Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Landscape with figures, bees and monkeys

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Landscape with figures, bees and monkeys


Lan Meng

Chinese, active 1644 - 1722

A pavilion at the upper left contains an elegant collection of books and ceramics. The owner is seated nearby in deep contemplation, perhaps thinking about whether to leave his mountain retreat for the worldly power of official service. An older man whose wisdom is implied by a double-gourd flask on a staff appears to provide him with sage advice. They are surrounded by spectacular wilderness: a roaring waterfall, twisting rocks, and dramatic trees, one precariously reaching over a rising mist. A monkey hangs on one of its branches, gazing at a tiny wasp. The word for wasp (feng) is a homophone for the verb “to confer” (feng), whereas monkey (hou) in Chinese sounds like the ancient rank of marquis (hou). Providing the animal-rebuses in his painting with a natural habitat, Lan Meng offers his patron good wishes, “May you receive high rank.”
Ink and color on silk
Overall: 100 x 47 1/8 in. (254 x 119.7cm)
Image: 91 1/4 × 38 1/4 in. (231.7 × 98cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Leon Ellis
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective, December 22, 2007 - July 26, 2009.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing [on view Dec. 10, 2021 - July 24, 2022].
Published ReferencesToda, Teisuke and Hiromitsu Ogawa. Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings: Second Series. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1998. See p. I-362, I-261

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM