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Jin Duo [Chin To] 金鐸
(1750-1818 or later)

Liuhe dongchun: Happiness and Long Life” 1818 六合伺春圖

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
131.0 x 262.5 cm. (51 1/2 x 103 1/2 in.)

Inscription: “’Happiness and Long Life.’ During the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the year 1818 in the Jiaqing reign era, painted by Jin Duo, called the Woodcutter of Leaf Mountain.”

Artist’s seals: Chen Duo siyin (“personal seal of the servitor Duo”); Juegu daoren (“the Daoist who is conscious of antiquity”)

Six magnificent red-crowned cranes romp and gambol among wutung and acacia trees, with peonies blooming behind. In the type of pictorial rebus so beloved by the Chinese, each element of the painting communicates abstract ideas and meanings by aural associations with other words or characters pronounced the same as the element in question. For example, he meaning “to join together” is cognate with another character also pronounced he meaning “crane” as well as with yet another he meaning “peace and harmony,” and since the bird was held to have a long life, the crane also became a symbol of longevity and even immortality. Each element of the painting has such connotations and combine to produce the overall impact of the painting, captured in the title, “Happiness and Long Life.” The artist was born in Suzhou and early biographers related his works to those of the founders of the Wu School.

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