Boating on a River

Inspired by the 600-year anniversary of Zheng He’s construction of the massive Chinese “treasure fleet” and his seven seafaring expeditions, spanning twenty-eight years (1405–1433) in the early Ming period, “Boating on a River” surveyed the role of boats in later Chinese painting history. This thematic rotation contained twenty-eight works of Chinese painting and calligraphy spanning the 12th to the 20th centuries. Included were pieces conveying well-known scenes from Chinese literature, such as the mystical Nymph of the Luo River, the melancholy Lute Song, and the philosophical Red Cliff, among several others. Also included in the rotation were works depicting scholars and fishermen’s daily lives relating to boats, genre scenes with depiction of boats, and a section devoted to the canopied boats of a gentry class. In the East Corridor, a lovely Ming dynasty handscroll, depicting various kinds of fish, flanked by two fish-themed works of calligraphy, was also on display.