Ink and color on paper, 12 5/8 x 106 5/8”
In Scholars’ Occupations, men are enjoying different cultural activities in the pleasing setting of a court garden. It sheds light on the favorite cultural pastimes of the scholars, showing the value given to leisure and free time among educated members of the society. Reading literature was considered an essential activity for scholars since it provided a chance to develop their imagination while helping them to prepare for the important Civil Examination that was required for obtaining an official post in the government. At the far right of the scroll, workers bring stacks of books to the scholar’s court garden. Further to the left, you will see the men enjoying the new reading material. Another important activity among scholars was playing the guqin, a seven stringed instrument that resembles the zither. Two men towards the left side of the scroll, play the guqin inside the courtyard compound. The guqin helped to cultivate their musical taste while it also created an atmosphere of peace and harmony during their social gatherings. This scene depicts Chinese scholars in their ideal environment, exchanging their ideas and love of art.
Ivan Obarski, Colby ‘08