May 19, 2016
This early 20th century Chinese scroll painting is currently on exhibit in Incredible Journeys: The Life Histories of Museum Objects, which focuses on how the featured artifacts came to be at the MOA. The painting is in the Northern Song style, which, rather than depicting the subjects in three-dimensional detail, aims to show how the objects in the painting and in real life are alike in spirit. The style plays on the dichotomy between realism and abstraction.
The scroll was collected by Marion Dudley, who lived and worked for the YWCA in Hong Kong and Shanghai between 1927 and 1947. She collected dozens of paintings, silks, porcelains, and other decorative objects. Chinese society was experiencing cultural and political upheaval during the period Dudley lived there. As a result, many artists sought to preserve traditional aesthetics while also incorporating Western techniques.