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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Poem for the painting "Sunset over the Jin and Jiao Mountains"‘

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Poem for the painting "Sunset over the Jin and Jiao Mountains"‘


Wen Zhengming

Chinese, 1470-1559

At age 51, Wen Zhengming wrote this masterpiece, a poem celebrating a painting he had created at 25: two mountains rising out of the Yangzi River as if two islands. In writing, one’s choice of calligraphic model is as important as the content. Wen borrows from the manner of Song dynasty master Mi Fu (1051–1107). He channels Mi’s dramatic style in his slashing hooks and slanting, elongated character structures. By this time, Wen had failed the metropolitan examinations eight times—his calligraphic exuberance shows no sign of this agony. In the next three decades, his accomplishments in calligraphy, poetry, and painting secured his fame as the leader of the “Wu School.”
Handscroll; ink on paper
Overall: 15 3/16 x 454 1/2 in. (38.5 x 1154.5 cm)
(1) Front inscription paper: 36.4 cm (h) x 95.1 cm (w);
(2) Calligraphy proper: 36.4 cm (h) x 442.6 cm (w);
(3) Colophon paper: 36.4 cm (h) x 356.4 cm (w)
Purchased in honor of Jay Xu and Jennifer Chen with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Art Acquisition Fund Anonymous, Mimi and Bill Gates, the Asian Art Council, Jeffrey and Susan Brotman, Lyn and Gerald Grinstein, Jane and David Davis, Christine Y. Nicolov, David and Daphne Tang, Griffith and Patricia Way, Gail Joice, Winifred and Ven Lee, Julie Emerson, Phil Stoiber, Scotty Ray, Albert and Angelina Yen, Mike McCafferty, SAM Volunteers Association, John Stevenson, Sheila Farr, Julie Creahan, Nancy Curtis, and Steve Erickson
Provenance: Wang Bingtao王秉韬 (d. 1802); He Shaoye 何紹業 (1799-1839); Li Shixiu 李識脩(1861–1930); Chang Ch’ung-Ho Frankel 張充和 (born 1913)
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryNew Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Art Gallery, Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy, Apr. 6 and June 27, 1977 (Berkeley, California, University Art Museum, University of California, Sept. 20 and Nov. 27, 1977).

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

Tokyo, Japan, Suntory Museum of Art, Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum, July 25 - Sept. 6, 2009 (Kobe, Japan, Kobe City Museum, Sept. 19 - Dec. 6, 2009; Kofu, Japan, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Dec. 23, 2009 - Feb. 28, 2010; Atami, Japan, MOA Museum of Art, Mar. 13 - May 9, 2010; Fukuoka, Japan, Fukuoka Art Museum, May 23 - July 19, 2010).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Luminous: The Art of Asia, Oct. 13, 2011 - Jan. 8, 2012.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing.
Published ReferencesFu Shen, Traces of the Brush Studies in Chinese Calligraphy, New Haven, Conn., 1977, cat. 51.

Bai Qianshen, “Ch’ung-ho Chang and her calligraphy collection,” Calligraphy, June 11, 2001.

Bai Qianshen, “Ch’ung-ho Chang’s collection of contemporary Chinese literati’s calligraphy,” Connoisseurs, vol. 8 (2002): 41-42.

Kawai, Masatomo, Yasuhiro Nishioka, Yukiko Sirahara, editors, Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art from the Seattle Art Museum, 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun, cat. # 82.

Waugh, Daniel C. "The Arts of China in Seattle." The Silk Road, vol. 12 (2014): pp. 137-152, reproduced p. 141, fig. 13.

Chen, Guannan. “Xiyatu yishu bowuguan cang zhang chong he shuji ji shou canh ju ou.” Shu Yu Hua Volume 9, no. 276 (September 2015): pp. 22-31, reproduced pp. 30-31.

Foong, Ping, Xiaojin Wu, and Darielle Mason. "An Asian Art Museum Transformed." Orientations vol. 51, no. 3 (May/June 2020): pp. 50-51, reproduced fig. 7.

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