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This handscroll in running script (xing) by Chen Jiru (1558–1639) records the calligraphy of Su Shi (1037–1101) written as expressions of the Song-dynasty (960–1279) artist’s disposition in adverse circumstances. Although most of the content deals with trifles, the calligraphy has alluring brushwork with a refreshing artistic conception that reflects Su’s open-mindedness and elegant lifestyle. This type of work by Su was regarded with special fondness by the literati of the late-Ming period (Ming dynasty, 1368–1644) and deeply influenced short literary works in that dynasty.
Originally from Huating (present-day Songjiang District, Shanghai), Chen Jiru was a poet and calligrapher but also proficient at painting landscapes and plum blossoms. He went by the courtesy name (zi) Zhongchun and by the style names (hao) Meigong and Migong.
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu