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SILENT
POETRY
C h i n e s e
Pa i n t i n g s
i n
t h e
D o u g l a s
D i l l o n
G a l l e r i e s
b y
W e n
F o n g
a n d
M a x w e l l K .
H e a r n
Th e
M e t r o po l i t a n
M u s e u m
o f A r t
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin
www.jstor.org
®
This
publication
is dedicated to
Phyllis Dillon,
whose love of and devotion to Chinese
painting
have done
so much to make the Museum's collection
outstanding.
The
Metropolitan
Museum of Art Bulletin
Winter 1981/82
Vblume XXXIX,
Number 3
(ISSN 0026-1521)
Published
quarterly copyright ?
1982
by
The
Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10028. Second-class
postage paid
at New York,
N.Y. and Additional
Mailing
Offices. Subscriptions
$14.00 a year. Single copies $3.75. Sent free to Museum members.
Four weeks' notice
required
for
change
of address. Back issues available on microfilm, from
University Microfilms, 313 N. First Street, Ann Arbor,
Michigan.
Volumes I-XXVIII
(1905-1942)
available as a clothbound reprint
set or as individual yearly
volumes from Arno Press, 3 Park Avenue,
New
York, N.Y 10016, or from the Museum, Box 255, Gracie Station,
New York, N.Y. 10028.
Photographs
in this issue by Walter J.F Yee, Metropolitan
Museum
Photograph
Studio. General
Manager
of Publications: John P O'Neill. Editor in Chief of the Bulletin: Joan Holt. Associate Editor: Joanna Ekman.
Design:
Alvin Grossman.
On the cover: Detail of Finches and Bamboo, by Emperor Hui-tsung (see figure 7)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin
www.jstor.org
®
Director's N ote
One of the most
challenging aspects
of The
Metropolitan
Museum of Art's master
plan
for the
permanent
installation of its collections has been
the
strengthening
of its
woefully inadequate
hold-
ings
in Chinese
painting. Although
it is acknowl-
edged
as one of the world's
great
artistic
traditions, Chinese
painting
has never been an
easy subject
to master for
Americans,
so in-
volved in the art of the West.
Only
a
very
few
notable collections of Chinese
painting
have
been formed in the United
States,
each one
largely
a result of unusual
opportunities
and
special
interests. The
holdings
of the Museum of
Fine
Arts, Boston,
are the
legacy
of commercial
trading
ventures between N ew
England
and the
Far East
during
the late nineteenth and
early
twentieth centuries. The Freer
Gallery
of
Art,
Washington,
D.C., embodies the interests of
Charles
Freer,
whose
passion
for Chinese
paint-
ing grew
out of his earlier love of
Japonisme
as
expressed
in the art of Whistler.
During
World
War II and in the
following decades,
the devotion
and
exceptional knowledge
of two connoisseur-
directors,
Laurence Sickman and Sherman
Lee,
enabled the N elson
Gallery
and Atkins
Museum,
Kansas
City, Missouri,
and the Cleveland Mu-
seum of Art to
acquire outstanding
collections of
Chinese
paintings.
At the
Metropolitan Museum, however, early
efforts to collect Chinese
painting
were half-
hearted,
and the artistic traditions of Asia have
remained until
recently largely underrepresented
in the Museum's
encyclopedic
collections. It is
therefore with a keen sense of
personal pleasure
and satisfaction that I have witnessed-in fewer
than ten
years-the growth
of the collection of
Chinese
paintings
at the Museum into one com-
parable
in
quality,
if not
yet
in
quantity,
to the
Metropolitan's
famed
holdings
in such other fields
as
European painting.
The force behind this remarkable achievement
has been the Honorable C.
Douglas Dillon,
Chair-
man of the Board of
Trustees, whose wisdom and
farsightedness
have
given
tremendous
impetus
to
the creation of a
wing
for the
comprehensive
ex-
hibition of Far Eastern art at the
Metropolitan.
He
not
only
underwrote the construction of the new
Chinese
painting galleries
that bear his name but
also made substantial contributions of works of
art. His
generous support
of the
Department
of
Far Eastern Art and his fruitful collaboration with
its
staff, including
the authors of this text-Pro-
fessor Wen
Fong, Special
Consultant for Far
Eastern
Affairs,
and Assistant Curator Maxwell K.
Hearn-has resulted in a remarkable record of
progress
that sets an enviable
example.
Most im-
portantly,
the establishment of the
Douglas
Dillon
Galleries of Chinese
painting
around the Astor
Court will
undoubtedly, during
the
coming years,
have a
major impact
on the
study
and
apprecia-
tion of Chinese art and culture in the United States.
Philippe
de Montebello
Director
3
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin
www.jstor.org
®
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Since t he
opening
of t he
Douglas
Dillon Galleries
of C hinese
paint ing
in June 1981, it has been
possible
for visit ors t o The
Met ropolit an Museum
of A rt t o
st udy
C hinese
paint ing
in it s full richness
and
complexit y.
A
knowledge
of t he works on
view in t he inst allat ion adds
t remendously
t o t he
enjoyment
and
underst anding
of C hinese
paint ings, t went y-eight
of which are
published
here, many
for t he first t ime. These works of
art ,
most ly
recent
acquisit ions
and
promised gift s,
dat e from t he
eight h
t o t he
eight eent h cent uries.
Their
subject mat t er,
diverse in
origin
and
inspirat ion,
includes human
figures, religious
images, animals,
landscapes, birds, flowers, and
dragons.
The
art ist s, coming
from various social
and
regional backgrounds,
include a
reigning
emperor,
a Taoist
pope,
Buddhist and Taoist
clerics,
court and
professional paint ers,
scholar-
art ist s,
and
poet s. Toget her
t heir works
represent
most of t he
major st yles
in a t housand
years
of
C hinese
paint ing.
A
unique
charact erist ic of C hinese
paint ing
is
it s close
relat ionship
t o
writ ing.
Not
only
is brush-
work t he common
t echnique
for
paint ing
and
calligraphy, but ,
in t he course of
t ime,
t he
pict orial
and verbal modes of
expression
became
int egral
t o and
inseparable
in individual works of art .
A ccording
t o t he
fift h-cent ury
scholar Yen Yen-
chih,
paint ing,
defined as a visual
language
"represent ing
nat ure's
forms," was but one of
t hree
graphic syst ems
of
communicat ing
ideas-
t he ot her t wo
being
t he writ t en
language,
defined
as
"represent ing concept s,"
and
symbolical
diagrams (such
as t he
magical hexagrams
of t he
Book of
C hanges),
which
"represent ed
nat ure's
principles. " Implicit
in t hese definit ions is t hat
paint ing,
like t he writ t en word and t he
magical
diagram,
is based on
graphic
convent ions.
Nowhere is t his belief more
clearly
demonst rat ed
t han in t he
sevent eent h-cent ury
Must ard-Seed
Garden Manual of
Paint ing,
which codifies t he
ancient form
t ypes
and brush formulas int o
est ablished
ways
of
drawing t rees, rock-t ext ure
pat t erns, faces,
drapery pat t erns, birds, flowers,
bamboo,
and orchids.
Yet ,
just
as words must
carry meaning
and
symbols
must be
magically
efficacious,
paint ing,
when t ouched wit h
genius,
must
equal
or
surpass
nat ure's creat ion.
The common t ool for bot h C hinese
writ ing
and
paint ing
is a brush made of animal
hairs-goat ,
horse, rabbit , weasel,
or mouse
whiskers,
in
ascending
order of st iffness-which has been
perfect ed
over t he cent uries. The C hinese
brush,
t apering
t o a
point ,
has been described
by
Laurence Sickman as "t he most sensit ive and
richly pot ent ial
inst rument for
paint ing
ever
devised. " Wit h t he
t ip
of t he
point ed
brush t he
art ist makes fine
lines,
and
sat urat ing
t he brush
wit h
ink, he covers broad areas wit h ink wash.
Because t he C hinese
perceive
t he universe as
consist ing
of
cont rast ing
and
complement ary
Yin
and
Yang qualit ies
and
subst ances, brush and
black ink-in t heir infinit e
line-and-surface, bone-
and-flesh, t hin-and-t hick, and
dry-and-wet
rela-
t ionships-can represent just
about
everyt hing
in
a monochrome world. In
fact , t he remarkable
qualit ies
of t he black
inks-which, used in t heir
purest st at e, produce
a lust rous black and,
dilut ed wit h
wat er, a full
range
of t ranslucent
grays-have
been a vit al fact or in
det ermining
t he
nat ure of C hinese
paint ing.
C alligraphy,
t he art of
writ ing ideographs
wit h a
brush, imit at es nat ure's
rhyt hms
and movement s
and is
regarded by
t he C hinese as a
purer,
if not
higher,
form of art ist ic
expression
t han
paint ing.
A
superbly
execut ed brushst roke not
only
is a
kinest het ic movement of
great beaut y
and
joy,
reflect ing
t he art ist 's
delight fully
balanced
finger,
wrist ,
and arm
act ions, but also comes
st raight
from t he writ er's
belly
and mind-t hus t he
C hinese refer t o
calligraphy
as an art ist 's "mind
print . "
In
making t hickening-and-t hinning, t wist ing-
and-t urning lines-simult aneously pushing
down
and
pulling
back for
height ened
t ension and
int ernal movement wit hin each st roke-t he
paint er's calligraphic
brushwork can be
infinit ely
expressive
in an
inimit ably personal way. Thus,
as
t he lat er C hinese
paint ers
t urned more and more
from formal
represent at ion
t o
self-expression, t hey
increasingly sought
abst ract and
expressive
qualit ies t hrough calligraphic t echniques.
Hist orically,
C hinese
pict orial represent at ion
developed
aft er t he lat e sixt h
cent ury B. C . , first as
monument al decorat ion for
public buildings,
ceremonial bronze
vessels,
and
grave furnishings,
where
figural
and
myt hological
illust rat ions in
flat ,
t wo-dimensional forms served rit ual and didact ic
purposes.
A ft er t he int roduct ion of Buddhism from
India and C ent ral
A sia,
religious subject s pro-
vided a
powerful
st imulus for
figural represent a-
t ions from t he fift h
cent ury
A . D.
onward,
wit h an
(1)
A s C hinese
paint ers
t urned
away
from formal
represent at ion
t o
self-expression, t hey
increas-
ingly int egrat ed calligraphic t echniques
int o t heir
works.
By
t he sevent eent h
cent ury, landscape
paint ing
was based
complet ely upon calligraphic
abst ract ion. In The Sixt een Lohans
(see
also
fig-
ures
51-53),
Tao-chi
(1642-1707)
drew t he
veins of t he rocks in t he "lot us-leaf-vein"
pat t ern.
