Artist unknown / Cizhou Pillow Depicting Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove / late 13th century - early 14th centuryArtist unknown
Cizhou Pillow Depicting Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove
late 13th century - early 14th century

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Creator Name: artist unknown
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Artist unknown
Title: Cizhou Pillow Depicting Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1266
Creation End Date: 1333
Creation Date: late 13th century - early 14th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: pottery
Materials and Techniques: glazed earthenware
Dimensions: H.6-1/4 x W.17-1/16 x D.7-3/16 in.
Inscriptions: STAMP
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 99.67.1
Credit Line: Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton

This precisely painted pillow illustrates the "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" (Chu-lin ch'i-hsien). These "sages" were historical figures who lived in the environs of Lo-yang during the 3rd century following the fall of the Han dynasty. In the popular mythology that developed around them, they became prototype symbols of scholarly resolve, Taoist reclusion, gentlemanly accomplishments and self-indulgence. The theme of the reclusive sage was repeated in literature and the visual arts throughout most succeeding dynasties. The scholarly subject matter would have been recognizable to an educated Chinese, the type of individual for whom this pillow was intended.

The bottom of the pillow is impressed with a seal bearing three characters which read "made by the Li family" (Li chia tsao). Rectangular pillows from Tz'u-chou with stamped or brushed inscriptions mention the Chang, Wang, Chen and Li family workshops. Based on the number of surviving pillows, the Chang family dominated the market during the 13th century while examples of the Li family are the most rare.

AMICA ID: MIA_.99.67.1
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: ? The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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