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Art Diary

Vision and Verse: The Poetry of Chinese Painting

26 January 2024

Through some 90 works drawn from its own collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explores the relationship between painting and poetry in China. Paintings, calligraphy and decorative arts reveal how artists have responded to and adapated the work of poets from antiquity to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). Highlights include the Odes of the State of Bin, a set of 12th-century hand scrolls illustrated by Ma Hezhi with calligraphy attributed to the emperor Gaozong – a work that presents songs from Bin (modern Shensi province), the ancient homeland of the Zhou dynasty. Also on show is Portrait of a Gentleman Gathering Chrysanthemums (1790) by Hua Guan, which belongs to a popular genre of portraits depicting their sitters in scenes from the poetry of Tao Yuanming (365–427). Find out more from the Met’s website.

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Odes of the State of Bin (mid 12th century), Ma Hezhi and assistants, calligraphy attributed to the Emperor Gaozong. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Scholar Fu Sheng Transmitting the Book of Documents (detail; 15th–mid 16th century), Du Jin. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Orchids and Bamboo (1742), Zheng Xie. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Landscapes in the Styles of Old Masters (1790), Wang Jian. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York