Holding
t he brush
upright
and
keeping
t he
t ip
"hidden" in t he cent er of t he
st roke,
he built
up
t he forms
using
movement s of his ent ire arm and
his
body. Maint aining
a cont inuous
rhyt hmic
mo-
t ion, he creat ed brush
pat t erns
t hat breat he and
flow wit h a
powerful composit ional
force.
5
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. t 68o
?ES -
increasingly
t hree-dimensional and
plast ic figural
art
reaching
it s
apogee
in t he
eight h
and nint h
cent uries in
T'ang
C hina.
Landscape emerged
first as a
background
for
figures, becoming an
independent subject
in t he lat e nint h and
early
t ent h cent uries.
Gradually, landscape developed a
unified
composit ional st ruct ure, culminat ing
in t he
successful creat ion of illusionist ic
dept h by t he
end of t he t hirt eent h
cent ury.
A s t he
landscape
paint er improved
his
represent at ional skills, he
became
involved, as t he
poet did, wit h t he
problem
of
probing
t he
meaning
and
beaut y
behind nat ure's
physical phenomena. Leading
crit ics t oward t he end of t he Nort hern
Sung
period,
in t he lat e elevent h
cent ury,
were fond of
describing poet ry
as "formless
paint ing"
and
paint ing
as "wordless
poet ry,"
and
t hey
t heorized
t hat t here should be
"paint ing
in
poet ry,
and
poet ry
in
paint ing. "
To make a
philosophical generalizat ion,
t he
major
achievement s of
Sung dynast y (960-1279)
and Yuan
dynast y (1279-1368) paint ing, repre-
sent ed
by
t he monument al
landscapes
and minia-
t urist bird-and-flower works of t he Nort hern
Sung
professional
and court
paint ers,
and t he individu-
alist ic, calligraphic
brush
drawings
of t he Yuan
scholar-art ist s, seem t o reflect t wo Neo-C onfucian
schools of
t hought ,
t hat of
principles (li-hsueh)
and t hat of t he mind
(hsin-hsueh).
The former,
which
emphasizes
"t he
invest igat ion
of
t hings
leading
t o t he ext ension of
knowledge," implies
t he
object ive st udy
of
t hings
wit hin t he
universe,
while t he
lat t er,
believing
t hat "t he universe is t he
mind,
and t he mind t he
universe," seeks t he
realizat ion of what is
already
wit hin oneself.
By
spurning
formal
realism, t he scholar-art ist s of t he
Yuan and lat er
periods sought
not t o
lay
bare t he
"t rut h" of t he
universe,
but rat her t o confront t he
personal psychological
realit ies behind
appear-
ances.
Having conquered
illusion
st ruct urally
during
t he Yuan
period, Ming dynast y (1368-
1644) landscape paint ers emphasized
surface
abst ract ions,
and t he
early C h'ing
mast ers of t he
lat e sevent eent h and
early eight eent h
cent uries
developed calligraphic
abst ract ions
t hrough
an
orchest rat ion of lines and forms in abst ract
space.
In t heir
quest
for
self-expression,
scholar-
art ist s from t he fourt eent h
cent ury
on learned t o
(2)
The
swept -back mane,
rolling eye,
and
flaring
nost rils
convey
t he
fiery t emperament
of
Night -
shining Whit e, favorit e
charger
of t he
emperor
Hsuan-t sung (reigned 712-56).
A t t ribut ed t o t he
leading
horse
paint er
of t he
eight h cent ury,
Han
K an
(act ive ca.
740-56),
t his work shows sensit ive
cont our lines reinforced
by pale
ink-wash model-
ing
in a
st yle
known as
pai-hua,
or "whit e
paint -
ing" (see
also
figure 3).
blend
pict orial, calligraphic,
and
poet ic modes in
single
works of art .
By referring t o
paint ing as
"silent
poet ry"-and recalling essayist Han
Ys's
(768-824) words, "when injust ice occurs, one
sings out "-scholar-art ist s
during t he Yuan, Ming,
and
C h'ing periods, especially when t he t imes
were
difficult , used
paint ing
not
only
as a means
of
self-expression,
but also as a
psychological
self-defense
against
an
increasingly t urbulent and
menacing
world.
During
t he
T'ang dynast y
life in C hina was
brilliant ly cosmopolit an.
C hinese
polit ical
and
cult ural inst it ut ions were at t heir
apogee,
and
during
t his era C hinese influence had it s
great est
impact
on K orea and
Japan.
The
capit al C h'ang-
an
(modern Sian)
was a cent er for
foreign
t rade.
Merchant s
following
t he caravan rout es from
Byzant ium, A rabia, Persia,
and C ent ral A sia
brought
t heir exot ic wares t o it s
appreciat ive
inhabit ant s.
A mong
t he most
highly prized foreign
t ribut es t o
t he
imperial
court were t he war-horses of A rabia
and C ent ral
A sia,
which were
larger, fast er,
and
more
powerful
t han t he nat ive
ponies.
The most
splendid
of t hese animals became
personal
mount s of t he
emperor.
Night -shining Whit e,
a
paint ing
of t he favorit e
charger
of
Emperor Hsuan-t sung (reigned
712-56),
is
possibly
t he
only surviving
work of t he
leading
horse
paint er
of t he
eight h cent ury,
Han
K an
(act ive
ca.
740-56) (figures 2,3).
The
fiery-
t empered animal,
wit h it s wild
eye, flaring nost rils,
and
prancing hooves,
epit omizes
C hinese
myt hs
about "celest ial st eeds" t hat "sweat ed blood" and
were
dragons
in
disguise. A lt hough
t he horse is
t et hered t o a
st urdy post , Night -shining
Whit e
radiat es
supernat ural energy.
A t t he same t ime it
present s
an accurat e
port rayal
of a
st rong,
rest less animal.
That t he
subject
of t his
paint ing
is a whit e horse
obviously explains why
t he art ist has not used
any
color. But t he
uncompromising
achievement would
indicat e t hat Han
K an, like all C hinese
paint ers
a
mast er of t he
brushline,
might nat urally prefer
only
brush and black
ink,
rest rict ing color,
if
present
at
all,
t o areas of lesser
import ance.
This
met hod, called
pai-hua,
or "whit e
paint ing,"
had a
long hist ory
before
T'ang t imes,
as is evidenced
by
it s
appearance
in Buddhist caves of t he first
half of t he sixt h
cent ury.
When t he
Indo-European
concept
of
chiaroscuro,
known t o t he C hinese as
"receding-and-prot ruding paint ing,"
was int ro-
duced int o C hina
t hrough
C ent ral
A sia, C hinese
art ist s,
reject ing
it s shaded
colors,
responded
by developing
t heir own t hree-dimensional mode
of monochrome
paint ing
wit h a modulat ed
t hickening-and-t hinning
line. The
great eight h-
cent ury figure paint er
Wu Tao-t zu
(act ive ca.
720-60)
was said t o have done his
large
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(3) Night -shining Whit e, proba-
bly
t he best -known horse
paint -
ing
in C hinese
art ,
was much
admired
by
crit ics and collec-
t ors. It bears a formidable
ped-
igree
of writ t en
appreciat ions
and collect ors'
seals, including
an
inscript ion by
t he last
Sout hern
T'ang emperor
Li YO
(reigned 961-75)-who
wrot e
t he t it le on t he
right -hand
mar-
gin-as
well as more t han
t went y ot her
inscript ions
of t he
nint h t o t he t went iet h cent uries.
C elebrat ed
pict ures frequent ly
bear numerous collect ors'
seals,
colophons,
and
inscrip-
t ions
by
lat er admirers on a
variet y
of
subject s-from
informat ion about t he art ist t o
an
analysis
of t he
work,
t o
poems
it has
inspired.
For t he
connoisseur,
t hese not at ions
not
only
increased t he value of
t he work but
great ly
enhanced
it s aest het ic
appreciat ion.
Handscroll. Ink on
paper,
121/8
x 133/16 inches.
Purchase,
The
Dillon Fund Gift , 1977. 1977. 78
9
I2'C bI
' I
U -^:
1|? i-.
-
m
Buddhist
images
on
t emple
walls wit h such
forceful
t hickening-and-t hinning
st rokes t hat
t hey
needed neit her
shading
nor colors t o be
complet e.
Since most
T'ang pict orial
art exist s
only
as
wall
decorat ion, Night -shining
Whit e
gives
us an
unparalleled opport unit y
t o observe how a
great
T'ang
art ist was able t o achieve on
paper
a
fully
plast ic
and
lively image
of a
prancing
horse
t hrough
t he
elegant economy
of
only
a sensit ive
brushline and subt le ink
shading.
The
power
of Han K an's
drawing
lies in t he
qualit y
of his
line, which is
supple
and
incisive, defining
t he
sculpt urelike
forms. In nat ure "flat " lines do not
exist : a crease in a horse's neck or below it s
chest ,
for
inst ance, represent s
t he int ersect ion of
t wo
planes.
A t rue cont our line drawn
by
t he
art ist must
suggest
t he
curving
surface of a form.
Han K an's brushline
precisely,
almost
t act ually,
describes t he
bulging
cont ours of t he horse's
powerful body
and t he creases of it s
quivering
muscles. Such effect ive
drawing,
a
unique
achievement of
T'ang paint ing,
is t he
product
of a
mind t hat visualizes forms in
organic,
t hree-
dimensional t erms. The brushline is beaut iful
because,
in it s sensit ive modulat ion,
it describes
t he forms
beaut ifully.
Furt hermore,
Han K an's int uit ive
grasp
of fore-
short ening
and of animal locomot ion has enabled
him t o achieve nat uralism wit h form
t ypes
for t he
horse t hat had been in use since t he C h'in and
Han
dynast ies (221
B. C . -A . D.
220).
A rchaic
repre-
sent at ions were
merely
flat
silhouet t es,
a form
found even in
sculpt ure.
In t he Han
Flying
Horse
t hat t oured t he Unit ed St at es in
1974-75,
t he t wo
sides of t he horse are seen as
symmet rical
halves,
wit h bot h
right legs
ext ended forward and
bot h left
legs swung
backward in an unnat ural
gait , reducing
movement and
expressiveness
t o
rhyt hmic
abst ract ion.
A lt hough
Han K an followed
basically
t he same linear convent ions in
depict ing
his horse-smoot h,
round
hindquart ers
and st rict
profile
head wit h an
open
mout h-it is now con-
ceived in t he round as a
well-int egrat ed, organic
ent it y.
The animal's hooves are in
proper synchro-
nizat ion: wit h left -front and
right -rear legs t ouching
t he
ground
at t he same t ime. Thus Han K an was
able t o
go beyond
t radit ional form
t ypes
t o creat e
a
superbly
art iculat ed, personalit y-charged
animal
t hat was much emulat ed
by ensuing generat ions
of art ist s but never
equalled.
