Album leaf; ink and color on silk
Image: 25.3 x 19.2 cm (9 15/16 x 7 9/16 in.); with mat: 33.3 x 40.5 cm (13 1/8 x 15 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1978.68
The depiction of the female figure playing the pipa and the scholarly male evokes an association with a romantic encounter narrated in a well-known Tang dynasty poem.
Highlighted with a few bright accents, this fan painting conveys a nightly atmosphere with boats anchoring on West Lake at the foot of the city walls. Willow trees line the embankment, and the moon appears above the mountains. While the city is asleep, a figure wearing red inside a boat holds what appears to be a pipa (plucked stringed instrument), while a blue-robed gentleman nearby gazes toward the sound of music, evoking an association with Song of the Lute (Pipa xing) by Tang poet Bai Juyi (772–846) which tells the story of a romantic encounter on the Yangzi River.
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