Year of the Monkey

Item #





Qing Late 19th Century


Ink and pigment on paper




overall 84" x 19.5" (213 x 49 cm); image 51" x 11-5/8" (129 x 29 cm)





There are 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Therefore, everyone that is born will have an animal identification. There are books that tell about the personalities and characteristics of people born in those particular years. It is an intriguing and interesting thing that people discuss and talk about. The following painting refers to an animal year. However the story that is related is not reflecting the character or personality of a person born in that year, but is simply a story in Chinese literature that came to mind with the artist who drew this painting. He was undoubtedly a scholar who loved to draw and used the excuse of creating a series of zodiac related paintings. That artist's name was Wang Su. The paintings were done in the late 19th century, before the end of the Qing Dynasty
This painting refers to the year of the monkey. There was once a man named Li. He was a very erudite scholar who preferred to live as a hermit in the mountains in the same way that the xian lived alone and with nature. Li was a man who liked antiques. He found a metal object one day, and when it was struck it gave a beautiful sound. He had a monkey who would take the metal object and strike it. Li liked to sit quietly in the middle of the forest and play the qin (which is an ancient musical instrument and, like a koto in Japan, is played horizontally) while the monkey would strike a note on the ancient metal object.



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