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Recluse Fishing on Flower Brook

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Period: Chongzhen reign (1628-1644), Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Medium: Embroidery of the Gu family
Format: album leaf

Artist(s): Han Ximeng (7th c.)

Dimensions: height: 33.4 cm, width: 24.5 cm

the eighth of an album of eight leaves, Masterpieces of Song and Yuan Dynasties 

This embroidery is after a painting of the same title by Wang Meng (1308-1385), the accomplished painter of the Yuan dynasty (1272-1368). The painting now is in the permanent collection of the National Palace Museum in Taibei. Other than copying the original painting, lady Han grasped the essence of it and then presented a quiet river scene with her miraculous needles. Short, continuous mountains suggest the distance from beyond the river. In the middle, a hermit fisherman fishes from a boat that is small compared to the wide expanse of the river-a large blank space without a stitch to indicate water. In the foreground, the riverbank is elaborately treated with embroidery. Trees are rendered with stitches in imitation of ink dots, hooks, and wash after the brush style of Wang Meng. The embroidery combines needlework with polychrome paint. However, thin threads would never replace the writing brush. Due to the limitations of this different art form, it can hardly be expected to present the full effect of ink splash and ink wash when portraying luxuriant forests and spectacular mountain ranges.

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