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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Culture: Chinese
Title: Portrait of Li T'ai-p'o
Date: 1978; 20th century
Medium: Hanging scroll: ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: Image: 26 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches (67.3 x 45.1 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund
Object Number: 80.067.001
Label Text: According to the inscription, the subject is the famous Tang dynasty poet Li Bo (701-762). Dressed in a flowing scholarly robe and a cap, he sits under a canopy of tree branches, holds a wine cup in one hand, and leans to one side with an elbow on a platform where we see a bronze wine vessel. The poet gazes languorously into space, perhaps inebriated. One of Li Bo's most famous poems is "Drinking Alone by Moonlight:"

Here among flowers one flask of wine,
With no close friends, I pour it alone.

I lift cup to bright moon, beg its company,
Then facing my shadow, we become three.

The moon has never known how to drink;
My shadow does nothing but follow me.

But with moon and shadow as companions the while,
This joy I find must catch spring while it's here.

I sing, and the moon just lingers on;
I dance, and my shadow flails wildly.

When still sober we share friendship and pleasure,
Then utterly drunk, each goes his own way-

Let us join to roam beyond human cares
And plan to meet far in the river of stars.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.