Title:The Gathering in the Apricot Garden
Creator:Ts'ui Tzu-chung (Cui Zizhong)
h: Pei-hai and Ch'ing-yin
Ts'ui Tzu-chung was from Lai-yang, Shantung province, and lived in Peking. He was a major force in figure painting, and was known for not accepting payment for his paintings. He is often compared to Ch'en Hung-shou, considered Tsui's counterpart in southern China. Tsui was a staunch Ming loyalist who starved to death when the dynasty was overthrown.
"When, in the 1970s, Judy Andrews (former student, now professor of art history at Ohio State University) did research toward her dissertation on Ts'ui Tzu-chung, she discovered a passage in the writing of a later Ming scholar that recounted the story behind this painting. Ts'ui was the guest of a patron in Beijing who, when he was leaving on an official trip, asked Ts'ui to do a painting for him. Ts'ui procrastinated, until the man finally sent a servant back to induce Ts'ui to finish it and bring the painting to him. Ts'ui finally did it, representing the two of them drinking a farewell tea together in the man's Apricot Garden. This is the very painting the story is about. An interesting feature is the detailed depiction of the apparatus for grinding tea, to make a powdered form that was drunk as in the Japanese tea ceremony."