Daylilies

Accession Number
1996/2.29

Title
Daylilies

Artist(s)
Jin Nong

Object Creation Date
circa 1754-1756

Medium & Support
ink and color on paper

Dimensions
11 3/8 in x 12 1/4 in (28.89 cm x 31.12 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Charles C.S. Ling, in memory of Vee Ling Edwards

Label copy
Jin Nong was one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, a group of highly individualistic artists active in the metropolis of Yangzhou. He began his career as a calligrapher, taking up painting at the age of sixty. A master of many subjects—bamboo, flowers, landscapes, horses, self-portraits, Buddhist images, and more —Jin Nong was the most prolific painter of the Yangzhou school.
Like many of his flower paintings, these album leaves—possibly from a larger set—are painted in a light and lively manner.
Jin Nong experimented with various types of calligraphy, including “print-type” calligraphy based on a Ming-dynasty (1368–1644) script. The brushstrokes are even and angular and the characters balanced and clear, in vivid contrast to the delicate brushwork of the blooms. Similarly, Daylilies contrasts the modulated lines of the flower with the uniform vigor of the characters in the inscription on the right, which expresses the hope that Jin Nong’s mother will enjoy a long life filled with the happiness evoked by the blooming flower:
 
Near mother’s northern hall, the daylily blossoms like a smiling face.
I wish that she would live a hundred years, and happiness will last
throughout her life. She would never have to recount her worries and troubles to others. The daylily most certainly causes mothers to disregard their sorrow.
Fall rotation 2016

Subject matter
One of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, a group of highly individualistic artists active in the prosperous metropolis of Yangzhou, Jin Nong began his artistic career as a calligrapher, but at the age of sixty his painting talent finally blossomed. He mastered many subjects, including bamboo, vegetables, plum blossoms, horses, self-portraits and late in life, Buddhist images. These album leaves are elegant counterpoints to the angular standard script of the artist and are characteristic of his distinctly individualized calligraphic style.
The inscription on the album leaf depicting lotus blossoms reads:

In the evening, the rustic fragrance [of the lotus blossom] invites the guests to linger,
While the egrets at the Thirty-six Ponds and the whole world [enjoy] a cool [breeze].
The inscription on the album leaf depicting day lily reads:
Near [mother’s] northern hall, [the day lily] blossoms like a smiling face.
[I] wish [that she] would live a hundred years, [and] happiness will last throughout [her] life.
She would never have to recount [her] worries and troubles to others.
The day lily most certainly causes [mothers] to disregard their sorrow.

Physical Description
The painting depicts several daylily flowers in pale yellow leaning over to the left with their long, dark green leaves curled toward the ground. An inscription runs three lines along the right side of the painting. 

This work is a pair of album leaves with 1996/2.28.

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
album leaf
calligraphy (process)
flowers (plant components)
painting

4 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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