Anonymous (Ming Dynasty)
Marquis Wu reclining, ink and color on silk, framed | 無款(明) 松下武侯 設色絹本 鏡框
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Anonymous (Ming dynasty)
Marquis Wu reclining, ink and color on silk, framed
無款(明) 松下武侯 設色絹本 鏡框
ink and color on silk, framed
Height 61 in., 155 cm; Width 41 in., 104 cm
Overall good condition. Appears to be trimmed and laid down on board. Some silk loss and old repairs. Apocryphal signature of Ma Yuan in lower left.
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Collection of Dr Wou Kiuan (1910-1997).
Wou Lien-Pai Museum, 1960-present, coll. no. 86.
吳權博士 (1910-1997) 收藏
Roderick Whitfield et al., Classical Chinese Art. Selected Catalogue of the Paintings and Calligraphy. Wou Lien-Pai Museum, Hong Kong, 2011, pl. 16.
韋陀等，《Classical Chinese Art. Selected Catalogue of the Paintings and Calligraphy. Wou Lien-Pai Museum》，香港，2011年，圖版16
This Ming dynasty work depicts the famous military strategist, statesman, inventor, and scholar Zhuge Liang (181-234) of the Three Kingdoms Period reclining in repose beneath an ancient pine tree beside a stream. The subject is identified by the fan that sits on the ground beside him. Zhuge Liang, although a Confucian Legalist, is often depicted wearing Daoist robes and holding a fan made from crane feathers. In this example, the feathered fan has been placed on the ground, next to an inkstone, brush, and blank sheet of paper, as the scholar, lost in thought, prepares to write a poem. He is accompanied by two servants and a white crane, which reinforces the allusion to Zhuge’s Daoist sensibilities.
Although he would later become celebrated for his military prowess and was granted the title of Marquis Wu, he is often depicted, as in this example, in his younger years as a high-minded scholar recluse who had to be convinced to reluctantly serve as a statesman and strategist. After his death Zhuge Liang's legacy was frequently memorialized in popular literature and art.
Although the painting bears a spurious signature of the Song dynasty master Ma Yuan (active ca. 1190-1225), it is a fine work of the Ming dynasty, most likely painted by an unnamed court painter of the 16th century, working within the Ma Yuan tradition.