Couplet in running-standard script


Artist: Lin Shu (1852-1924)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, early 20th century
Pair of hanging scrolls; ink on paper
H x W (image, each): 177.2 x 43.5 cm (69 3/4 x 17 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art.
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scrolls (pair)

China, couplet, Modern period (1912 - present), Robert Hatfield Ellsworth collection, running-standard script, WWII-era provenance

To 1998
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (born 1929), New York City, to 1998

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in 1998 [1]


[1] All Chinese calligraphy in the gift were published in Mr. Ellsworth's Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950, vol. 3 (New York: Random House, 1986) (according to Curatorial Note 2, Joseph Chang, May 19, 1998, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Robert Hatfield Ellsworth 1929-2014


Lin Shu passed the provincial examination-a stage in qualifying for the civil service-in 1882 and served as an instructor in the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911). He also translated foreign novels and painted landscapes in an unorthodox style. Well versed in Chinese poetry and classics, Lin formed this couplet by excerpting and adapting lines of poetry written in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.

As the wine subsides and steam clears from the tea;
I tune my simple zither and peruse the Diamond Sutra.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 256-261.
  • Robert Hatfield Ellsworth. Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950., 1st edition. New York. pp. 308-9, 144.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with artist