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The melody Mid-Autumn Moon 聽錄音 MP3 Listen to my recording   首頁
Image for a Mid-Autumn Moon
This inscribed painting by 知玄 Zhi Xuan 1 might also be called "Awaiting friends under a full moon"
A painting for the mid-autumn moon (enlarge) 2      

During the Mid-Autumn Moon it is a custom to view the moon from a high moutnain. Here on the top of the mountain is a table flanked by two empty chairs. There are no people in the painting, and the trees being leafless but lacking snow suggest indeed it is autumn - mid-autumn by the look of the moon. The pot on the table looks as though it could be for wine, but the inscription on the painting suggests it is for tea.

The inscription translates as,

On a lonely mountain with the fragrance of tea, lingering beneath the moon.
Painted by Zhi Xian in a summer month of 1987.

Seeing this painting when I played the related melody at a meeting of the New York Qin Society, noted art historian Marilyn Wong Gleysteen said,

In this charming painting the tiny table with two cups on the table but no one in sight is quite evocative. The painter's style is reminiscent of the Anhui painters, like Hongren and Zha Shibiao, in his emphasis on the "empty" parts of the mountains, but there is also a surprising homage to the great northern Song painters like Fan Kuan.

弘仁 Hong Ren (1610-1663)
查士标 Zha Shibiao (1615–1698)
范寬 Fan Kuan (c. 960 – c. 1030)

See under Mid-Autumn Moon for an account of playing the related melody on Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain, in Anhui province) during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 沈散思號知玄 Zhi Xuan, nickname of Shen Sansi
Shen Sansi is a contemporary painter and calligrapher from Shandong who was living in Beijing when I met him in 2006-7 at the 汲悟齊 Jiwu Zhai (Absorbing Awareness Gallery) on 北京琉璃廠西街南柳2號 #2 Nanliu Street, at the west end of Liuli Chang in Beijing; at the time his paintings were being exhibited there. Since the 1980s he has had a reputation as a Zen painter and recluse. (Wenku)

2. Inscription
In Chinese: 空山茗香月下留。丁卯夏月知玄。

A careful examination of the upper right corner of the image shows some scroll damage from the back of the painting.

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