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Enjoyment of Chrysanthemums

Artist
Hua Yan, Chinese, 1682–1756
Dynasty
Qing dynasty, 1644–1911
Period
Qianlong period, 1736–1795
Date
1753
Material
Hanging scroll: ink and color on paper
Place from
China, Asia
Classification
Paintings
Current Location
Not on view
Dimensions
25 3/8 x 45 3/16 in. (64.5 x 114.8 cm)
Credit Line
William K. Bixby Trust for Asian Art
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
7:1954
NOTES
This painting offers a view into the dwelling of a scholar-recluse within a rustic environment. While several young attendants busy themselves with the preparation of tea, their master sits on a chair in his study, contemplating an array of potted red and white chrysanthemums in the garden compound. Educated Chinese viewers would have associated this painting with the virtues of reclusive living as exemplified by the famous poet Tao Qian (365–427). Tao, who was exceptionally fond of chrysanthemums, refused service at court to live instead as a hermit in the mountains, cultivating his mind and his flowers. Chrysanthemums bloom in the cool weather of autumn and thus symbolize retirement and the nurturing of scholarly pursuits for the Chinese literati.
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