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Brush Holder with Figures in Landscape and Poetic Inscription

Brush Holder with Figures in Landscape and Poetic Inscription

1700s

Carved bamboo

Overall: 16 x 12.4 cm (6 5/16 x 4 7/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1988.75

Description

This bamboo brush holder shows a scholar inside a mountain retreat under trees. On its back side, a cliff inscribed with a text by the Tang poet Bai Juyi (772–846) describes the carefree life of a scholar among family and servants in the countryside.

The text in cursive script style calligraphy (xingshu) says:

A ten-acre [home], a five-acre yard with a water pool, and a thousand bamboos. Don’t say the field is narrow, or the location remote. It is enough to accommodate the knee and rest the shoulder. It has a hall and a yard, a bridge and a boat. It has books and wine, songs and string [instruments]. An old man in the midst of it, his white beard flowing. [He] is moderate and satisfied, has no demands and needs. Like a bird he chooses a branch, builds a nest, and rests at ease. Like a fish in a swamp, that does not know how wide the ocean is. . . . All I like, lies before me. I drink a cup of wine from time to time, recite a [poem], wife and children play, chicken and dogs are at leisure, and I will grow old here.

See also
Department: 
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 
Wood
Medium: 
Carved bamboo

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