Landscape paint ing began
t o
emerge
as a
preeminent
art form at t he end of t he
T'ang
dynast y. Paint ers, escaping
t he t urmoil and
dest ruct ion t hat t ook
place during
t he
collapse
of
t he
dynast y,
ret reat ed t o t he mount ains and
count ryside,
where
t hey
found
spect acular
scenery
and
inspirat ion.
The reclusive art ist s of
t he
ensuing
Five
Dynast ies (907-60)
and t he
10
early
Nort hern
Sung dynast y (960-1127) sought
t o
capt ure
t he "t rut h" of creat ion
by invest igat ing
t he
"principles"
of nat ure in
landscape paint ing.
They developed
a monument al
st yle
of
great
power
and
simplicit y
t hat
conveys
t he vast ness
and
mult iplicit y
of creat ion it self. Such
paint ers
as
Fan K 'uan (act ive ca.
990-1030)
and t he
great
early
Nort hern
Sung
mast ers creat ed works t hat
would be admired and
copied
for hundreds of
years.
In Nort hern
Sung landscape,
as in t he land-
scapes
of cent uries
before,
t he
principal
element s
are mount ains and
t rees,
which are
port rayed by
an ext ensive
repert oire
of
syst emat ically developed
form
t ypes.
In archaic
represent at ions
t hese
closely
resemble t heir
ideographic
forms: shan
(A \:) comprising
t hree
peaks,
a "host " flanked
by
t wo smaller "guest "
peaks;
and mu
( )
describing
forked branches and
anchoring
root s.
By
Nort hern
Sung t imes,
different kinds of rock
surfaces were described
by clearly
defined
syst ems
of t ext ure st rokes or
dot s;
and t he t rees
were shown as a mixt ure of deciduous hardwoods
and coniferous
evergreens,
wit h t he leaves
represent ed by
a
variet y
of
foliage
formulas-
out lined
pat t erns
of circular and
point ed
leaves
cont rast ing
wit h ink-dot t ed or needle
pat t erns.
A
Nort hern
Sung landscape,
conceived
part by
part ,
is read rat her t han
experienced:
it has a
great
int ellect ual sense of scale but lacks
physi-
cally
described
space
and recession. The result is
a
concept ual landscape
t hat
represent s
no mere
ret inal
image
of nat ure but a vision of t he
macrocosm.
Landscape
in t he
St yle
of Fan
K 'uan,
a
large
hanging
scroll of t he t welft h
cent ury, repeat s
some
of t he convent ions of t he earlier mast er
(figures
4-6). Here,
for
inst ance,
is t he st rict
ordering
of
t he
composit ion
int o
st ages:
in t his case
t hree,
indicat ed
by
a boat
landing
at t he foot of a t ree-
covered bluff in t he
foreground;
t ravelers headed
t oward a
t emple
ret reat in t he middle
dist ance;
and mount ain
peaks rising
in t he
background.
The
angular
rock faces of
"raindrop"-t ext ure
dot s and
t he
scrubby foliage
on t he
peaks
are also
hallmarks of Fan K 'uan. Fan's mount ain forms
reflect t he
geological
t rait s of t he
rocky peaks
of
t he sout hern Shensi
region
of nort hern
C hina,
where
such
foliage grows
in
layers
of
wind-deposit ed
(4)
This
hanging
scroll
by
a Nort hern
Sung
art ist
dat es from about 1120 and
depict s
a
landscape
of mount ains and t rees t hat evokes t he
st yle
of t he
early elevent h-cent ury
mast er Fan K 'uan
(act ive
ca.
990-1030). Neit her a realist ic port rayal
nor a ro-
mant ic
personal vision,
it
emphasizes
t he vast -
ness and
complexit y
of nat ure. Ink and
pale
colors
on
silk, 647/8
x 407/8 inches. Gift of Irene and
Earl
Morse,
1956. 56. 151
I-
o ~LI v I ,,
I~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`r
(5)
Trees are one of t he
prin-
cipal
element s of
Landscape
in t he
St yle
of Fan K 'uan.
Here,
silhouet t ed
against
t he
mist ,
great
deciduous hardwoods
wit h t heir massive t runks dis-
play
a
variet y
of convent ional-
ized
foliage pat t erns-out lined
round and
point ed
leaves and
ink dot s. In a Nort hern
Sung
landscape, mount ains,
t he
ot her
principal element ,
and
t rees cont rast and
complement
each ot her
according
t o Yin
and
Yang concept s
in various
relat ionships
of
high
and
low,
hard and
soft , light
and dark-
t o creat e infinit e
change,
vari-
et y,
and int erest in a t imeless
landscape.
12
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soil on t he
t ops
of barren cliffs. In t his scroll t he
rock surfaces are described
by angular, nervously
charged
cont our st rokes and
point illist ic
dot s.
Following
t he Fan idiom as well are t he
t rees,
a
mixt ure of t he out lined
foliage pat t erns
of t all
hardwood
species
in t he
foreground
and ink-
dot t ed
evergreen
mot ifs in t he middle dist ance.
The mount ain forms of t he
Met ropolit an's
scroll
are
superimposed
in
overlapping silhouet t es,
a
composit ional
device
t ypical
of t he t welft h
cent ury.
There is no
receding ground plane
t o link or hold
t he
major element s; only
t he mist t hat curls
t hrough
t he
valleys
unit es t hem. Individual mot ifs
are
organized
on an addit ive
basis,
and t he
landscape
is
seen,
or
read,
mot if
by
mot if. The
mist -filled chasms and
valleys
seem t o run in a
vast and boundless
space. By
t he lat e t hirt eent h
and
early
fourt eent h
cent uries, landscape
element s became
physically int egrat ed,
but
descript ion
of
spat ial
recession was achieved in
t he lat er
paint ings only
wit h t he loss of t he
abilit y
on t he
part
of t he art ist t o
suggest
infinit e
space.
Quit e t he
opposit e
of t he dramat ic
scope
of t he
landscape
is t he
t ranquil
microcosm shown in t he
exquisit e
handscroll
Fipches and Bamboo
(figure
7).
The
paint ing
is
signed
wit h a
cypher
of t he
lat e Nort hern
Sung emperor, Hui-t sung (reigned
1101-25),
a
rapacious
collect or and art ist and
calligrapher
of
great t alent ,
who did more t han
any
ot her ruler t o fost er t he
A cademy
t radit ion in
C hina. The
exact ing st yle
and
high
st andards
of his
A cademy
were
inspired by
t he
emperor's
own devot ion t o t he fine art of
paint ing.
The
met iculous at t ent ion
paid
t o t he
depict ion
of t he
nat ural world found a
st riking parallel
in t he
Sung
Neo-C onfucian
epist emology assert ing
t hat "t he
invest igat ion
of
t hings
leads t o t he ext ension of
knowledge. "
The ult imat e
goal
of t he
A cademy
was not
just
a fine miniat urist
t echnique,
but t he
careful
st udy
of
"principles"
of nat ure
t hrough
paint ing.
In Finches and Bamboo we look int o t he
privat e
world of a
pair
of birds
communing peacefully
on
a
spring day.
The bamboo
leaves,
t heir
t ips
browned
by
a harsh
wint er,
have
regained
t heir
lush
jade-green
hue, and
pink
t endrils
sprout
from
each branch. The
springy
st alks
provide
secure
perches
for t he birds: t he sleek male on t he lower
st alk,
t ail and
wing t ips pulled back,
is at t ent ive
t o t he
female,
who is rat her aloof but
enjoying
his
at t ent ion.
A lt hough
close examinat ion reveals t hat
t he birds are drawn in convent ional form
t ypes
and brush
pat t erns,
t he int ent is
clearly
t o achieve
a lifelike
represent at ion-even
t he dot s of
lacquer
in t he birds'
eyes
are meant t o add life. But t he
paint ing
is more t han
just
a fait hful
reproduct ion
of nat ure's out ward
appearances. By showing
growt h, change,
and
pot ent ial movement ,
it
communicat es
profound insight
int o t he
workings
of t he nat ural universe.
By comparison,
an
A udubon
print
or nat ure
phot ograph
seems
only
a frozen
image.
Hui-t sung bequeat hed
not
only
his own art ist ic
achievement s and t hat of his
A cademy
but also a
descript ive cat alogue
of his
paint ing collect ion,
Hsuan-ho
hua-p'u (A
Manual of
Paint ing During
t he Hsuan-ho
Reign, 1119-25;
wit h a
preface
dat ed
1120),
which evidences t he richness and
diversit y
of
Sung paint ing.
Divided int o t en
sect ions,
it list s
subject s ranging
from Buddhist
and Taoist
images
t o
hist ory
and didact ic
pict ures,
t o such
specialized genres
as archi-
t ect ure, foreign t ribes,
landscapes, animals, birds,
flowers, bamboo, fish,
and
dragons.
The
Sung
period
was rich in t he decorat ive
art s,
such
as screens and ot her
furnishings,
and in orna-
ment ed
buildings,
which were embellished in
early Sung
t imes
mainly by professional paint ers,
who also t urned out more int imat e works for
pat rons
and collect ors.
In t he elevent h
cent ury,
when scholar-officials
had
replaced
C hina's
heredit ary arist ocracy
as
t he dominant force in
government
and cult ural
life,
a new class of art ist
appeared.
A s men of
let t ers,
most scholar-officials were t rained
poet s
and
calligraphers,
and as
many
of t hem were
connoisseurs and
collect ors, t hey
dabbled in
paint ing.
In
emphasizing
t he cult ivat ion of t he
inner
self,
t he scholar-art ist s saw
paint ing,
calligraphy,
and
poet ry
as means for
personal
expression. Turning away
from t he
minut ely
descript ive
mode of such works as Finches and
Bamboo, avant -garde
crit ics of t he lat e Nort hern
Sung began
a search for a
radically different ,
more
personally expressive st yle.
Some t wo
cent uries
lat er, t his
scholar-paint ing
aest het ic
became t he
accept ed
credo of t he
leading
art ist s
of t he Yuan
period.
In 1127
Hui-t sung's
nort hern
capit al
was sacked
by
t he C hin
Tart ars,
and t he
emperor
was carried
off, only
t o die lat er in
capt ivit y.
His nint h
son,
who was
proclaimed Emperor K ao-t sung (reigned
1127-61), escaped
and est ablished t he Sout hern
Sung
court at Lin-an
(Hangchow)
in 1138. A
Sout hern
Sung
art ist drew t he Museum's free-
hand
copy
of a
t ent h-cent ury
handscroll
by
C hou
Wen-chO t wo
years
aft er t he move t o t he new
capit al (figures 8,9). C hou, a Sout hern
T'ang
(937-75)
court
paint er,
was
pat ronized by
(6)
In
Landscape
in t he
St yle
of Fan K 'uan t he
rock surfaces are described
by nervous, angular
cont our st rokes and
mot t ling dot s,
soft er versions
of Fan K 'uan's
"raindrop"
dot s.
