Excerpt from the Preface to the Rhapsody on the Long Flute in running script

Artist: Shen Zengzhi 沈曾植 (1850-1922)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, 1922
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
H x W (image): 142.6 x 78.1 cm (56 1/8 x 30 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, Modern period (1912 - present), Robert Hatfield Ellsworth collection, running script

To 1998
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (born 1929), New York City, to 1998

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in 1998 [1]


[1] All Chinese calligraphy in the gift were published in Mr. Ellsworth's Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950, vol. 3 (New York: Random House, 1986) (according to Curatorial Note 4, Joseph Chang, May 19, 1998, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Robert Hatfield Ellsworth 1929-2014


Translated, this scroll reads:

"I am widely read in the ancient canons and odes, and am thoroughly conversant with numerical arts. Also, by nature I am fond of music, and am able to strum the zither and play the flute. Since I began working in the Bureau of Merit, I have had no pressing matters, and have been idling away my time alone in Pingyang Settlement in Mei Prefecture. There was a guest staying in the hostel who played on the flute the songs for instrumental accompaniment “Qi chu” and “Jing lie.” I have been away from the capital for over a year and, upon hearing this music, I suddenly felt both sad and happy over it.”

Translation of  "Preface" by David R. Knechtges, from Xiao Tong, comp., Wen xuan, or Selections of Refined Literature, vol. 3 (Princeton, 1996), 259.

Published References
  • Robert Hatfield Ellsworth. Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950., 1st ed. New York. vols. 1, 3: pp. 304, 139.
  • Thomas Lawton, Joseph Chang, Stephen Allee. Brushing the Past: Later Chinese Calligraphy from the Gift of Robert Haftield Ellsworth. Exh. cat. Washington. .
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 256-261.
  • et al. Chinese Calligraphy. The Culture and Civilization of China New Haven and Beijing. p. 387, pl. 8.4.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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