Fisherman Preparing Food on the Riverbank

Artist: Formerly attributed to Ma Kui (active ca. 1180-1220)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 16th century
Zhe School
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 134.8 x 67.5 cm (53 1/16 x 26 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, fisherman, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), tree
Provenance research underway.

A lone fisherman--perhaps a scholar-recluse--crouches on the riverbank heating his meal on a glowing portable brazier. Behind, he has moored his boat under the leafless, winter branches of a tree hung with vines. The poet and scholar Yang Xunji (1458-1546), a native of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, ostensibly inscribed the following verse on the painting:

Misty hills, misty trees, and ever boundless sands;
In the blue and green, vast and vague, where is home?
Only the old fisherman understands what I truly mean;
Water, sky, empty, wide, beside the blooming reeds.

(Translation by Stephen D. Allee)

The nine-character inscription at upper right records that the artist Lü Xue (late 17th-early 18th century) saw the painting in 1701. At lower left, the signature of the Southern Song dynasty painter Ma Kui (active 1180-1220) is spurious.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Memorial Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 27, pp. 60-61.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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