Superimposed
in
overlapping silhouet t es, t he mount ains are unified
by
a mist -filled
at mosphere
t hat creat es t he illu-
sion of
space,
a device t hat dat es t his scroll t o
t he t welft h
cent ury.
15
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A n
accomplished paint er
as well as an act ive
pat ron
of
,
t he
art s,
t he
emperor Hui-t sung
(reigned 1101-25)
est ablished
a new level of nat uralism
i: f:
::,,;
t hrough
t he exact ing
st andards
he set for art ist s of t he
Sung
,
Paint ing A cademy.
Whet her il-
i lust rat ing
a line of
poet ry
or
making
a
st udy
from
nat ure,
capt uring
t he
spirit
of t he sub-
ject
was valued above mere
lit eral
represent at ion.
The em-
peror's
Finches and Bamboo
exemplifies
his fast idious t ast e.
t he
minut ely
observed finches
and st alks of bamboo are ex-
quisit ely composed
and ele-
;,,
gant ly
rendered. The
t iny
birds
.
i; - X
are imbued wit h t he alert ness
X,
~~ and
spright ly vit alit y
of t heir liv-
Y1:4
i ing count erpart s. Det ail of hand-
scroll. Ink and colors on
silk,
11 x 18 inches overall. John
St |
. M. C rawford, Jr. , C ollect ion.
pE 11 t
Purchase, Douglas
Dillon
Gift ,
ill; 1981. 1981. 278
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bf
jis
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17
Emperor
Li Y(
(reigned 961-75),
an art ist and
poet
who t rained his
palace
ladies t o
sing
and act
out his
lyrics.
The
original paint ing showing
t hese
women in t he
palace
was done in full color.
In
making
his
copy
t he
t welft h-cent ury
art ist
chose t he "plain
drawing" (pai-miao) st yle
of Li
K ung-lin (ca. 1049-1106),
t he foremost scholar-
paint er
of t he lat e Nort hern
Sung period,
whose
nephew
had commissioned t he
pict ure.
A
great
ant iquarian
and not ed
calligrapher,
Li st udied and
copied many
ancient
works, dist illing
and t rans-
forming
t hem in a
neoclassical, pure drawing
st yle.
Unlike Han K an's
subt ly
modeled "whit e
paint ing,"
in which lines describe cont ours, Li's
st yle
is a
st rict ly
linear
t echnique
wit h
elegant
calligraphic
brushst rokes t hat are in t hemselves
individually
beaut iful.
Working
in t his
st yle,
t he art ist has not t ried t o
reproduce
t he
original exact ly.
He has
expanded
and t ransformed
it , giving
it a fresh underst and-
ing.
Such a t ransformat ion involves bot h imit at ion
and re-creat ion. The
copyist
first t ries t o
capt ure
t he
larger
mot ifs and t he obvious brush manner-
isms as well as ot her
readily
ident ifiable
element s,
such as hairdo and cost ume. But t o
give
life and
energy
t o his
work,
he makes subt le
changes
more in
keeping
wit h t he aest het ic and visual
st ruct ure of his own t ime and his own
personalit y.
In t he Palace is not a lat er
paint ing
in an
ancient
st yle
but an ancient work reincarnat ed in
a lat er vernacular.
C oncent rat ing
on
line,
t he
paint er
eliminat ed all
suggest ions
of a
set t ing
in
space-which might
be
expect ed
in a t ent h-
cent ury
handscroll-and t he well-conceived
figures appear against
a void. The
drapery
folds
are drawn in t he
t ype
of
st rongly calligraphic
line
admiringly
charact erized
by Sung
crit ics as "iron
wire. " This
st yle displays
a self-conscious
pre-
occupat ion
wit h brushline:
perfect ly
cent ered
(t he
brush
t ip carefully kept
at t he cent er of t he
brushst roke)
and
t aut ,
t he lines become almost
independent
of t he forms
t hey
describe.
Here,
rat her t han
modeling
t he
forms,
t he brushlines
kinet ically
recreat e t he
rhyt hms
of t he folds.
Yet ,
despit e
t heir
freedom, t hey
are cohesive and well
int egrat ed, suggest ing
t he movement and
st ruct ure of t he
body
underneat h.
In a similar
spirit
of
reviving
C hina's ancient
herit age, Emperor K ao-t sung sponsored
a number
of
paint ing
and
calligraphy project s
t hat ext olled
t he virt ues and
legit imacy
of his
"dynast ic
revival. " The
largest
of t hese was t he
illust rat ing
of
t he more t han t hree hundred
poems
of t he Shih-
ching,
or C lassic of
Odes,
as
arranged
and
int erpret ed by
t he Han comment at ors Mao
Heng
and Mao
C h'ang.
The Six Odes
St art ing
wit h
"Wild
Geese,"
illust rat ed
by
Ma Ho-chih
(act ive
ca.
1130-70),
was
part
of t his ambit ious
program
(figures 10, 11).
The Six Odes reflect a new
archaizing approach
t o
paint ing
t aken
by
t he
A cademy
under t he
personal
direct ion of t he
emperor.
(8,9)
The art ist of In t he
Palace,
a
t welft h-cent ury
copy
of a lost work
by
C hou Wen-chO (act ive
ca.
940-75),
has eliminat ed color and all
sugges-
t ion of
set t ing
t o concent rat e on
line, t urning
each
brushst roke int o an
expressive ent it y,
as in cal-
ligraphy.
This
st rict ly
linear
t echnique,
known as
"plain drawing,"
can be cont rast ed t o t he cont our
lines and subt le
shading
of t he earlier
Night -
shining
Whit e
(figures 2, 3).
Det ails of
handscroll,
before 1140. Ink on
silk, 10/2 x 571/2 inches overall.
Purchase, Douglas
Dillon
Gift ,
1978. 1978. 4
18
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Ma's "orchid-leaf" brushline,
a
st ylized
version
of t he classic
t hickening-and-t hinning st roke,
clearly
derives from t he
scholar-paint ing
t radit ion
of Li
K ung-lin.
Ma's
archaist ic, unrealist ic,
and
deliberat ely calligraphic drawing st yle
is
ideally
suit ed for t he
Odes, long regarded
as one of t he
foundat ions of C hinese civilizat ion and
t hought .
A voiding
t he narrat ive or
descript ive approach,
he has infused his
drawing
wit h
lyrical expression.
In Wild
Geese, illust rat ing
a
poem describing
t he
misfort unes of t he homeless and
poor
before t he
C hou
king
Hsuan
(reigned
827-780
B. C . ) gat h-
ered t hem in and housed
t hem,
Ma
depict s
a
pair
of
geese flying eagerly
t o t heir
goslings hiding
in
t he reeds. To
suggest
t heir
unhappy condit ion,
t he brushst rokes of t he reeds around t he
young
birds are
disorderly
and
abrupt ;
and t o show t heir
helplessness,
t he lines
describing
t he
goslings
are
t imid,
almost
quavering.
In
cont rast ,
t he
parent
birds are
beaut ifully groomed,
and t heir
very graceful
and t ender
presence
seems t o
spell
hope
and relief.
In
C ourt yard Torches,
an
impressive
scene of
court iers assembled for an
audience,
Ma drew
figures, t rees,
and archit ect ure wit h an
undulat ing
brushst roke in a
part icularly expressive
calli-
graphic st yle.
(10) Emperor
K ao-t sung (reigned 1127-61) spon-
sored a series of handscrolls t hat t ranscribed and
illust rat ed t he C lassic of
Odes, t hought
t o have
been
compiled by
C onfucius. For his illust rat ion
Wild Geese Ma Ho-chih (act ive
ca.
1130-70)
used an
archaist ic, simplified st yle
in
keeping
wit h
t he
great ant iquit y
of t he Odes. Det ail of hand-
scroll. Ink and colors on
silk,
individual scene 10 x
301/2 inches overall. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollec-
t ion. Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 1
(11)
In
C ourt yard
Torches court iers assemble for
an
early morning audience,
and
according
t o t he
poem
from t he
Odes,
"The
night
nears dawn. "
This verse is said t o refer t o t he concern of
K ing
Hsuan
(reigned
827-780
B. C . )
about t he
punct ual
arrival of his minist ers. Ma Ho-chih's
undulat ing
"orchid-leaf" brushline
impart s
a
st ylized rhyt hm
t o t he scene. Det ail. Individual scene 10 x 25/2
inches overall.
20
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A s we have seen in In t he
Palace,
one art ist 's
st yle may
become t he
subject
of anot her art ist 's
composit ion
in a free
adapt at ion,
a t radit ion
largely
unfamiliar in West ern art . This combinat ion
of document at ion and
int erpret at ion
causes
pec-
uliar
problems
of
st ylist ic analysis
and at t ribut ion.
Lit erary Gat hering
at t he Liu-li Hall is anot her
copy
of a work
by
t he
t ent h-cent ury
mast er C hou
Wen-chO,
t his one
by
a
t hirt eent h-cent ury paint er
(figure 12).
In t he Palace
Museum, Peking,
t here
is an
earlier,
cut -down version
(only
t he left half of
t he
composit ion remains)
ent it led
Lit erary
Gat her-
ing; Emperor Hui-t sung, writ ing
on t he
paint ing,
ascribes it t o t he
eight h-cent ury paint er
Han
Huang (723-87).
This at t ribut ion is
unlikely
be-
cause t he
cost umes-part icularly
t he men's
hat s-t he
chair,
and t he hairdo of t he servant
boy
are in t he
st yle
of t he t ent h
cent ury,
and t he draw-
ing
of t he
drapery
is in t he "t remulous brushline"
known t o have been used
by
C hou Wen-chO.
By
comparing
t he t wo
paint ings,
which are
very
close in
composit ion
but differ in
drawing st yle,
we
may
conclude t hat bot h are
copies
of an
original by
C hou.
The
original composit ion,
which is t he earliest
known
example
of a
popular
t heme in
Sung paint -
ing,
a
lit erary meet ing
in a
garden set t ing,
com-
memorat ed t he famous
part ies
host ed
by
t he
eight h-cent ury poet Wang C h'ang-lin
at his resi-
dence in
C hiang-ning (Nanking),
at which he
ent ert ained his
poet
friends and held
poet ry
com-
pet it ions.
Furnit ure and
writ ing implement s
have
22
been moved
out doors,
where t he scholars and a
Buddhist monk at t ended
by servant s
gat her
and
converse
amiably.
