Bamboo, Rocks and Lonely Orchids

Bamboo, Rocks and Lonely Orchids



Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫

(Chinese, 1254-1322)

Handscroll; ink on paper

Mounted: 52.4 x 1337.7 cm (20 5/8 x 526 5/8 in.); Image: 50.9 x 147.8 cm (20 1/16 x 58 3/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund by exchange 1963.515



Zhao Mengfu, a great scholar-painter, wrote this famous and much admired verse: Rocks must be painted in the feibai mode, / The trees done by brush strokes as in archaic writing. / To paint bamboo, one must harbour a full range of brushwork. / To those who can understand this, / The art of painting and calligraphy are but one and the same. In this verse, feibai refers to a brushstroke that allows streaks of white paper to be seen amid the dark ink. Archaic writing, known as the zhuan script, involves brushwork that is curvilinear. In this handscroll, Zhao Mengfu, considered the supreme master of the Yuan dynasty, depicted the rocks and trees in ways that not only evoke the natural images, but also bring the art of calligraphy into the very core of painting.

See also
ASIAN - Handscroll
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email