Poem by Cui Shu in cursive script

Artist: Wen Peng (1498-1573)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early to mid-16th century
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 357.9 x 103 cm (140 7/8 x 40 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Regents' Collections Acquisition Program
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, cursive script, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

Eldest son of the renowned Suzhou artist Wen Zhengming (1470--1559), Wen Peng is especially famous for his works in seal and cursive script. Most examples of Wen Peng's calligraphy are small in scale, often taking the form of inscriptions on paintings or colophons on handscrolls, while large-size characters from his hand are rare. The wiry structures, evenly applied ink, and fluid brush movements on this scroll—which are typical of cursive script--illustrate the calligrapher's mastery of media and form.

Wen Peng's text is a poem by the Tang dynasty writer Cui Shu (active mid-8th century), titled On the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month, Climbing the Terrace of Looking For the Immortal. It is traditional in China on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month to climb to a high place to eat and drink and enjoy the autumn scenery. To observe the holiday, Cui Shu and his friends climbed a high terrace built by Emperor Wen (reigned 179--157 B.C.) of the Han dynasty, a scenic spot in Shaanxi Province that evoked for the poet a series of historical and literary associations:

Emperor Wen of the Han dynasty raised this high terrace,
Which today we climb to watch the colors of dawn begin.
Cloudy hills of the Jin States stretch off to the north,
Gusting rain over Twin Knolls comes down from the east.
Who would recognize the warden of the far frontier gate?
The old Immortal-on-the-River is gone and won't return.
Let's search nearby instead for the Magistrate of Pengze,
To happily imbibe with him a cup of chrysanthemum wine.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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