One
scholar, Idaning against
a
garden rock,
is
laboring
over a
poem.
The
fig-
ures, furnit ure, rocks,
and t ree are
arranged
hori-
zont ally, recalling
ot her
t ent h-cent ury composit ions.
In t he
Met ropolit an's Lit erary Gat hering,
C hou's
t ent h-cent ury st yle
has been t ransformed
by
t he
t hirt eent h-cent ury
art ist . While t he hat s are Sout h-
ern
T'ang
versions of earlier
T'ang headgear,
t he
faces have a lat e
Sung
look,
t ypical
of
many
of
t he Buddhist
paint ings
now
preserved
in
Japan.
C ompared
t o t he lat e
T'ang faces, t hey
are more
schemat ic;
t he individual brushlines are more
rapid
and more aut omat ic in
feeling.
In cont rast
t o faces of t he lat e
Ming dynast y (sixt eent h
and
sevent eent h
cent uries), however, t hey
are
solidly
and
t hree-dimensionally
conceived. The
drawing
of t he faces
begins
wit h t he
nose,
around which
t he
eyes, eyebrows, mout h,
and ears are built t o
convey
a definit e sense of bone st ruct ure and
volume. The
eyelid
has a double curvat ure t hat
rises t o
suggest
t he
bulging eyeball
underneat h.
C hou Wen-chu's "t remulous brushline" has be-
come for t he
t hirt eent h-cent ury
art ist a virt uoso
performance,
in which t he
elegant flut t ering lines,
at once
playful
and
confident ,
are well
int egrat ed.
The hooks and curves
represent ing
creases and
pocket s
in t he
drapery
show an
ext ravagant
real-
ism mat ched
only by
t he best lat e Sout hern
Sung
A cademy figure paint ers.
Somewhat
apart
from but
clearly reflect ing
t he
mainst ream of
pict orial development
are Buddhist
paint ings,
which flourished
during
t he
Sung pe-
riod.
Throughout
Buddhism's
early hist ory
in
C hina,
t he ascet ic
aspect s
of t he
religion-t he
pract ice
of
celibacy
and
self-deprivat ion-came
int o conflict wit h t he C hinese
family syst em
and
social values. The form of Buddhism t hat won
wide
popular accept ance by
t he C hinese was t he
less esot eric and less
demanding
Pure Land
sect ,
which
preached
universal salvat ion
t hrough
meri-
t orious work and
frequent
invocat ion of t he names
of t he A mit abha
Buddha,
lord of t he West ern Par-
adise,
and his Paradise deit ies. The
large, impos-
ing hanging
scroll
represent s
t he
compassionat e
A mit abha
welcoming
newborn souls int o t he West -
ern Paradise
(figures 13, 14).
Such
images
of t he
West ern Paradise deit ies were made
by
commer-
cial st udios for
privat e worship
in t he home.
Many
Buddhist
paint ings
of t he
Sung
and Yuan
periods
are
preserved t oday
in
Japan,
whose merchant s
and
pilgrims during
t he t hirt eent h t o fift eent h
cent uries
import ed t hem, mainly
from
Ning-po,
a
port cit y
in
C hekiang
Province. A scroll like t he
Met ropolit an's appears
in a lohan
paint ing
made
in
Ning-po
bet ween 1178 and
1184,
now owned
by
t he Zen Buddhist
t emple Dait okuji
in
K yot o.
Typical
of Buddhist
images,
t he
figure
is well
drawn in a conservat ive vein. The face and
hands,
rendered
firmly
in a t hree-dimensional
manner,
are modeled
by
a
pink,
flesh-t one shad-
ing,
reminiscent of t he
import ed
chiaroscuro t ech-
nique
of t he fift h and sixt h cent uries. The
drapery
is execut ed in t he
"scudding-cloud
and
running-
wat er"
pat t ern, which, having originat ed
in t he
Indo-European
Gandharan
st yle,
was
frequent ly
used
by
C hinese
paint ers
t o recall t he Indian ori-
gin
of t he Buddha. The modulat ed lines of t he
drapery
recall t he
legendary t hickening-and-
t hinning
brushst rokes of Wu Tao-t zu.
C ompared
t o
t he
expressive
st rokes of In t he
Palace, however,
t hese seem t ame and almost reduced t o a for-
mula. The brilliant colors are
t ypical
of
popular
(12) Poet ry compet it ions
and
lit erary
discus-
sions were oft en
paint ed by
art ist s of t he
Sung
(960-1279)
and lat er
periods. Lit erary Gat hering
at t he Liu-li
Hall,
a
t hirt eent h-cent ury copy
of a
work
by
C hou Wen-chu
(see
also
figures 8,9),
commemorat es a
meet ing
host ed
by
t he
poet
Wang C h'ang-lin
(act ive ca.
713-41). Here,
seven
scholars and a Buddhist monk admire books and
scrolls and converse. Two servant s st and
by,
while a t hird
grinds
ink on an inkst one.
A lt hough
t he art ist has t ransformed C hou's
t ent h-cent ury
drapery st yle
int o a series of
complex
rococo
meanders,
t he lines never
degenerat e
int o t wo-
dimensional
pat t ern; independent ly,
or in
conjunc-
t ion wit h
pale shading, t hey graphically
describe
t he folds and creases of t he
garment s.
Hand-
scroll. Ink and colors on
silk,
123/8 x 49 inches. Gift
of Mrs. Sheila
Riddell,
in
memory
of Sir Percival
David,
1979. 1979. 49
23
(13) By
t he t welft h
cent ury,
t he most
popular
form
of Buddhism in C hina cent ered on t he A mit abha
Buddha,
shown here
welcoming
souls int o his
West ern Paradise.
St anding
on lot us
pods,
A mit abha manifest s his
superhuman
charact er
t hrough
his idealized
body
and
gest ures.
His
raised left
hand,
wit h t humb and
finger forming
a
circle,
bet okens wisdom and
compassion;
t he
right
hand is lowered in t he
gest ure
of
almsgiving
or
wish-grant ing.
His
elongat ed
earlobes are
t hose of an Indian
prince
and
signify
his st at ure
as a universal
ruler;
t he cranial
prot uberance,
red
bald
spot ,
and halo are
signs
of
enlight ened
wis-
dom.
Hanging
scroll. Ink and colors on
silk,
5312 x
23 inches.
Purchase,
The Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1980.
1980. 275
(14)
While t he forms are seen as
elegant
linear
pat t erns, t hey
are also rendered t hree-dimen-
sionally.
In t he det ail of A mit abha's
hand,
fine out -
lines and flesh-t oned
shading
combine t o
provide
a
convincing
illusion of t he
fleshy palm
and fin-
gers
around which t he nails are
gent ly
curved.
24
~~~~~~~~~~A ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ , ,. i''. '1. ;i'
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~~~~~~~~4 fi41 *I'A
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25
Buddhist paint ings
of t he period.
Such int ensit y
of
color is t he result of a layer of foundat ion paint
on
t he back of t he silk surface-applied
before t he
pigment s
on t he front -which was discovered
when t he
paint ing
was remount ed.
A
very
different t ype
of Buddhist paint ing
is
Meet ing
Bet ween Yao-shan and Li A o, inscribed
by
t he well-known C h'an priest
Yen-ch'i K uang-
wen bet ween 1254 and 1256, when he was
abbot of t he Ling-yin Temple
in
Hangchow (figures
15, 16).
A nt idoct rinal and iconoclast ic, C h'an, or
Zen (in Japanese),
Buddhism shared wit h Neo-
C onfucianism and
philosophical
Taoism a concern
for t he cult ivat ion of a
t ranquil
and det ached mind
free of mat erial involvement . Just as t he C h'an
mast er shunned formal learning
in favor of int ui-
t ive underst anding,
t he C h'an paint er
avoided
careful drawing
and
bright
colors in favor of a
spont aneous,
more elusive brush and ink-wash
st yle.
This scroll depict s
t he famous encount er be-
t ween t he Neo-C onfucian scholar Li A o
(act ive
ca. 840)
and t he C h'an mast er Yao-shan.
Meet ing
t he renowned mast er, t he scholar was
disap-
point ed by
his
unresponsiveness,
and remarked,
"Seeing your
face is not as
good
as
hearing your
name. " Whereupon
t he mast er replied,
"Would
you
dist rust
your eye
and value
your
ear?" Then,
point ing up
and down, t he mast er indicat ed t hat
t he ult imat e realit y
is in what
you
can see, such
as "t he clouds in t he sky
and wat er in
my
vase. "
On t he
paint ing
Yen-ch'i K uang-wen's colophon
reads:
A ll moment s of enlight enment
come in a flash,
Why dist rust your eye
and value your
ear?
Just as bet ween t he wat er and t he clouds,
Don't say t here is not hing
t here.
The drawing of t his scroll is in a st yle so
pale
t hat it has been nicknamed "ghost paint ing. "
A
relaxed and
spont aneous
combinat ion of line
and ink wash, t his st yle
was said t o have been
evolved by
a lat e t welft h-cent ury
C h'an mast er,
C hih-yung.
While t he forms are vividly
volumet ric
and real, t he art ist is at t empt ing
t o express
an
idea t hat denied bot h form and
t echnique.
C om-
pared
t o Li
K ung-lin's simplified
"plain drawing,"
t he loose brushlines seem shapeless
and t o crit -
ics of classical calligraphy,
even "uncult ivat ed. "
Yet t he great
C h'an works of t he t hirt eent h cen-
t ury were a
unique expression
of a
religious
ideal.
Lat er C h'an-st yle paint ings, increasingly rough
and
eccent ric, show int erest ing
but
empt y brushwork.
(15) Meet ing
Bet ween Yao-shan and Li A o de-
pict s
t he encount er bet ween t he C h'an (Zen
in
Japanese)
mast er Yao-shan and t he C onfucian
scholar Li A o (act ive
ca. 840),
who is shown at
t he left . The C h'an sect of Buddhism disparaged
elaborat e rit uals and
iconography
in favor of a
more personal approach
t o enlight enment .
"En-
count er" paint ings
and t heir accompanying
poems challenged
t he viewer wit h a conundrum,
t he answer t o which led t o t he realizat ion t hat t he
ult imat e realit y
is simply
t hat which one perceives.
Hanging scroll, before 1256. Ink on
paper,
12V4 x
331/8 inches. Edward Elliot t Family C ollect ion. Pur-
chase, The Dillon Fund Gift , 1982. 1982. 2. 1.
(16) Yao-shan, at t he
right ,
is
port rayed
in t he
spont aneous,
elusive brush and ink-wash
st yle
favored by C h'an paint ers,
who shunned careful
drawing
and
bright
colors.
