Album leaf; ink and color on silk
Diameter: 25.7 cm (10 1/8 in.)
Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1915.702
The archaic vessels and qin, or seven-stringed zither, on the table allude to the gentleman-scholar’s cultural refinement.
Poet Tao Yuanming (365–427 CE) turned down a civil service career in politically turbulent times to write poetry and enjoy his garden. In his poem Drinking Wine, he wrote: "I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern fence, and serenely I gaze at the southern mountains." His desire to leave bureaucratic life for the simplicity and authenticity of nature has deeply resonated with generations of Chinese scholars, making it a popular theme in paintings.
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