late 1400s–early 1500s
Hanging scroll, ink and light color on silk
Overall with knobs: 118 x 45 cm (46 7/16 x 17 11/16 in.); Painting: 35.8 x 29.1 cm (14 1/8 x 11 7/16 in.)
Gift of Herbert F. Leisy in memory of his wife, Helen Stamp Leisy 1977.199
The painting is mounted in a Japanese-style three-tier format with futai.
The painting alludes to a legendary incident from the life of Ji Kang 嵇康 (AD 223–262), a guqin player who belonged to a group of 3rd-century eccentric intellectuals. Ji Kang is known as the author of a Guangling San (廣陵散; Melody from Guangling), a composition for the guqin so haunting that it aroused spirits to visit him. The painting depicts the moment when one of the spirits––disguised as a human––is helped by another to emerge from the ground, while others are drawn to the musician playing in his cottage under the full moon.
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