C apt uring
t he
fleet ing
vision wit h a minimum of t echnique,
t he C h'an
paint ing st yle essent ially
denies all form and
t echnique.
26
4
/
4
/
4;.
. .
k
44;
45
4
/4
44
In 1227 t he armies of
Genghis
K han suc-
ceeded in
driving
t he C hin Tart ars from
Yen-ching
(Peking).
In 1234 t he
Mongols capt ured
Pien-
ching (K 'ai-feng)
and
dest royed
it
complet ely.
Thirt y-seven years lat er, Genghis's grandson,
K ublai
K han,
est ablished t he Yuan
dynast y and,
sweeping sout h,
overcame t he last Sout hern
Sung
emperor.
Unt il
1368,
t he
Mongols imposed
t heir
rule
upon
t he
C hinese,
who never before had
been
complet ely conquered.
C hina under t he
Mongol conquest
became an
amalgam
of Han
C hinese, Mongol, K hit an,
Jurchen
Tart ar,
C ent ral
A sian,
and Tibet an
cult ures, yet
C hinese art and cult ure not
only
survived but also
flourished.
Developing
new t radit ions as well as
carrying
on and
rediscovering
old ones, Yuan
paint ers
worked in a wide
range
of
st yles.
A mong
t he
early
Yuan
mast ers, Wang
C hen-
p'eng (ca. 1280-1329)
was t he
leading exponent
of
"plain drawing"
in bot h
figural
and archit ect ural
paint ing.
His
newly
discovered Vimalakirt i and t he
Single
Doct rine was
done, according
t o t he
art ist 's
inscript ion,
in 1308 in t he Yuan
palace
at
Peking
at t he behest of
Jen-t sung (reigned
1312-20),
t hen t he heir
apparent (figures 17-19).
Wang
furt her not es t hat his model was a
compo-
sit ion
by
a C hin
paint er,
Ma
Yun-ch'ing
(act ive
ca.
1230),
which was it self a
copy
of a work
by
Li
K ung-lin.
The Palace
Museum, Peking,
owns a
scroll at t ribut ed t o Li t hat
appears
t o be t he work
of Ma
Yun-ch'ing
and t he
acknowledged
model
for
Wang's
Vimalakirt i.
The handscroll
depict s
a
passage
from t he
Vimalakirt i
Sut ra,
a Buddhist
script ure,
in which
Vimalakirt i,
a
layman,
and
Manjusri,
t he Bodhi-
sat t va of
Wisdom, engage
in a
t heological
de-
bat e.
A ccording
t o t he
sut ra,
Vimalakirt i
proved
t he more subt le
by remaining
silent when asked
t o
explain
t he ult imat e
meaning
of t he Buddhist
law. The
principal figures,
seat ed on daises and
facing
each ot her,
are surrounded
by
an audi-
ence of bodhisat t vas, lohans, at t endant s,
and
guardians.
Wang's
scroll is evidence of t he
powerful
influ-
ence of Li
K ung-lin's
art in lat er C hinese
paint -
ing.
Li
paint ed many religious subject s, working
most ly
on
paper
in handscrolls or ot her int imat e
format s. Unlike ot her
religious paint ings,
such
as murals or icon
paint ings
on
silk,
Li's
"plain-
drawing"
works,
rich in
psychological int erpret a-
t ion,
were done t o t he
scholar-paint er's
t ast e and
(17)
In t his det ail of
Wang C hen-p'eng's
Vimala-
kirt i
(figure 18),
an alert lion and a
young boy
at -
t end t he Bodhisat t va of Wisdom. In
describing
t he
billowing
folds of t he
garment s,
t he art ist has
carefully
cent ered his brush
t ip
for
perfect
cont rol.
28
:'
: :
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i, i
. f I
,
4
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t
44:
41
t herefore
accept able
t o connoisseurs as fine art .
Wang's drawing
also shows t he influence of a
leading calligrapher
and
paint er
of t he t ime, C hao
Meng-fu (1254-1322),
who t ransformed Li's "plain
drawing" by applying
t he
"seal-script -st yle"
calli-
graphic t echnique, whereby
each st roke is
rigidly
cent ered wit h t he brush and made t o look even
and round. The result is a
t ot ally
uniform and
flowing line,
in t he "iron-wire"
st yle. Wang's
achieve-
ment was his
abilit y
t o use t his
perfect ly
con-
t rolled line t o
represent convincing, organic
figural
forms,
rat her t han
let t ing
it t urn out
merely
abst ract
pat t erns.
The brushline and t he ink
wash, represent ing
cont rast ing
and
complement ary Yang
and Yin
principles
in
paint ing,
were
developed by
C hinese
paint ers
bot h
t oget her
and as
separat e
disci-
plines.
Just as Li
K ung-lin
reduced
drawing
t o it s
linear
essence,
t he Sout hern
Sung landscape
paint ers
t ransformed t he
complicat ed
Nort hern
Sung landscape
idiom of Fan K 'uan and his fol-
lowers int o a
simplified, powerfully
evocat ive ink-
wash
st yle.
Beneficent
Rain,
t he
only surviving
work
by
t he
t hirt y-eight h
Taoist
pope, C hang
Yu-
t s'ai
(died 1316),
uses a
drenching,
ink-suffused
st yle
t o creat e a dramat ic
night t ime
scene of four
dragons,
C hina's
myt hical
rainmakers, st irring up
a t idal wave in an elect ric st orm
(figures
20, 21).
(18)
This det ail of t he handscroll
by Wang
C hen-p'eng (ca. 1280-1329)
illust rat es a debat e
bet ween
Vimalakirt i,
a
layman
who achieved
supreme enlight enment ,
and
Manjusri,
t he
Bodhisat t va of Wisdom.
A ccording
t o t he
t ext ,
Vimalakirt i
proved
t he more subt le
by remaining
silent when asked t o
explain
t he
meaning
of t he
Buddhist Law. Seat ed on elaborat e
daises,
t he
principals
are surrounded
by bodhisat t vas,
lo-
hans,
and
guardians. Inscript ions by
t he art ist in-
dicat e t hat t he scroll was drawn in 1308 for
Emperor Jen-t sung (reigned 1312-20)
and t hat it
was
prepared
for his
approval prior
t o t he execu-
t ion of a color version. Ink on
silk, 1512 x 112
inches overall.
Purchase,
The Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1980. 1980. 276
(19)
Lohans are ascet ics and
holy
men who
pract iced
aust erit ies and
sought
individual salva-
t ion. Included as
represent at ives
of t he earlier
Hinayana
sect in t he lat er
Mahayana
Buddhist
pant heon,
lohans remained
popular
in C hinese
art
perhaps
because of t heir
dist inct ly
human
qualit ies.
The lohan wit h his head bowed and
hands
clasped
resembles a
kindly
mendicant
monk more t han an ascet ic.
30
i.
;
I.
J, ;,,Ift I
e - . -
C A )
I
*
. "
*'
' X-
-
, i
This
paint ing
is
closely
relat ed t o t he celebrat ed
Nine
Dragons,
a handscroll
by
C h'en
Jung,
dat ed
1244,
now in t he Museum of Fine
A rt s, Bost on,
which bears a
colophon by C hang
YO-t s'ai's
son,
t he
t hirt y-nint h pope.
One of C h'en
Jung's
own in-
script ions expresses
his sat isfact ion t hat t he scroll
had found it s
proper rest ing place
in a "Taoist
abode"; t his abode
was,
no
doubt ,
Mount
Lung-
hu
(Dragon-Tiger Mount ain),
in
K iangsi Province,
where C h'en
Jung
served as
magist rat e.
During
t he Yuan
period
t he
C heng-i ("Ort hodox
Unit y")
Taoist
C hurch, residing
at
Dragon-Tiger
Mount ain,
cast an enormous
spell
of
influence,
as
t he
Mongols,
who believed in divinat ion and sha-
manist ic
pract ices,
found t he more
popular
aspect s
of t his
religion-such
as
prognost icat ion,
alchemy,
and t he
pursuit
of
immort alit y-and
t he
est ablished Taoist church
organizat ion
useful in
aiding
t heir cont rol over sout hern C hina. The
popes
of
Dragon-Tiger
Mount ain and t heir
disciples
were
repeat edly
summoned t o t he Yuan
capit al
t o be honored.
C hang
YO-t s'ai received
special
commendat ions from t he
Mongol
court for
inducing
rain and for
subduing
a "t idal monst er"
t hat had
plagued
t he east ern coast . No doubt his
powerful dragon paint ing
added t o his aura as a
religious
leader and rainmaker.
The
scholar-paint ing
aest het ic,
which for
nearly
t wo hundred
years
had
emphasized
t he
impor-
t ance of art as a means of
self-expression, gained
overwhelming accept ance
wit h t he
polit ical up-
heavals of t he
Mongol
rule. Excluded from mean-
ingful government
service-t he t radit ional
goal
of
t he scholar-sout hern int ellect uals "ret ired" t o
paint , compose poet ry,
and
pract ice calligraphy,
many
of t hem t o
C hiang-nan,
in sout heast ern
C hina. In
response
t o t heir unfamiliar circum-
st ances,
Yuan scholar-art ist s t urned
away
from
t he
object ive realit y
of
Sung paint ing, combining
paint ing, poet ry,
and
calligraphy
in works t hat
express
t heir alienat ion and
unhappiness.
(20) A uspicious
creat ures associat ed wit h wat er
and clouds,
dragons
in C hina
symbolize
t he flux
of nat ure's element al forces.
C hang
YO-t s'ai
(died
1316),
t he
t hirt y-eight h
Taoist
pope,
was cele-
brat ed for
inducing
much needed rain and subdu-
ing
a "t idal
monst er";
he also
gained
a
reput at ion
as a
paint er
of
dragons.
This det ail of Beneficent
Rain,
his
only
ext ant
work, depict s
one of t hese
myst erious
beast s as it weaves and cavort s
t hrough
a st orm-racked scene of
churning
clouds
and
wind-whipped
waves. Handscroll. Ink on
silk,
105/8 x
1063/4
inches overall. Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 13
32
33
cp
(21)
In
Sung dynast y
t ext s,
t he
dragon
is described as
having
t he head of an
ox,
muzzle of
a
donkey, eyes
of a
shrimp,
horns of a
deer, body
of a
serpent
covered wit h fish
scales,
and feet of a
phoenix.
This
dragon,
one of four in
Beneficent Rain,
clut ches a
pearl symbolic
of it s
super-
nat ural
powers.
Invariably accompanied by
t hunder and
rain, dragons
move like
light ning
and whirl-
winds-all-powerful yet t ot ally
unpredict able. A ccording
t o
t he Han
dynast y philosopher
Wang
Fu
(flourished
ca. A . D.
