Jiao Bingzhen, Huang Zhonglie, and others
Portrait of Huang Zhonglie, Bamboo and Calligraphy,
Ink and color on silk, 15 ½ x 103”
This hand scroll unravels a rich history of brotherly appreciation between like-minded scholars. It is an example of how a scroll can be developed and changed over time as it passes through the hands of multiple artists and collectors. The ink painting entitled Bamboo and Pine Struggling against the Storm, painted by Ming patriot Huang Zhonglie in 1623, inspired the other parts of the scroll that were later attached to it. During the transition from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty, Huang remained loyal towards the Ming court and refused to serve the new Qing court that had come under foreign Manchurian rule. After being captured by the Manchus, Huang tried to starve himself in prison out of protest, but he was eventually executed in Nanjing in 1868. Because of his integrity to his principles of loyalty, many have honored Huang as a legendary martyr. His ink painting is like a relic that is preserved and commemorated within this complex scroll. Now, the scroll features an introductory title, a portrait, a biography of Huang, and five colophons recounting his noble life. Not only is the scroll is evidence to Huang’s posthumous appeal and mystique, but also the painters and calligraphers who left their names on the scroll are also accredited with high moral stature similar to Huang’s.
Sandy Ma, Colby ‘08