Bamboo under Spring Rain

Attributed to Xia Chang, Chinese, 1388 - 1470

Made in China, Asia

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Tianshun Period (1457-64), c. 1460

Ink on paper; mounted as a handscroll

20 1/2 inches × 31 feet 7 15/16 inches (52 × 965 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Joseph E. Temple Fund and the John T. Morris Fund, 1953

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Bamboo was an ideal subject for Xia Chang to have chosen for displaying his virtuosity with brush and ink, for the thick black brushstrokes of the older stalks contrast with the delicate young shoots that are rendered in a light gray wash, while the leaves appear to sway gently with the breeze. The rock formations are painted with a drier brush to give a sense of their rough texture. In this handscroll Xia Chang, a scholar and sometime government official who made bamboo painting his specialty, establishes a viewpoint that was daring for his time by depicting the scene from a very low perspective, a sort of "bug's eye view," as if the artist were floating along the banks of a stream and observing the bamboo forest all around, which extends beyond eye level at the top and bottom of the scroll. Only a small section of the over thirty-foot-long scroll may be seen at any one time as it is horizontally unrolled from right to left, thus offering the viewer a wonderful variety of composition and brushwork. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 29.