120-60):
"When it is about t o
rain, dragons sing out , making
sounds like t he
beat ing
of
bronze basins. Their saliva
can exude mult it udinous fra-
grances;
t heir breat h forms
clouds,
which
t hey
use t o con-
ceal t heir
bodies,
so t hat
t hey
cannot be seen. " To creat e a
murky,
t urbulent
at mosphere
C hang
Yu-t s'ai relied
primarily
upon freely applied, graded
ink washes.
35
Pear
Blossoms, by
C h'ien Hsuan
(ca.
1235-
aft er
1301),
a
leading
art ist who chose t o live as a
"left over cit izen" in
C hiang-nan,
at first
resembles,
and
may
even be derived
from,
lat e Sout hern
Sung A cademy
flower
paint ings (figures 22-24).
But his
poem,
inscribed t o t he left of t he
image,
makes it clear t hat t he real
subject
is not
pear
blossoms but his
profound
sorrow at t he
dest ruct ion of
Sung
civilizat ion:
A ll alone
by
t he veranda
railing, t eardrops
drenching
t he branches,
Though
her face is unadorned,
her old
charms remain;
Behind t he locked
gat e,
on a
rainy night ,
how
she is filled wit h sadness,
How
different ly
she looked bat hed in
golden
waves of
moonlight ,
before darkness fell.
Unlike
Hui-t sung's
Finches and
Bamboo,
which
demonst rat es a commit ment t o an accurat e ren-
dering
of
nat ure,
Pear Blossoms and t he faded
beaut y
it
represent s
are
expressions
of t he art ist 's
personal feelings.
To creat e a mood of cool de-
t achment
reflect ing
his st at e of
mind,
C h'ien drew
in a fine
calligraphic
line and used flat , schemat ic
pat t erns
in
elegant pale
colors. The t ender
lyri-
cism of t he
poem
is echoed in his
calligraphy,
and it s brushst rokes
repeat
t he
languid, t wist ing
movement of t he
pear-branch
leaves.
Here
paint ing, poet ry,
and
calligraphy
are com-
plet ely int egrat ed
int o a
single
work.
Moving away
from
object ive represent at ion
and t radit ional
sym-
bolic and
allegorical
convent ions,
t he
subt ly
int er-
woven
lit erary
and
pict orial images, purposely
vague
but evocat ive, defy simple explicat ion.
Since no one will read t he
poem
in
quit e
t he
same
way,
each will
supply
his own ment al im-
ages;
and
t hough
an act ual flower is
shown,
one
has t o
guess
at t he art ist 's mot ivat ion and feel-
ings.
Thus t he viewer is involved in t he
paint er's
36
)
art ist ic consciousness and is
compelled
t o ex-
plore
himself and his own
experience.
(22)
A ft er t he
Mongol conquest
of
1279,
Yuan
scholar-art ist s,
excluded from t radit ional roles in
government ,
t urned
away
from t he
object ive
real-
it y
of
Sung paint ing
t o
express
t heir alienat ion and
unhappiness.
In his
poem
inscribed on Pear Blos-
soms, C h'ien Hsuan
(ca.
1235-aft er
1301)
com-
pares
t he
flowering pear
t o a
sequest ered beaut y
who has survived t he fall of t he
Sung dynast y.
The
cool
past el
colors and flat schemat ic branches
creat e a mood
reflect ing
t he art ist 's det achment .
Handscroll. Ink and colors on
paper,
12V2 x 371V2
inches.
Purchase,The
Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1977. 1977. 79
(23,24)
The
graceful
curves of t he art ist 's
signa-
t ure
embody
t he
lyrical qualit ies
of t he
poet ry,
as
do t he
languidly t wist ing leaves-demonst rat ing
t he int imat e
relat ionship
bet ween t he
poet ic,
calli-
graphic,
and
paint erly
modes of
expression.
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38
3
I
In
landscape,
as well as in flower
paint ing,
t he
subject
became
first ,
and
foremost ,
t he art ist 's in-
ner
feelings
and
second,
and less
import ant ,
t he
act ual scene set down
by
t he art ist . A
lonely
re-
cluse
living
in t he mount ains sees and
paint s
not
a real mount ain,
but t he mount ain of his mind.
Spring
Dawn over t he Elixir Terrace
by
Lu
K uang
(ca.
1300-ca.
1371) epit omizes
t his new kind of
landscape
art
(figures
25, 26).
Lu
K uang
fled his nat ive Soochow t o
escape
t he rebellions
against
t he
Mongol government
t hat broke out in
C hiang-nan
in t he lat e 1350s.
He
paint ed Spring
Dawn aft er
ret urning
t o t he
Lake T'ai
area, following
t he est ablishment of t he
Ming dynast y,
for his Taoist friend
Po-yung.
C re-
at ed t o celebrat e t heir reunion aft er
long years
of
war and
separat ion,
it
depict s
a Taoist
t emple,
at
daybreak,
nest led in a mount ain
ravine,
and is
accompanied by
Lu's
poem expressing
his feel-
ing
of
joy
and cont ent ment at
seeing
his old
friend:
For t en
years
I
wandered, homeless and
away
from
worldly ent anglement s;
Now, ret urning
home
by
t he
river,
I see
t hings
different ly
from most ot hers.
Jadelike
vapor float ing
in t he
sky,
it is
spring
but no
rain,
Elixir
rays
emit t ed from a well t urn int o clouds
at dawn.
St anding
in t he wind I lean on
my dragon
st aff,
I have
long
missed
hearing your mout h-organ
music
by moonlight .
I am
happy
t o be wit h t he venerable immort al,
and
away
from t he
milit ary st rat egist s;
We sit
looking
at
paint ings
and t alk about
lit erat ure.
Lu
K uang
has t reat ed his
paint ing
as t he "writ -
ing
of
ideas," using calligraphic
brushst rokes t o
"writ e out " his
feelings;
but t o communicat e his
t hought s
t o a
friend,
he
incorporat es
a
poem
int o
his
paint ing. Oft en,
in lat e Yuan
works,
t here is a
preface
t hat
may explain
t he reason for t he
paint -
ing.
The
poem
t hat
follows,
like t he
image,
is a
(25,26)
In
Spring
Dawn over t he Elixir
Terrace,
Lu
K uang (ca. 1300-ca. 1371)
built
up
brushst rokes in
layers
t o fuse
foreground,
middle
ground,
and far
dist ance int o a
convincing
illusion of
receding
space.
A s
expressive
as
poet ry,
Lu's animat ed
brushwork
exemplifies
a new kind of
landscape
paint ing
in which t he
subject
becomes t he art ist 's
feelings.
The
plat form
on t he
escarpment (right )
represent s
t he Elixir
Terrace,
where a Taoist
adept
might pract ice
mind and
body
cont rol t o refine his
"inner elixir. "
Hanging
scroll. Ink on
paper,
241/8 x
10 inches. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion. Pur-
chase,
The Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1982. 1982. 2. 2
39
40
lyrical expression
of what t he art ist sees and
feels, concent rat ing
more on t he essence of t he
experience
rat her t han t he det ails of t he scene.
These verbal
images provide
clues t o t he t rue
meaning
of t he art ist 's "mind
landscape. "
On t his
spring morning,
for inst ance,
Lu
K uang
saw
"jadelike vapor float ing
in t he
sky. . . .
Elixir
rays
emit t ed from a well t urn int o clouds. " The mood is
bot h cont ent and
opt imist ic.
The
imagery possibly
refers t o t he
concept
of "int ernal
alchemy"-t he
regulat ion
wit hin t he
body
of
t hought s
and
ch'i,
or
"breat h,"
t o refine one's "inner elixir"-a
concept
t hat evolved
during
Yuan t imes when t he earlier
pract ice
of
laborat ory alchemy
had
largely
died
out . Thus it
may
be said t hat Lu's
Spring
Dawn
was also an exercise in t he "int ernal
alchemy"
t hat would
bring
harmonious resolut ion t o t he
hard and rest less life of a wanderer.
If Lu's work is
compared
t o t he
t welft h-cent ury
Landscape
in t he
St yle
of Fan
K 'uan,
it can be
seen t hat t he visual st ruct ure of
landscape paint -
ing
had
changed by
lat e Yuan t imes. Lu
K uang's
calligraphic
brushwork is
very
different from t he
descript ive st yle
of t he Nort hern
Sung.
The
loosely
direct ed kinest het ic st rokes
build, layer
upon layer,
unt il t he
landscape
forms
emerge.
Yet
t hey
are not
just energized,
abst ract brush
pat -
t erns; t hey represent
an illusionist ic
t echnique
of
fused brushline and ink wash t hat
suggest s
blurred forms in
at mospheric space.
Lu
K uang's
landscape
forms are
physically
connect ed,
or-
ganic
masses. A ll t he element s of near, middle,
and far dist ance are
fused, part s
of an
int egrat ed
vision t hat ext ends
along
a
cont inuous, receding
ground plane.
Thus, despit e
t he
open disregard
for form likeness as
expressed by
such an influ-
ent ial
scholar-paint er
as Ni Tsan
(1301-74),
lat e
Yuan
landscape paint ing
shows a
fully realized,
realist ic
spat ial
st ruct ure.
Spring
C louds over a Pine St udio is anot her
example
of a lat e Yuan
scholar-paint ing
wit h a
(27,28)
Paint ed about t he same t ime as Elixir Ter-
race
(figure 25), Spring
C louds over a Pine St udio
by C hang
YO
(1333-85)
has a similar
composi-
t ion,
a
diagonally receding
st ream
connect ing
a
foreground
bank
t opped by
t all t rees t o a dist ant
t emple complex,
and bot h are concerned wit h t he
t heme of a scholar's life in reclusion. But in con-
t rast t o t he underst at ed monochrome brushwork
of Lu
K uang, C hang
YO's rich ink washes and
daubs of blue
green
manifest a more effusive sen-
sibilit y.
The
impressionist ic
ink-dot idiom and soft
ink washes
t inged
wit h color recall t he
st yle
of t he
art ist Mi Fu
(1052-1107). Hanging scroll,
dat ed'
1366. Ink and colors on
paper,
361/8 x
123/8
inches.
Gift of
Douglas Dillon,
1980. 1980. 426. 3
41
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P iY gk
realist ically receding
mount ain vist a
(figures
27-29).
