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Handscroll with Melons and Vines

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Shun Küan, Chinese
Handscroll with Melons and Vines, 17th c.
Paint on Paper
16 1/16 in. x 82 1/8 in. (40.8 cm x 208.6 cm)


Object Type: Scroll
Technique: Brushwork
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. William Bacon Pettus
Accession Number: PE36


Commentary
The seals are Wei (Hua) Tsung (which is probably not accurate) and Xing Yuan. There is also the seal of a famous16th century collector. It is a Qing Dynasty period painting; the artist could be Shen Quan. The work is well done. The representation of melons is unusual; there is English text on the outside of the scroll that reads: "Congratulations on the birth of the first child."

This is a lovely painting, and as mentioned, in the style of Shen Quan (b. 1682), a Qing dynasty painter who succeeded in recreating the Song academic style. Li Di was one such academician who painted during the Southern Song. I think the association of melons with children is made on the basis of the seeds—the many seeds hopefully portending a flock of children.

Professor Peter Sturman, University of California, Santa Barbara

Marks
"Song Li Ti, Melon Vine (for congratulations on the birth of a first child), Traded 2/73, R Petterson, MM Petus." is written on the outside of the scroll. There is English text on the outside of the scroll that reads: "Congratulations on the birth of the first child."

Five square red seals stamped in the lower right, one rectangular seal in There are five square seals in the lower right, two rectangular seals and one gourd shaped seal in the upper left. These seals read: Tzu Ching (pseudonym of Hsiang Yuan Pien, a famous collector of the Ming dynasty), Chou Shih Shih x, Mo Lin Shan Jen (the pseudonym of Hsiang Yuan Pein, Hsiang Shih Tzu Ching, Tzu Sun Shih Ch'ang (may your decendants be flourishing generation after generation, Pu I Chih Shih, Chou Shih xx, indistinct.

Six seals in the right corner: Tien Lai Ke (the seal of a studio belonging to Hsiang Tzu Ching), Shen Chien Hsing Shang (inspector), Hsiang Shu Tzu (Hsiang Yuan Pien), the decendants of Yin Hou, Hsiang Mo Lin Chien (inspector).

Medium
Paint on silk, with blocks of paper for calligraphy, and an ivory and teal silk brocade mounting.

Object Description
Long horizontal hand scroll commemorating the birth of a first child. The image is of green melons and vines, red berries, white flowers, moths and insects. Beautifully painted. The exterior of the scroll is covered in a spring green embroidered silk brocade.

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