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

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Culture: Japanese
Title: The Red Cliff
Date: Edo period, 1851
Medium: Hanging scroll: ink and color on silk
Dimensions: Image: 12.13 x 18.25 in.; 30.8102 x 46.355 cm
Credit Line: George and Mary Rockwell Collection
Object Number: 78.021
Label Text: Son of the artist Haruki Nanko (1759–1839) and student of Tani Buncho, Nammei was a Nanga painter of the late Edo and early Meiji periods whose own style was rather eclectic, blending elements of various schools of Japanese painting with some Western influence.

Here Nammei depicts a classic Chinese landscape subject that recalls the “Odes to the Red Cliffs,” the eleventh-century poet Su Shi’s series of rhapsodic essays on boating excursions with a few friends to this site on the Yangtze River. Written while he was exiled from government service, the odes convey Su Shi’s introspective thoughts and became a favorite subject of literati artists in China and Japan. The best known Chinese painting on the theme of Red Cliff was painted by Wu Yuanzhi (ca. 1190–1196) of the Jin dynasty, and is now housed in the National Palace Museum, Taipei. ("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.