The Four Princely Gentlemen: Plum Blossoms, Orchids, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemums

November 14, 2013 - January 26, 2014

Organized by the Norton Museum of Art

This exhibition will feature the recently acquired album of ink painting of orchids and bamboo by the Qing dynasty scholar Qian Zai (1708-1793, image). Inspired by both the beauty and resilience of nature's flora, Chinese painters and poets have imbued particular plants with auspicious meaning, literary resonance, and scholarly virtue. Together plum blossoms, orchids, bamboo, and chrysanthemums collectively exemplify qualities of the ideal Confucian scholar: strong, humble, moral, and resilient. Qian Zai was such a man. After serving the emperor as Vice-Minister of the Board of Rites in Beijing, he returned to his hometown in Zhejiang province where he became renowned for his paintings of orchids and bamboo.


This exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of John and Heidi Niblack.