Orchid in Autumn Artist, attributed to: Zheng Sixiao (Chinese, 1241–1318)

late 13th–early 14th century

Asian Art

On view, 2nd floor, Asian Art

Neither the earth nor the flower’s roots are shown, but the blooming orchid, bud, and nine leaves seen here express a sense of growth and movement—thanks to Zheng Sixiao’s brushstrokes—that defies the otherwise static quality of this painting. The artist’s poem at left attests to his dismay at Mongol rule of China and describes Qu Yuan (340–278 b.c.e.), an earlier poet famed for his loyalty to China’s then-ruler. It reads: He was the fragrance of the state / His death was a great loss to it / His loyalty to Huai Wang never changed / He was the glory of Chu.

The painting bears inscriptions from the fourteenth to the twentieth century that track its ownership and appreciation. Owners and viewers of Chinese paintings often append their inscriptions and seals to works, particularly those in the handscroll format, to which additional sheets can easily be added.


Handscroll: ink on paper


image (Painting): 9 1/8 × 21 7/8 in. (23.2 × 55.6 cm)
image (First Colophon): 9 3/16 × 178 1/2 in. (23.3 × 453.4 cm)
image (Second Colophon): 9 3/4 × 77 3/4 in. (24.8 × 197.5 cm)
rolled: 2 1/4 × 10 5/8 × 2 3/8 in. (5.72 × 26.99 × 6.03 cm)

Credit Line

Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore

Accession Number



Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Mrs. William H. Moore (Ada Small Moore, 1858–1955), New York, by 1952;given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1952

  • Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 297, ill.
  • Mimi Gardner Gates, The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New York: China House Gallery, 1982), 104–106, no. 47, ill.
  • Osvald Sirén, Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles, 7 vols. (New York: Hacker Art Books, 1973), 45, vol. 2, ill.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



autumn orchid


Suo-nan (Zheng Sixiao,) 1240 -1310

Technical metadata and APIs


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