Ink orchids


Artist: Xihe Zhiyin (Chinese)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, ca. 1692
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
H x W (image): 30.9 x 54.1 cm (12 3/16 x 21 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Peggy and Richard M. Danziger in honor of Pauline and Johnny Falk
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, orchid, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance

Mathias Komor, New York [1]

To 1962
Mr. and Mrs. Myron S. Falk, Jr., New York City, to 1962 [2]

From 1962 to 1997
Peggy and Richard M. Danziger, New York, given by Mr. and Mrs. Myron Falk in 1962 [3]

From 1997
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Peggy and Richard M. Danziger in 1997


[1] According to Curatorial Note 2, Joseph Chang, September 30, 1997, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Mr. Myron S. Falk, Jr. 1906 - 1992
Peggy and Richard M. Danziger
Mathias Komor 1909 - 1984


The orchid's long and gracefully fluttering leaves often overshadow its inconspicuous flowers. The delicate flowers represent the purity of seclusion for scholars. Orchids grow untended-like the scholar who cultivates his own talents but is unrecognized by others. The blossoms exude a subtle fragrance that symbolizes the purity of men. This painting was likely executed by a Chinese Buddhist monk of the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism. In the 1650s, a large number of monks migrated from China to Japan after the fall of the Ming dynasty and the rise of the foreign Manchurian government.

Published References
  • Ni Yibin. Symbols, Art, and Language from the Land of the Dragon: The Cultural History of 100 Chinese Characters. London. pp. 14-15.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum