The Five Deer Hermitage

Artist: Lu Shiren (ca. 1540s-after 1618)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 17th century
Ink and color on gold-flecked paper
H x W: 31 x 60.9 cm (12 3/16 x 24 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf

China, garden, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), mountain, water
Provenance research underway.

This album leaf and F1988.8a, each by a different artist, present disparate views of a small private estate called the Wulu shanfang (Five Deer Hermitage), located near Daming in Hebei Province. While the depictions differ in many details, the basic elements-a walled (or fenced) garden compound with numerous buildings, located on a small island connected to the mainland by one or more small bridges-are consistent. Judging from the discrepancies, however, one or both of the artists may have worked from memory, or even from written or oral accounts, to create their representations of the garden's layout and environs. As portraiture was not particularly popular during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), scholars often used depictions of their gardens as artistic expressions of their personal identities and cultural aspirations. By inviting two such eminent scholar-artists as Li Shida and Lu Shiren to paint his garden, the owner of the Five Deer Hermitage was undoubtedly more interested in their poetic evocations of his property than in precise and topographically accurate representations.

Published References
  • Sotheby's (New York). Fine Chinese Paintings. sale #5723 New York, June 1, 1988. lot 44a.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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