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The Orchid Pavilion
Chinese Painting from the University of Michigan Museum of Art


This exhibition is named for a famous painting of an equally famous event which took place at the Orchid Pavilion near Shaoxing in 353 CE. However, the 60 paintings in the exhibition catalogue cover a wide variety of themes.

Relevant paintings are of two types, direct references to and illustrations of the qin, and qin melody references.

I. Direct references to and illustrations of the qin2

  1. #4. Pine and Hibiscus
    Poetic reference
  2. #6. Traveling at Dawn in the Mountains after Snow
    Boy is carrying a qin
  3. #15. Landscape Hanging Scroll
    Boy is carrying a qin
  4. #18. The Seven Sages Passing through a Gate
    Boy is carrying a qin
  5. #19. Portrait of P'an Ch'in-t'ai
    His nickname means "qin terrace" and many of the poems praise his qin play; no mention of melody titles; P'an lived in Suzhou
  6. #25. The Waterfall at Mount Lu
    Boy carrying a qin
  7. #36. Figures from Chinese History
    Album Leaf 4 shows a crane and mentions the qin
  8. #47. The Three Abundant Blessings
    There seems to be a qin upper left?

II. Qin melody references

  1. Liu Shang (Floating Wine-Cups); and
  2. Xiuxi Yin (Purification Ceremony Melody)
    #17. Orchid Pavilion Gathering

  3. Mu Ge (Song of the Herdsman) 3
    #1. "Landscape with returning Herder and Buffalo"

  4. Gao Shan (High Mountains) and Liu Shui (Flowing Streams)
    #3. Blue Mountains and White Clouds
    #7. Mountain Landscape
    #27. Cloudy Mountain and Misty Trees afer Tung Yüan
    #32. A Han Dynasty Envoy (Chang Ch'ien) Navigating on a Tree Raft

  5. Yi Guanshan Thinking of Guanshan (see also Han Gong Qiu; Huang Yun Qiu Sai)
    #5. Travelers on a Mountain Pass

  6. Taoyuan Chunxiao (Spring Dawn at Peach Spring); the incomplete Tiantai Yin tells another version
    #10. The Peach Blossom Spring

  7. Yu Ge (Song of the Fisherman)
    #11. 13. 14. 27. etc. Fishermen, boating

  8. Gui Qu Lai Ci (Come Away Home); the lyrics mention chrysanthemums
    #16. Tao Yuanming Enjoying Chrysanthemums
    #55. Tao Ch'ien Appreciating Chrysanthemums

  9. Feng Ru Song Ge (Song of Wind in the Pines)
    #16. Tao Yuanming Enjoying Chrysanthemums (refers to the "closely related" Sitting and Listening to Wind in the Pines)
    Pines are also common motif in other paintings in this collection

  10. Zhong Qiu Yue (Mid Autumn Moon)
    #23. Sailing under the Moonlight (see especially the poem)

  11. Shan Ju Yin (Living in the Mountains)
    #28. Mountain Dwelling, and others

  12. Qiu Jiang Ye Bo (Autumn River Night Anchorage) and
  13. Yin De (Hidden Virtue) (see also Mu Ge above)
    #30. Autumn Colors at Mount Yü (Qiu Jiang Ye Bo is a signature piece of the Yushan Qin School)

  14. Han Gong Chun Xiao (Spring Dawn at the Han Palace)4
    #34. Spring Dawn at the Han Palace

  15. You Lan (Secluded Orchid) or other orchid melodies
    #40. Bamboo and Orchids

  16. He Wu Dongtian (Cranes Dance in the Grotto-Heaven)
    #36/4. Figures from Chinese History
    #42. Crane on a Pine Branch
    #50. Crane, Pine and Bamboo

  17. Meihua Sannong (Three Repetitions of "Plum Blossom")
    #48. Plum Blossoms after Chin Nung

  18. Dongting Qiu Si (Autumn Thoughts at Dongting)
    #53. Autumn Moon at Mount Tung T'ing)
    The melody's association with Zui Yu Chang Wan (Drunken Fisherman Sings in the Evening) suggests it refers to the mountain, not the lake

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Not yet performed (Return)

2. Comments refer to catalogue numbers in the exhibition catalogue:

Marshall P.S. Wu
The Orchid Pavilion Gathering, Chinese Painting form the University of Michigan Museum of Art
Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 2000 (Return)

3. 牧歌; not yet learned; see Zha Fuxi 18/177/--. It has a prelude called 芻牧吟 Grazing Intonation; the music is almost identical to that of the melody Yin De (Return)

4. Han Gong Chun Xiao 漢宮春曉
Not yet learned; see Zha Fuxi Guide 38/--/-- and 39/268/538. Chun Xiao Yin is unrelated. Related are Chun Yuan (37/--/--; 1691, XII/521) and Chun Yun (Spring Clouds; not in Zha; 1663/5 [XI/125]; earliest).

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