bamboo in varying shades, interspersed with lines of text; matted

Bamboo, 1735

Ink on paperexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  96.30.4

The Yangzhou artist Xu Bin was not prolific, and little is known about his life and work. In typical scholarly fashion, Xu made reference to a past literati master in his signature colophon, which reads “in the brush manner of Su Shi (1031–1101)". To the right of the composition, he also composed a rather arcane poem about bamboo:

Flute making material; cut it, and give it to the dragon’s son.
New shoots, stored up to nourish the phoenix’s grandson.
When the Yugong [a book] described Yangzhou and its products
It was only appropriate that it regarded its bamboo as beautiful as jade.

Dedicated to Ma Bujiang

Above the image is a short-running couplet, dated the eighth day of the fifth (summer) month of 1735. Xu said, “Because of the rain I sat at my window with nothing to do; and had the idea of writing these two lines with some extra ink”:

Stone roots irregular as clouds;
[reference to a type of desk or garden rock called a cloud root]
Phoenix tails as delicate as jade.
[reference to a type of bamboo]

Artist Life
active early 18th century
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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bamboo in varying shades, interspersed with lines of text; matted