4 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Samurai
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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