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The Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion

Artist:Wen Zhengming, Ming Dynasty Handscroll, Ink and colour on silk 30.5x624cm Dated 1557

Wen Zhengming (1470-1599) had an original name called Wen Bi, and his zi (designated name) was Zhengming, which the painter mainly used to refer to himself. He later changed his zi to Zhengzhong. His hao (literary name) was Hengshanjushi. Born in Changzhou (today’s Wuxian, Jiangsu province, he was once a Compiling Assistant (daizhao) in the Hanlin Academy (hanlinyuan), but later he resigned and returned to his hometown. Wen was renowned as one of the “Four Talents in Wuzhong” together with Zhu Yunming, Tang yin, and Xu Zhenqing. As a calligrapher, he specialized in running script, cursive script, as well as clerical script. He also excelled at landscape painting and imitated the style in the Song and Yuan Dynasties. His use of ink and brush is forceful, smooth, graceful and refined. He was also good at painting flowers, orchids, bamboos, and figures. He was renowned as one of the “Four Master Painters of the Ming Dynasty” together with Shen Zhou, Tang Yin, and Qiu Ying.   

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