For Chinese painters, images of plants and animals could convey human aspirations, seasonal themes, or—through visual puns or rebuses—wishes for well-being and good fortune. The 17th- and 18th-century handscrolls in this rotation may have shared some literary or cultural allusions, but they nonetheless reflected very different artistic traditions and clienteles, whether by a professional artist for a commercial patron or as a birthday gift for a member of the educated elite. The focused exhibition also features several round, handled fans of the type made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai.
Shen Kai. Geese on a Riverbank, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), 1750. Avery Brundage Fund.