Immortals Celebrating a Birthday

 
Artist
Creation date
Period
Shunzhi
Dynasty
Qing dynasty
Materials
ink and color on silk
Mark Descriptions
signed: Laochi Hongshou; seals: Hongshou, Zhanghou
Dimensions
66 1/2 x 26 7/8 in. (image) 119 3/8 x 34 7/8 in. (overall)
Credit line
Purchased to complement the Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese art through the bequest of Mrs. Enid Goodrich and the support of Lilly Endowment Inc.
Accession number
2004.13
Collection
Not Currently On View

 

仙人獻壽圖

2004.13Chen's inscription reads

茂才道盟兄于已丑季夏,四旬初度。其弟茂齊索畫寄壽。壽酒當俟太平時,與丁秋平為黃白之遊索飲耳。

In late summer of 1649, it will be the fortieth birthday of Maocai, my venerable sworn elder brother. His younger brother, Maoqi, requested a painting [from me] to be sent as a birthday gift. 

 

I will save the birthday wine until peace comes. Only by then, (my friend) Ding Qiuping and I will ask for it when we make trips to the immortal's fairyland.

[tr. M. Wu]

K. S. Wong, Hong Kong; Henry Harrison (6/19/83); IMA (2004.13)
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
Tel: 212-736-6666
Fax: 212-736-6767
e-mail: info@vagarights.com
site: http://www.vaga.org/

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

The long, simple drape of ancient fashions and the exaggerated facial features, clarity of forms, and smooth coloring allude to antique painting styles, giving this image an iconic quality. The cross-eyed male servant seems almost bored as he stands playfully holding a dragon-headed staff that compresses his nose and lips. The host-the one ladling wine-and the two guests are immortals, who may well parallel the people mentioned in the inscription on the painting: the birthday celebrant; the brother who commissioned the painting; and the painter, Chen Hongshou.

One of the leading artists of the late Ming dynasty, Chen is among the great figure painters in the history of Chinese painting. This richly detailed painting is one of his finest works and illustrates the peak of his mature style. Elsewhere in his inscription, Chen boldly declares his allegiance to the fallen Ming dynasty and hints at the chaotic times that followed the conquest by the northern Manchus, who established the last dynasty, called the Qing, which ended in 1911.

This work is from a collection of twenty-eight paintings acquired by the IMA in 2004. The collection spans almost four hundred years, with particular emphasis on the mid-1600s, when China underwent the profound political shift from the native Ming dynasty to the Qing.

In late summer of 1649, it will be the fortieth birthday of Maocai, my venerable elder brother. His younger brother, Maoqi, requested a painting to be sent as a birthday gift. I will save the birthday wine until peace comes. . . .
-Inscription by Chen Hongshou, 1649