About this artwork
This fifty-foot composition reveals a “slit-view” perspective of bamboo growing along a stream. In single brushstrokes of varied tonality, leaves and stalks are depicted close up, cut off at top and bottom. Xia Chang executed this painting with great breadth and boldness as a gift for a friend who had planted a bamboo grove around his retirement villa.
As it bends without breaking, bamboo evoked human values of resiliency and endurance for intellectual painters of premodern China. Xia’s dedicatory inscription on this scroll, describing the bamboo garden as “washing away ordinary thought,” expresses their desire for retreat from the trials of official life. He had served the government in roles of calligrapher, draftsman, and administrative secretary before retiring for a decade in 1439, initially to care for his aged mother. This painting exhibits his style of angular rocks, ink-washed shoreline, and fluent brushwork that matured during that period.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of Asia
- Xia Chang
- Bamboo-Covered Stream in Spring Rain
- Handscroll; ink on paper
- Inscribed by the artist: Zhou Jihong of Haiwu built a house at Xichou, where ten thousand long bamboo trees surround the stream. I love the quiet and beautiful scenery of stream and rocks, and the green and moist color of bamboo is enough to clean away worldly worries. One day Jihong had his second son, Tingyue, bring me a roll of blank paper and ask for a painting of bamboo. At that time, I was enjoying the coolness at the Pine Pavilion; therefore, I thought about the scenery and painted the Bamboo-Bordered Stream in Spring Rain. Although my painting cannot match the old masters’ essence of learning, it resembles the scenery of Xichou. I wonder if Jihong, who is a scholar of profound knowledge, has the same feeling when he looks at this painting. On the first day of the sixth month, in the xinyou year of the Zhentong reign , Xia Chang Zhongshao of Dongwu.
- 41.3 × 1500.0 cm (16 1/4 × 600 in.)
- Kate S. Buckingham Endowment Fund