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Between and Mortarboard

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11 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object

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Figures from Chinese History: Zhang Tianqi Calling in the Cranes

Accession Number

Figures from Chinese History: Zhang Tianqi Calling in the Cranes

Huang Shen

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
album leaf, ink and color on paper

11 5/16 x 13 9/16 in. (28.73 x 34.45 cm);18 1/16 x 22 1/16 in. (45.88 x 56.04 cm);14 3/4 x 15 1/4 in. (37.47 x 38.58 cm);11 5/16 x 13 9/16 in. (28.73 x 34.45 cm)

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

Label copy
This album leaf is one of four from a series in the UMMA collections painted by Huang Shen. A skilled figure painter, Huang works in this series with swift, dynamic brush strokes that resemble calligraphy. His mastery of both painting and calligraphy, as well as poetry, is honored by his traditional epithet as one of the "Eight Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou" (a city in southern China). Each of the four album leaves in this series pictorializes an anecdote associated with a famous person in Chinese history. Each page includes an extensive inscription, signature, and two seals of the artist.
This leaf is based on the story of Liu Kuan (120–85 BCE), a man whose benevolence was legendary. Liu’s wife wanted to test her husband’s good nature and instructed her maid to deliberately spill a bowl of hot soup on his official robe—just before he was to meet the emperor—in order to provoke a reaction. Surprisingly, Liu did not become enraged; his only concern was whether the hot liquid had burned the maid’s hands.

Subject matter
This is one of a set (1983/2.155, 1983/2.156, 1983/2.157, 1983/2.158).

Primary Object Classification
Unbound Work

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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calligraphy (process)
figures (representations)
history (discipline)
robes (main garments)
women (female humans)

2 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Chinese Calligraphy and Ink painting 
(Part of: Chinese calligraphy and ink painting)

& Author Notes

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