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Bamboo-Covered Stream in Spring Rain

A work made of handscroll; ink on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of handscroll; ink on paper.


Ming dynasty (1368–1644), dated 1441


Xia Chang (Chinese, 1388-1470)

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


China (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Handscroll; ink on paper


Inscribed by the artist: 海虞周君季宏築室西疇,脩竹萬竿環繞溪上。予嘗造焉,愛其泉石清幽,竹色蒼潤,足以洗滌塵慮。一日季宏命中子廷悅持素卷來求墨君。予方納涼松亭,因想其勝,為寫竹泉春雨圖以復之。雖不能造古人閫奧,抑亦仿佛乎西疇之勝概也耶。季宏博雅君子,見之豈無彼此相感之意焉!時正統辛酉夏六月初吉,東吳夏昶仲昭識。 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 [1441], Xia Chang Zhongshao of Dongwu.


41.3 × 1500 cm (16 1/4 × 600 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment Fund

Reference Number


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