The Studio of True Appreciation (Zhen Shang Zhai)

Wen Zhengming1559

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document
Beijing, China

"Zhen Shang Zhai" was created by Wen Zhengming for his friend Hua Xia. Hua Xia was an important collector in Chinese Jiangnan region (south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). He was engaged in painting and calligraphy collection for more than 40 years, and boasted a very high taste of appreciation. "Zhen Shang Zhai" was his private garden, and there were many famous paintings by masters in it, so Wen Zhiming frequented the garden and admired Hua Xia’s wonderful collections.

In this picture, the Zhen Shang Zhai is nestled between verdant pines and exquisite Taihu stones. We could see three rooms in the painting. The host and his guests are sitting in the middle room; they seem to admire a scroll, with a boy servant standing aside. In the right room, there are two boys sitting around a stove with boiling water; there is no one in the left room, but through half rolling curtains, we could see books and bamboo scripts on the shelves and a guqin (seven-stringed plucked instrument) lying on the table, showing that the host has elegant interests. Behind the rooms, there are many bamboos, with a landscape of lakes and mountains on the left, forming beautiful scenery and a broad vision. In the foreground, a literati and a servant boy seem to be on their way to the garden to meet friends. The whole painting is in full composition, painted delicately and ficklely with elegant colors, full of literati taste. When creating this painting, Wen Zhengming was an octogenarian, but his exquisite strokes and inventive painting composition is still so amazing.

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  • Title: The Studio of True Appreciation (Zhen Shang Zhai)
  • Creator: Wen Zhengming
  • Date: 1559
  • Provenance: Shanghai Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 197.5h x 108.8w cm
  • Medium: colors on paper
  • Dynastic period: Ming Dynasty
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1470-1559