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Oct 18, 2010

Literary Gathering in the Orchid Pavilion

Literary Gathering in the Orchid Pavilion

late 1700s

Maruyama Ōkyo 丸山応挙

(Japanese, 1733-1795)

Six-panel folding screen; ink and slight color on paper

Image: 83 x 191.8 cm (32 11/16 x 75 1/2 in.); Overall: 95.7 x 204.5 cm (37 11/16 x 80 1/2 in.); Open and extended: 83 x 243 cm (32 11/16 x 95 11/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1977.1



A cheerful gathering of poets was one the most popular themes of East Asian literati paintings. Literary Gathering in the Orchid Pavilion depicts a poets’ party hosted in AD 353 by the famous Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi to celebrate the Spring Purification Festival, observed annually on the third day of the third month. Wang invited 41 scholar-poets to compose poetry and drink while seated along the bank of a winding rivulet. This screen would have appeared on the left and shows preparations for the gathering. The lost right screen is assumed to have depicted the poets sitting along the stream.

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