PROPERTY FROM THE ROBERT HATFIELD ELLSWORTH COLLECTION
ink and color on paper; handscroll
with one seal of the artist, Gong Shou, and various collectors' seals
Frontispiece by Xiao Xian (1431-1506) signed and dated the sixth day of the seventh month of the fifteenth year of the Chenghua reign (1479)
Following the Frontispiece is an essay "A Preface to the Poems of the Retirement to Wu Shan" written by Li Dongyang (1447-1516) with three seals
After the painting, there are twenty-three colophons by the artist's contemporaries, a group of officals in the Chenghua Emperor's court:
Colophons by Xie Duo (1435-1510) with one seal; Zhang Tai (Jin She, 1464) with two seals; Wu Kuan (1435-1504) with one seal; Sun Lin with one seal; Ling Yuan with one seal; Li Jie (1443-1517) with two seals; Xiao Kui with three seals; Chen Jue (1440-1506) with three seals; Pan Chen (d.1519) with one seal; Chen Yixing with three seals; Lu Rong (1436-1497); Yang Yiqing (1454-1530) with three seals; Xi Hao (1447-1482) with three seals; Huang Qian with three seals; Lu Chang (1449-1511) with three seals; Zhou Zhen (1432-1514) with one seal; Huang Can with one seal; Ma Shaorong (d.1501) with four seals; Jiang Ligang with three seals; Liu Kai with three seals; Zhuang Quan and with one seal; Wu Hufan (1894-1968) with one seal
Collectors' seals include:
Wen Zhenmeng (1574-1636), great grandson of Wen Zhengming
Gu Yuan (19th Century Suzhou collector)
One colophon dated 1937 and one seal of Wu Hufan (1894-1968)
Three seals of N.P. Wong
According to the preface by Li Dongyang, this scroll was dedicated to Wen Hung (Wen Gongda, b.1426), the grandfather of the famous artist Wen Zhengming (1477-1559). Wen Hung and his son, Wen Lin (1445-1499), were in the capital serving in offical positions. Wen Hung retired to Wu Shan, Suzhou. In 1479, Wen Lin returned home to see his father. When he came back to the capital and told his fellow officials about the life of his father, Pan Chen took two sentences with ten chracters from a Tang poem meaning:
"Retired before one with sucesss,
Living in leisure, one does not dislike his poverty"
All the collectors who inscribed poems on this scroll shared the rhymes of these ten characters. Yao Shou's painting was probably executed after the poems were composed, since Yao had already returned and lived in his hometown, Jiashan, in Zhejiang province.
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