Old Trees, Bamboo, and Rocks

Attributed to Li Kan (Chinese, 1245-1320)

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Even though this painting has no signature or seal, scholars have attributed it to the great Yuan dynasty artist Li Kan because of its imagery and style. A prominent scholar has called this painting "the starkest and most powerful image of old trees surviving from the Yuan period."

Images of old trees have a long and revered history in the tradition of Chinese painting. Old trees not only suggest the attainment of old age but also weathering through hard times. Even though Li Kan was a high official under the Mongolian Yuan dynasty, 1279-1368, life during that time was not easy for native Chinese.

Walter Hochstadter {1914-2007} (with Wei Zhike's 60.141 in exchange for Ma Hezhi's "3 trees on the rocky shore" TR5486/1; value $5,000.). Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana; given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1960.

Object Information

Attributed to Li Kan (Chinese, 1245-1320)
Yuan dynasty
creation date
about 1300
ink on silk
63 x 33-3/4 in. (image)
107-1/8 x 41-1/8 in. (mount)
107-1/8 x 45-5/16 in. (installed)
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly
Public Domain
Asian Art

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