Cranes, Peach Tree, and Chinese Roses

Artist: After Shen Quan (Chinese, 1682–after 1762)

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Date: early 18th century

Culture: China

Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk

Dimensions: Image: 78 1/4 x 39 3/4 in. (198.8 x 101 cm)
Overall with mounting: 97 3/4 x 48 1/8 in. (248.3 x 122.2 cm)
Overall with knobs: 97 3/4 x 51 1/8 in. (248.3 x 129.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.268.81


Because of their association with immortals, both cranes and peaches are symbolic of longevity. The crane is often shown carrying an immortal on its back, and mythical peaches of immortality grow in the orchard of Xiwangmu, the queen mother of the West. The cranes and peaches thus evoke an isle of the immortals—perhaps Penglai (Japanese: Hōrai), an auspicious paradise frequently depicted throughout East Asia.

In 1731 the Chinese artist Shen Nanpin went to Nagasaki to teach Japanese students the traditional Chinese style of realistic painting, resulting in the establishment of the Nagasaki school. Even after Nanpin returned to China, many works in his style continued to be imported into Japan, influencing painting styles there into the late Edo period.