Inscribed in stone, bottom center: 677 Printed above image at center: YOUAGE EN CHINE. Printed below image at center: LA LEÄON DE MUSIQUE Le Chinois rentier aime à occuper ses loisirs en cultivant la musique; il prend très volontiers des leçons de clarinette, / d'accordeon, ou de trompe de chasse et malgré l'opinion contraire de ses infortunés voisins il persiste à appeler cela un talent d'agrément! Translation: The well-off Chinese man likes to occupy his leisure time by devoting himself to music; he very willingly takes lessons in clarinet, accordion, or hunting horn, and despite the negative opinion of his unfortunate neighbors he persists in calling this an accomplished talent!
Written in pencil, l.l.: ART. PROOF Signed l.r.: Romas Viesulas 65 On backing, in pencil: From "Notes on Image & Sound" Part II BöLENT ARIEL- Embossed at bottom of sheet, in same technique as print itself: BöLENT AREL "STEREO ELECTRONIC MUSIC #1" (EXCERPT)
The figure is kneeling musician on lotus seat, made of separately carved petals. Below the seat, there is a base, which consists of two lotus-shaped half-sphere, connected up-side-down. The head has two buns, elongated ears, simplified facial parts; the figure wears a pink robe with wide sleeves, holding a sort of instrument with hands.
This musician statue was once part of a set that adorned the interior of the Golden Hall (Kondô) of Hôryûji Temple. It holds a cymbal-like instrument. The lotus flowers indicate that the figure is a Buddhist diety.
Three figures, two men and a woman, are seen seated around a round table with a lamp; all are engaged in reading in the pool of light provided by the lamp. The rest of the interior is fairly dark, particularly in the portion of the room behind the lamp. The man at the back of the table is shown roughly face-on; the man to the left is leaning back with his legs stretched out in front of him; the woman is closest to the viewer, shown in profile, holding her book fairly closer to her face.
As a young man, Whistler spent time living with the family of his half-sister, Deborah. Her husband, Francis Seymour Haden, was a physician and amateur printmaker and print collector; it was from Haden that Whistler learned the finer points of the etching technique--both from studying Haden's personal collections as well as from etching alongside his brother-in-law. Haden is seen to the left; at the back of the table was Haden's medical partner (and Whistler's own physician and friend), James Reeves Traer.