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

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Title: Orchids and Bamboos
Date: 1874 (autumn)
Medium: Hanging scroll: ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: Image: 58 1/4 x 32 1/4 inches (148 x 81.9 cm)
Credit Line: George and Mary Rockwell Collection
Object Number: 88.002.186
Label Text: As a leading painter from the Shanghai school in the late nineteenth century, Hu Gongshou was known for his sweeping, vigorous brushstrokes. In this painting the overall impression is of a luxuriant scene of bamboos and orchids, two of the so-called “Four Gentlemen” (along with plum and chrysanthemum), while a light colored cluster of auspicious lingzhi fungus emerging from the rock adds a sense of secular delight to this conventional literati theme. Such images, with their sumptuous colors and symbolic associations with prosperity and good fortune, appealed to the tastes of the new urban consumers of Shanghai. The demands of this emerging group of art collectors in the late nineteenth century certainly spurred the Shanghai school painters to modernize traditional Chinese literati subjects. ("Tradition, Transmission, and Transformation in East Asian Art," curated by Cornell PhD student Yuhua Ding under the supervision of Ellen Avril and presented at the Johnson Museum January 23-June 12, 2016)

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.