Title:Greeting the New YearArtist:Wang Ju-sheng Date:1734Creation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of Ruth and Bruce DaytonAccession Number:2000.157.4
The bare trees and wintry sky in this precisely rendered scene indicate that the season is winter and the temperature cool. Children have gathered within the courtyard of a large household to greet the New Year morning with drums, harps, cymbals, and fire crackers. Attractive, easily understood, paintings like this were displayed throughout the New Year holiday season in China lending a festive air to celebratory activities.
The figurative style of Wang Ju-sheng is rooted in late Ming Suchou artists like Li Shih-ta (1549-1621). The legends of the seals that Wang used in this painting suggest that, in spite of his assured professional technique, he still saw himself as a literati. His seals read: Ju-Sheng ("bound to advance"); Hsueh-keng ("plowing through study") and Chin-jen ai-ku-jen ("not adhering to my contemporaries but loving the ancients").