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Peach Blossom Spring

Accession Number
1976/1.212

Title
Peach Blossom Spring

Artist(s)
Qiu Ying

Object Creation Date
1542

Medium & Support
ink and color on gold paper

Dimensions
8 ⅛ in x 21 9/16 in (20.64 cm x 54.77 cm);22 1/16 in x 28 1/16 in (56.04 cm x 71.28 cm);13 ⅛ in x 23 4/5 in (33.34 cm x 60.48 cm);8 ⅛ in x 21 9/16 in (20.64 cm x 54.77 cm)

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

Label copy

Qui Ying (painter)
China, ca. 1495–1552
Wen Zhengming (calligrapher)
China, 1470–1559

Peach Blossom Spring
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
1542
Fan album leaf, ink and color on gold paper
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 1976/1.212

This fan represents a rare collaboration between two famous artists from Suzhou who belonged to different social strata. The calligraphy is the work of the great literati master Wen Zhengming, while the painting is by the professional painter Qiu Ying. Literati (amateur scholar-artist) painters such as Wen were usually well educated in classics and poetry and pursued painting and calligraphy as a gentlemanly pastime, not for money. By contrast, professional painters usually came from humble families, seldom had a formal education, and earned their living through their art. By the mid-sixteenth century, the boundary between literati and professional artists had become blurred, and they collaborated and exchanged ideas.

This scene of a fisherman leaving a hidden paradise references The Account of the Peach Blossom Spring, inscribed on the scroll by Wen. This famous prose work by Tao Yuanming (372–427), the great poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), tells the story of an ordinary man who stumbles upon a utopian world that he cannot find again after leaving it. The tale was reinterpreted by many Chinese poets and thinkers and has western counterparts in stories from Arcadia to Brigadoon.



Subject matter
This fan is a rare collaboration between two famous artists from Suzhou who belonged to different social strata. The calligraphy is the work of the great literati (non-professional artist) master Wen Zhengming, while the painting is by the professional painter Qiu Ying. Literati artists such as Wen were part of an educated elite that pursued painting and calligraphy as gentlemanly pastimes rather than for financial gain. By contrast, painters who earned their living selling their work usually came from humble families and seldom had a formal education.
The scene is from The Account of the Peach Blossom Spring, inscribed on the scroll by Wen. This famous prose work written by Tao Yuanming (372–427), the great poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), tells the story of an ordinary man who stumbles upon a utopian world that he cannot find again after leaving it. The tale was reinterpreted by many Chinese poets and thinkers and has western counterparts in stories from Arcadia to Brigadoon.

Physical Description
In this fan painting mounted as an album leaf, a fishing boat is moored at shore. Water stretches to the right, and above it calligraphic text recounting the story of Peach Blossom Spring. To the left of the boat, are green riverbanks, blossoming peach trees, and a man in a small cave.

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
boats
calligraphy (process)
fans (costume accessories)
literary theory
spring (season)

& Author Notes

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