Scholar and Students, late 15th/16th century Ink and light color on silk, stretched for framing.
43in x 43in (109.2cm x 109.2cm)
無名氏 先生與學童 設色絹本 明
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of the Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai (reigned 1926-1945) thereafter by descent through his family
This anonymous work, bearing neither an artist's signature nor seal, is a elegant representation of Ming dynasty painting. A charming and humorous composition, a dignified scholar sits on the raised dias in his studio. His young charges have just opened a trunk filled with texts, but to their surprise a small mouse has jumped out and scurries across the floor. The artist deftly captures the students' shock and excitement, contrasted with the equanimity shown by the scholar.
The painting is rich in details. The furnishings and furniture of the scholar's studio are carefully drawn, affording a study of period decor. The architecture is well-rendered from the tiles to the supporting roof brackets, and both the blossoming trees that envelopes the house and the complimenting, smaller penjing endow the scene with a seasonal aspect jing. Numerous aspects of the painting suggests the hand of Tang Yin (1470-1524), however the lack of inscription make a definitive attribution theoretical.