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Cheng Shih-tung (18th century) 鄭士棟

“Bamboo and Rock”

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
195.5 x 96.3 cm. (76 3/4 x 37 7/8 in.)

“Ice and frost still cover them
with icy mist on their joints;
Rain and mist tend to moisten
the branches where the phoenix perches.
Jade-green stands up by the forest pavilion,
as shoots wait to emerge from their sheath,
and see for a thousand feet,
brushing against the spreading clouds.
Cheng Chih-tung from Chi-shan.

Artist’s seals:
Ch’ing-yu chai (“Study of Pure Jade”); Cheng Chih-tung yin; Ch’u-fei (“expunging what is wrong”)

(see write up below)

A garden rock dominates the foreground spit of land from which rise several clumps of bamboo, filling the middle and upper portion of the picture. Limited pictorial space is suggested by overlapping elements and by the mist that forms the back ground of the work and from which the forms emerge. This approach focuses all attention on the subject, “Bamboo and Rock,” and emphasizes the artist’s creative vision.

Cheng Shih-tung is not recorded in standard biographies, but the skill with which he created this image suggests that he was a professional artist, probably active during the 18th century judging on the basis of style.

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