Grapes

Catalogue 19

Attributed to Yun Shouping (1633-90)
Grapes
Early Qing dynasty
Framed, ink on paper, 30.75 x 23.25 in.
2005.450

Yun Shouping was born Yun Ge in Wujin, Jiangsu province, the third son of Yun Richu (1601-78). Richu was an active supporter of the Revival society (Fushe) and thus loyal to the fallen Ming dynasty (1368-1644). In 1648 Yun Shouping was captured by the Manchus in Fujian province. Yun Shouping entered the Buddhist priesthood and later returned to live in Wujin with his father. All the while Yun Shouping continued to study painting and poetry. In the 1650s, he met and became lifelong friends with Wang Hui (1632-1717, cat. 17, 18). They shared very similar landscape painting styles, and ultimately Yun Shouping decided his friend should paint landscapes and he would do bird and flower painting for which he became very well known.

This painting of grapes and leaves that uses ink only in the boneless manner, with no outlines, makes extensive use of ink wash and gradations of ink. A very moist and rich effect is created by layering the ink washes. However, the washes are not as subtle and complex as typically seen in Yun Shouping's work. There are also slightly awkward, stylized gaps between the leaves, while the grape vine in the top left lacks the freedom typical of Yun Shouping's work, and is probably the work of a follower. The heptasyllabic quatrain poem is written in Yun Shouping's attenuated calligraphic style. But here too the calligraphy is a bit too relaxed and soft, not nearly as elegant as Yun Shouping's more tightly controlled brush. The poem may be translated:

Snowed deep last night, first beads came off,
Round shapes, for many years sought but not found.
Someone groping for them, arrives at West Lake,
Leaves Kunlun [mountains], to be near to Jiuhei.