Spotted Deer Table Screen

1751
$3,880 USD
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Dimensions
W: 17.0" D: 6.0" H: 32.25"
Materials
Paper
Fruitwood
Purchase Quantity
Collection #
BJH014
Estimated Shipping
$250

Also known as spirit screens, small table screens such as this 18th-century example were often used to block drafts and other intrusions in a scholar's workspace. Like every aspect of a scholar's studio, such screens were ornamented with images that inspired contemplation and added beauty to its surroundings.

This spirit screen from Nanping, Fujian province was once a simple mirror set in a carved pearwood frame. At some point in its long life, the mirror was carefully scraped away and replaced with a fragment of a fine 18th-century scroll painting. Depicting two spotted deers beneath a pine tree, both potent symbols of longevity, the fragment is beautifully painted with intricate brushwork and framed by a muted silk brocade.

Signed by artist Shen Yu, the painting was created for the mid-autumn festival in 1751 and includes a message reading "best wishes to become an official." Likely commissioned as a gift for a friend or family member, the delicate painting lives on as a storied relic of the past.

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