UA06047 Japanese Nanga school 6-panel screen, inks on paper in the idealized Chinese literati mode rendering the famous subject “First Excursion to Red Cliff, 1082”, based on the Chinese poet Su Shi (a.k.a. Su Dongpo; 1037-1101) visiting the historic site in Hubei province on the Yangtze river where in 208 the Han general Cao Cao and his army were defeated by a smaller number of soldiers led by the younger superior strategist, Zhou Yu. This subject of the poet’s visit became a principal topic for both poets and painters. The famous passage waxes on about the poet and his two friends in a boat beneath Red Cliff admiring the beauty of the moment with wine and poetry. Here the boating scene is rendered as a lone vessel with three learned men drinking with a boy in attendance heating wine and a boatman at the back, all dwarfed by the magnificence of Red Cliff on center poking through the mist, a flock of birds in the distance and marshy grasses in the foreground using the negative space of the composition to illustrate the vastness of the landscape and the other world like experience that Su Shi explains in his poetry, two red seals of the artist on the right panel unidentified. Signs of remounting and restorations to the wear at the edges of the painting, other minor signs of age, overall fine condition. 150” x 66-1/2”. 19th Century.
For another rendition of this subject matter see: Ike Taiga and Tokuyama Gyokuran: Japanese Masters of the Brush, #23, pg. 143.