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Between and Mortarboard


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Bamboo and Orchids [Lan-chu t'u chou]

Accession Number
1970/2.7

Title
Bamboo and Orchids [Lan-chu t'u chou]

Artist(s)
Zheng Xie; Zheng Xie

Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1740-1766

Medium & Support
ink on paper

Dimensions
71 5/8 in x 18 7/8 in (181.93 cm x 47.94 cm)

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

Label copy
Inscription: These orchids and bamboo are not of this dusty world … Painted and inscribed by Zheng Xie, a cultivated person, on a wood plank bridge
Five seals of the artist
Two collectors’ seals
Zheng Xie faced many hardships early in life, developing an abrasive personality that eventually ended his civil service career. However, after returning to his native Yangzhou he enjoyed immediate success as a painter and calligrapher, and was the most popular of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou. In this hanging scroll, Zheng paints a cliff face adorned with bamboo and orchids. Although monochromatic, his remarkable rendering of the varied ink tones achieves a vivid impression of depth.
Winter 2015 Gallery Rotation
Zheng Xie faced many hardships early in life, developing an abrasive personality that eventually ended his civil service career. After returning to his native Yangzhou, however, he enjoyed immediate success as a painter and calligrapher. Together with seven other innovative artists, he became one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou.
In this hanging scroll, Zheng paints bamboo and orchids, important subjects in the scholar-painter tradition. Whereas Qian Zai’s painting (also in this case) presents bamboo in a landscape, in Zheng’s remarkable rendering the bamboo and orchid seem to float on the paper. In the accompanying inscription the artist expresses his desire to resign from life as an official and to withdraw from the corrupt world, preferring instead to emulate the orchid and bamboo.

Subject matter
A bamboo and orchid plant together in the center of the painting. A small shoot of bamboo is also depicted on the left side of the painting. The inscription on the right speaks of the artist's desire to leave his position as an official and withdraw from the corrupt world, and instead emulate the orchid and bamboo.

Physical Description
A hanging scroll in the ink bamboo tradition. The plant that is the focal point of the painting takes up the middle, while an inscription runs along the right side. Stamps are seen on the bottom of both the right and left side of the painting.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

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
Ink-bamboo
Plants
bamboo
bamboo (plant)
orchid

4 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Daoism / Taoism
(Part of: Religion and Spirituality)
Fifth Grade Tour: Elements of Art
(Part of: Visit UMMA: Curricular Tour Descriptions for Teachers)
Fifth Grade: Elements of Art
(Part of: Docent Curricular Tours)

& Author Notes

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