pink blossoms and small flowers on a grey branch; inscription and 3 seals at right

Album of Ten Leaves, 1656


Ink and color on paperexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  2001.70.4.1

Xiang Shengmo was born into one of the most prestigious families in Jiaxing, a city in northeastern China. When the Manchu invasion reached Jiaxing, in 1645, many of Xiang’s friends and relatives died in a vain attempt to save their city. His homestead was destroyed and his family’s art collections lost. Following this upheaval, Xiang’s painting changed from an amateur, literati pursuit, becoming a source of income. Xiang was at the height of his technical and expressive powers when he created this album, featuring a wide range of flowers including wintersweet, cockscomb, apricot, pear, daylily, and cassia. He worked here in pure color without ink outlines and in shaded brushstrokes, which give the impression of three-dimensional modeling.

Leaf 1: Apricot

I dare say that in the mountains there is no need for calendars,
Watch of the approach of the red apricot, for then it is time to plow;
Seeing this glory I cannot help but think of the Tang imperial Jasper Garden,
Where graduates who ruled the country were first asked to enter into service.
Sold along the streets during the second month of spring,
They point out the village entrance at three-forked mountain roads;
Where people live in jade towers, will horses neigh'
[The point] where the color of grass merges with that of the sky cannot be fixed.
During the spring of the year 1656, composed and painted by Xiang Shengmo.  

Album of Ten Leaves
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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pink blossoms and small flowers on a grey branch; inscription and 3 seals at right