Title: Portrait of Li T'ai-p'o
Hanging scroll: ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: Image: 26 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches (67.3 x 45.1 cm)
Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund
Object Number: 80.067.001
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.