Gao Fenghan / Plum Blossoms and Peonies / 1741Gao Fenghan
Plum Blossoms and Peonies

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Creator Name: Gao Fenghan
Creator Nationality: Chinese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1683 - 1749
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Gao Fenghan
Title: Plum Blossoms and Peonies
Title Type: Primary
View: Detail
Creation Start Date: 1741
Creation End Date: 1741
Creation Date: 1741
Object Type: Paintings
Classification Term: Painting
Materials and Techniques: handscroll, ink on paper
Dimensions: Image: 26cm x 96.2cm, Overall: 28.9cm x 534.7cm
Inscriptions: Artist's 2 inscriptions and 9 seals (the painting of Peonies with the artist's colophon and the colophon by Hou Chia-fan are on a single sheet of paper).Artist's inscription and 2 seals (Plum Blossoms): [seal] Ts'ai-yün. After finishing writing my colophon, I unrolled the painting to take another look, and it now seems that the composition here should have moved to the later part of the scroll. If that is the case, then the "Cool Beauty" [prunus] of the Solitary Hill is after all unable to take precedence over the "King of Flowers" [peony]. A laugh. Lao-fou inscribed. [seal] Feng-han.Artist's colophon (Plum Blossoms):[3 seals] Tun; Yen-yün-kung-yang, Hou-shang-tso-sheng. A few days after I painted this scroll for Shui-hsien [Yüeh Meng-yüan], the plum blossoms were in full bloom at his residence. He invited me over to enjoy them together for a long while, and I composed two additional poems and wrote them down here for his criticism. [Poems on the colophon are not translated.] First month, twenty-first day, your junior, Kao Feng-han of Nan-fou drafted this with the left hand. [seal] Feng-han.Artist's inscription and 4 seals (Peonies):Brushed with the left hand in the hsin-yu year [1741]. [seal] Yu-hsi. [3 seals at end of painting] Hou-shang-tso-sheng; Yen-yün-kung-yang; Shih-tsao-wu.Artist's colophon and seal (Peonies):The imperial concubine from the Yang family loved to dress in red,And from the emperor won the title of Hai-t'ang.But ever since she became the new dream of the moon palace,She changed into rainbow colors, while learning to dance.After I wrote the poem on Looking for Plum Blossoms in the Teng-wei Mountains, I attached to it a few branches of prunus, some bamboo tips and a piece of rock, with a scattering of green [moss] here and there to fill up the scroll. Unexpectedly, my playful fascination [with these subjects] was still not quite satisfied, so I made up these amorous ideas and romantic images [of the peony], to follow the footsteps of the fair lady of the Ku-hsieh Mountain [prunus]. Furthermore, I picked out one poem to be my vanguard. Perhaps such luminosity of wealth and power will be enough to overwhelm the poor fellows, and [they] will not mind the comparatively short length [of paper] assigned to it. Amusingly inscribed. Please correct me again. To Shui-hsien, my learned senior, your junior Han inscribed again. [seal] Tso-hua [left-handed painting].1 additional colophon and 5 additional seals: 1 colophon, dated 1742, and 3 seals of Hou Chia-fan (act. ca. 1742); 1 seal of P'u Ch'üan (20th c.?); 1 seal of Li family (dates unknown).
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1980.13
Credit Line: Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund
Style or Period: China, Qing dynasty (1644-1912)
Context: In 1737, Gao Fenghan was imprisoned for a short time. When he emerged, his right hand was paralyzed and he was thus no longer able to wield the brush for calligraphy and painting--skills forwhich he had been known. Still, he attempted these arts by using his left hand, which in China was exceedingly rare. His efforts brought him added fame.This handscroll comprises a segment featuring plum blossoms and bamboo, two plants that evoke purity and inner strength, and another featuring the peony, king of flowers and symbolic of beauty and fortune. These two segments provide evidence that despite his disability, Gao Fenghen retained a forceful vision.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1980.13
AMICA Library Year: 2003
Media Metadata Rights:

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