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Creator Name: Zhao, Zhong
Creator Nationality: Chinese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Zhong Zhao
Title: Ink Flowers
Title Type: Primary
Creation Start Date: 1361
Creation End Date: 1361
Creation Date: 1361
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: handscroll, ink on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 31.8cm x 153.2cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1967.36
Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
Context: This elegant work was painted by an artist who, like Zhang Wu, illustrator of the Nine Songs (see page 77), acknowledged his familiarity with the linear baimiao technique advanced by the Song master Li Gonglin. As stated in his inscription, however, other earlier masters inspired the painting: I did this scroll, using Tang Zhengzhong's [active in the Southern Song court of Ningzong, 1195-1224] method of "ink-flower painting." I also composed poems in the style of Li He in praise of the flowers. My poemsand painting may not be very good; they are nonetheless all derived from the heritage of the ancients. It is just as if one wants to draw a square or circle, one must first know how to use the ruler and the compass. May the connoisseur kindly refrain fromlaughing at them. By specifying his artistic model, adding poetry based on an earlier writer written in his own hand, and articulating explicitly his method of creation, Zhao Zhong assembled a paradigmatic image of Yuan personal expression. Isolated against the luminous surface of this especially powdery, sized fengjian paper, Zhao's sprays of lily, narcissus, and peony--each paired with his poem--appear frail and ghostly. Closer examination, however, reveals the strength of his precise brushwork that transforms these horticultural studies into brilliant vehicles of expressive painting. The choice of flowers is unusual as the three belong to no known seasonal or symbolic system current in the fourteenth century. The selection could be unique and influenced by his professional interests as a medical doctor and herbalist. It is known, for example, that lilies could be used to form a powder that dispelled grief; the young leaves, eaten raw, produced an intoxicating effect. The rough bark of tree peony roots, on the other hand, is prescribed to cure various blood disorders. K.W.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1967.36
AMICA Library Year: 1998
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