Zhenxian shiji (Episodic Vestiges of the Perfected Transcendent) Item Number: 1018/58 from the MOA: University of British Columbia

Description

Daoist album leaf. Painting depicting Xu Xun and the testing of the multitudes by selling elixirs. A male figure in blue and gold robes is standing behind a table on which is a rectangular platter of gold nuggets (?) and which has a banner hanging from the front. Three other male figures are standing beside the table, and a young man with a sheathed sword is standing with another male figure on the other side of the table. Behind them is a tree, and there are several blue, grey and green mountains as well as buildings in the distance. The painting is mounted on off-white damask-patterned silk on paper.

History Of Use

Daoist album entitled “Zhenxian shiji” (眞僊事蹟), translated as “Episodic Vestiges of the Perfected Transcendent”. The album is on the life of Xu Xun (許遜), a Daoist priest of the Jin dynasty (265-420) and was meant to be presented to the Jiajing (嘉靖) emperor. This album may be said to offer the most vivid version of the story of Xu Xun known to survive. The signature and seal of the Suzhou painter Xie Shichen (謝時臣) (1487-1567+) appear on the initial illustration, with the date Jiajing (嘉靖) 25 (1546), but this attribution is in question. The person credited with putting the text in order (bianci 編次) is a certain Wang Gongkui (王拱樻).

Narrative

This set of album leaves (1018/1-131) was collected by Mr. Nicolai Yakovleff, c. 1930, while living in Shanghai. He collected various types of art, including ceramics, scroll paintings and rare books. He died in 1971, leaving his collection to his wife Pauline. In 1980 Pauline remarried, to Professor Jan Solecki. (Note: in 1970s documents she is referred to as Mrs. Nicolai Yakovleff; in 1980s documents she is referred to as Mrs. Jan Solecki. In an interview in 2006 Jan Solecki gave her full name as Pauline Goldstein Yakovleff Solecki.)