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On Exhibit

Fans, small objects, and the beautiful boxes in which to keep them coalesce into an intimate world for the scholar and collector. Elegant, finely crafted, and intellectual in content, they form the basis of our current exhibition.

The setting for the literary and artistic endeavors of the scholar is a creative and uncommonly rich and delicate world. The objects with which he surrounds himself are there to express the ideal of scholarship, morality, and refined taste. Brushpots, brushes, inkstones, water droppers, scholar rocks, and boxes are just a few of the scholar's accoutrements. Huanguali, zitan and bamboo in hues from golden brown to black, natural forms with original patina and extraordinary grains, such elements comprise what is exceptional about any scholar object.

Scholar objects are used by the scholar/artist in the practice of painting and calligraphy. The fan format has traditionally presented a challenge to the artist as he aims at capturing the essence of the larger world outside his studio. In a fan painting the artist will reflect his imagination in the most intimate of universes.

The oldest painting is a landscape, Spring in Changan, dated 1631 painted by Yang Wencong (1597-1645). It is a fan painting in ink on gold paper. The most recent painting, Wisteria, is from the 1920s, a fan painting in ink and color on paper by Qi Baishi (1863-1957). The most ancient object is a water dropper in the shape of a frog from the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1290). There is also an extremely important 17th century zitan brushpot from the desk of scholar/artist Shen Bai (1626-1703). Altogether, there are 19 paintings and 12 objects.

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