Handscroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 22.5 x 687.2 cm (8 7/8 x 270 9/16 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1980.187
The Odes of Bin appears in the classic Shijing (Book of Poetry), an anthology of more than 300 poems, folk songs, and ceremonial hymns that were originally chanted to music.
According to Confucian thought, the ruler looks after the well-being of his people which involves agricultural activities. Seventh Month from the ancient Odes of Bin in the Shijing (Book of Poetry) describes occupations throughout the year, including plowing, harvesting, hunting, making clothes, and observing rituals.
The earliest illustrations of these Odes accompanied by text were commissioned by Southern Song emperor Gaozong (reigned 1127–1162). As the lower Yangzi delta had become the new seat of government, Gaozong had sets of these illustrations produced by court artists to revive the dynasty and convince the Confucian officialelite of his legitimacy to rule.
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