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

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Culture: Chinese
Title: Visiting Friends with a Qin
Date: 18th century
Medium: Hanging scroll: finger painted with ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: Image: 46 1/2 x 19 inches (118.1 x 48.3 cm)
Credit Line: George and Mary Rockwell Collection
Object Number: 69.015
Label Text: This painting depicts a scholar on his way to visiting a friend and accompanied by his servant carrying a zither-like qin. A poem of the same title by Gao Qi (1336-1374), which was originally inscribed on a painting, seems to be illustrated here:

Solitary rider, solitary qin
He breathes mist to enter gully shade.
That he should seek so far, Sir, marvel not:
In the city there are few who know his music

The poem refers to the association of the qin with the recluse scholar and a traditional belief that only the refined mind of a sage can truly appreciate its music.
This image is rendered in the loose, free style of finger (and fingernail) painting, a technique that flourished in China in the early 18th century. Zhu Lunhan, a descendant of the Ming imperial family, learned finger painting from his uncle, the artist Gao Qipei (1672-1734). For this method, the artist grew a fingernail until it curved sufficiently to be used as a reservoir for ink. Zhu also served as a painter at the court of the emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736-95).

The conservation and re-mounting of this scroll was funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, an independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. Additional support was provided by Joseph Biancalana.

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.