Bamboo after Wen Tong (仿文同墨竹)
Ke Jiusi (柯九思, 1290-1343), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)
Hanging scroll, ink on silk, 107.6 x 47.6 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
This dramatically cropped image of bamboo reveals neither the plant's base nor its tip; rather, the leaves and branches seem to defy gravity, giving the pendent bough a sense of dynamic movement and growth. The contrasting ink tones and thrusting brushstrokes that define the leaves add to the vitality of the image.
Ke Jiusi, a leading connoisseur and curator of the imperial art collection, here demonstrates his scholarly approach to the study of antique models by freely copying a work by the Northern Song master Wen Tong (文同, 1019–1079), the patriarch of the monochrome bamboo genre.