It was
paint ed by C hang
Yu
(1333-85),
a
poet
who exhibit s
surprising
skills as an art ist in
t his work, his
only
known one, which is dat ed
1366,
when he was
living
in Soochow. Paint ed in
t he horizont al "Mi-dot " idiom, it
may
have been
inspired by Spring
Mount ains and Pines, now in
t he Palace
Museum, Taipei,
which is at t ribut ed t o
Mi Fu
(1052-1107),
for whom t his
t echnique
is
named. The
composit ion
of a scholar's t hat ched
st udio hidden in a
pine grove by
a st ream be-
came
popular
in lat e Yuan
paint ing
as a
symbol
of t he scholar's condit ion-a life in reclusion. The
poet 's lyrical
sent iment s are
expressed t hrough
t he subt le use of ink wash and
pale
colors and
t he
suggest ion
of
dense,
moist ure-filled clouds
dissipat ing
aft er a
spring
shower. This
landscape,
paint ed
t wo
years
before t he est ablishment of t he
Ming dynast y,
shows t he reclusive
poet
in a t ran-
quil
st at e of mind. He
accept ed
an
appoint ment
t o serve t he
Ming
court in
1371,
but in
spit e
of
his
loyal services,
he was driven t o suicide
by
t he
founder of t he
dynast y
because of his earlier
associat ion wit h a
polit ical
rival.
The C hinese
regained
cont rol from t he
Mongols
under t he
leadership
of t he first
Ming emperor,
C hu
Yuan-chang (reigned 1368-98),
a
capricious
and
vengeful
man who was
deeply suspicious
of
t he
independent
and oft en
arrogant
scholars of
t he Sout h. Some
t hirt y
t housand
persons
died as
a result of one of his
persecut ions,
and several
paint ers-aside
from t he ill-fat ed
C hang
Yu-
died in his
service, deliberat ely put
t o deat h as a
(29)
In t he fourt eent h
cent ury scholar-paint ers
preferred
t o work on
paper, which, because of
it s t ext ure and
absorbency,
offered a
responsive
medium for
energized calligraphic
brushwork
(see
figures 25, 26);
t he more conservat ive court and
professional paint ers
cont inued t o work on smoot h
nonabsorbent silk in a
descript ive
ink-wash
st yle.
Spring
C louds over a Pine
St udio, by
t he scholar-
paint er C hang
Yi, is a rare and successful ex-
ample
of t his soft
at mospheric st yle
on
paper.
This
det ail is devot ed t o a
subject popular
in lat e Yuan
paint ing,
a t hat ched hut
by
a
st ream,
symbolizing
t he scholar's villa or ret irement
cot t age.
43
. t
??
. . . ??-*
LP;-)'"iP" i,
'?r-C
*L
.
11 . 1.
i iC .
warning
t o ot hers
against
unbridled behavior.
In t his
period
of
polit ical
and cult ural rest ora-
t ion, paint ing
was valued for it s
originalit y only
when it was
present ed
in t he
guise
of t radit ion.
Dragon
Pine
by
Wu Po-li
(ca. 1400),
a Taoist
priest
of t he
Shang-ch'ing ("Upper Purit y") Temple
on
Dragon-Tiger
Mount ain,
bears an
appreciat ive
colophon by C hang
Yu-ch'u
(1361-1410),
t he
fort y-t hird pope,
himself a
dist inguished
scholar
(figures
30, 31).
More t han
just
a work
by
a cult i-
vat ed Taoist
clergyman
of t he
t ime,
Wu's
Dragon
Pine is a
paint ing
of
ext raordinary power
and ex-
pressiveness.
The int ense animat ion of t he t ree
recalls a
descript ion by
t he
t ent h-cent ury paint er
C hing
Hao of "a
gigant ic pine
t ree, it s
aged
bark
overgrown
wit h lichen,
it s
winged
scales
seeming
t o ride in t he air. In
st at ure,
it is like a
coiling
dragon t rying
t o reach t he
Milky Way. "
Wu's calli-
graphic
brushwork-a round,
cent ered st roke
ap-
plied
t o fine absorbent
paper,
wit h
just
t he
right
amount of ink
given up by
t he
t wist ing
brush-
creat es a
lively
t ext ured effect t hat
height ens
t he
t hree-dimensional
qualit y
of t he
drawing.
The
writ hing
and
surging, serpent like
t ree,
it s
many
"claws" and "whiskers"
dart ing
out and
swaying
against
t he
sky,
seems
supernat urally
alive. The
paint ing
is more t han a
symbol
of t he Taoist "per-
fect
being"
or of
Dragon-Tiger
Mount ain it self;
it is
a vit al
met aphor
of t he cosmic union of all t he Yin
and
Yang
forces-brush versus ink,
ink versus
paper,
movement versus inert ia, push
versus
pull.
A t t he
imperial
court t ast e was more conserva-
t ive,
and court
paint ers
were
encouraged
t o
ret urn t o t he
descript ive
ink-wash idiom of t he
Sout hern
Sung A cademy. Typical
of t his
genre
is
A ut umn
Landscape
wit h Herons and Ducks
by
Lu
C hi,
a
professional paint er
from
C hekiang
Prov-
ince summoned t o t he court at
Peking during
t he
Hung-chih period (1488-1505) (figures
32,
33).
In A ut umn
Landscape
LO combines mast erful
(30,31) Resembling
a
dragon
in it s whiskerlike
needles and
serpent ine t runk,
t his
majest ic pine
is
t he work of a Taoist
priest
Wu Po-li (act ive
ca. 1400). A ccording
t o Taoist
geomant ic
beliefs,
vit al
energies
collect at t he base of a mount ain
by
a st ream-t he locat ion of t his t ree. Nurt ured
by
t hese
forces,
t he
pine may symbolize
a
sage,
or
"perfect being. "
Green all
wint er,
it is also
sym-
bolic of t he virt uous man in
adversit y.
Wu's indi-
vidualist ic brushst rokes-scumbled bark t ext ure,
dragged
out line st rokes of t he
rocks,
and
sharp,
soot y
needles-add a
personal int ensit y
t o t he
paint ing. Hanging
scroll. Ink on
paper, 47/4
x
133/16 inches. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion.
Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 2
44
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46
realism of
drawing
in t he birds and
flowers,
wit h
virt uoso brushwork and ink wash in t he rocks and
t rees, creat ing
a
dashing display
of brilliant t ech-
niques.
The
brushwork, however, applied
wit h a
wet brush on
nonabsorbent ,
slick
silk,
is flat and
lacks t he int ernal t ension and
dynamism
of Wu
Po-li's
calligraphic
st rokes.
On a
comparable
work
by Lu,
now in t he Pal-
ace Museum,
Taipei,
Shen C hou
(1427-1509),
a
prominent scholar-paint er
of
Soochow,
inscribed
t he
following
remark: "Mast er Li
depict s
life wit h
his
hand,/while
t his old rust ic
cont emplat es
on
t hings
in his mind. " This
comment , cont rast ing
t he
"hand" and t he
"mind,"
a somewhat dist ort ed
view of t he old Neo-C onfucian
argument
of
objec-
t ive nat ure versus
subject ive mind, point ed up
for
t he
Ming
scholar-art ist s what
t hey
saw as t he dif-
ference bet ween t he works of t he "professional
art isans" and t hose of t he "scholar-amat eurs" and
laid t he foundat ion for t he t heoret ical
separat ion
of t he so-called Nort hern and Sout hern schools
of
paint ing
in t he lat e
Ming period.
Led
by
Shen
C hou,
t he sout hern art ist s of Soochow
sought
t o
express
t hemselves
t hrough
t he more
personal
idioms of t he
Sung
and Yuan mast ers. The anal-
ogy
bet ween
paint ing
and
calligraphy
became
complet e.
Just as
calligraphers expressed
t hem-
selves
t hrough
t he
st yles
of
past great mast ers,
Shen C hou and his followers
pract iced
t he
st yles
of
Sung
and Yuan
mast ers, simplifying
t hem int o
ident ifiable and
repeat able
brush
pat t erns,
which
became a
language
for
"writ ing
out " t heir feel-
ings. Valuing personalit y
in a work over t echnical
skill,
t he
Ming scholar-paint ers
aimed for mas-
t ery
of
performance
rat her t han for laborious
workmanship.
A lt hough
t he
Ming capit al
moved nort h t o Pe-
king
in
1421,
t he
Yangt ze
delt a
region
remained
t he
empire's
economic and cult ural cent er. The
commercial
hub,
as well as t he art ist ic
capit al
of
t he
area,
was
Soochow,
locat ed in t he Wu
region.
(32,33)
Unlike Yuan
scholar-art ist s,
who
preferred
t he absorbent
qualit ies
of
paper,
Lu C hi (act ive
ca.
1488-1505),
a court
paint er,
worked wit h rich
colors on silk in t he
descript ive
ink-wash idiom of
t he Sout hern
Sung A cademy.
His A ut umn Land-
scape
wit h Herons and Ducks is self-conscious in
it s
concept ion
and brush manner and lacks t he in-
t ensit y
of scholar-art ist works such as
Dragon
Pine
(figure 30).
LO C hi
may
have est ablished a
workshop
t o meet t he demand for his
paint ings;
t he
aut horit y
of t his
scroll, however,
is verified
by
t he
lively drawing
of t he
birds,
virt uoso brushwork
and washes of t rees and
rocks,
and in t he fine
signat ure
and seal.
Hanging
scroll. 5814 x 211/2
inches.
Dorot hy
Graham Bennet t
Fund,
1980.
1980. 414
47
?3- it ~b
N 't Y9j$?t
*
t 1
%'t -z ^ 4, .
fit
,/
'I
: + . .
Lying
near t he nort heast ern shore of Lake T'ai
and on t he Grand C anal near t he
point
where t hat
main nort h-sout h
wat erway
crosses t he
Yangt ze,
Soochow had a
t emperat e
climat e and
enjoyed
great agricult ural
and commercial
wealt h,
which
encouraged
members of t he
upper
classes t o
lavish t heir resources on cult ural and art ist ic act iv-
it ies.
Soochow,
or Wu
school, paint ers upheld
t he
ideal of scholars of moral
int egrit y, pursuing
a life
of t he art s in ret irement .
A lt hough many
carried
out t his
lifest yle
t o
exquisit e perfect ion,
ot hers
suffered
great personal hardships.
T'ang
Yin
(1470-1524)
was an
ext raordinarily
t alent ed
mid-Ming
Soochow
paint er who,
dis-
graced
as a
scholar,
was forced t o become a
professional
art ist .
Forfeit ing
all chances of an of-
ficial career aft er
being
involved in an examina-
t ion scandal in
1499, T'ang
t urned t o
selling
paint ing
and
poet ry
for his livelihood and died in
povert y.
The
brilliant ly
execut ed Moon Goddess
C h'ang
0 is a
poignant
reminder of
T'ang
Yin's
dashed dreams for success in t he official examina-
t ions-symbolized by
t he cassia branch held in
t he
goddess's
left hand
(figures
34,
35). (The
word "cassia"
[kuei]
is a
pun
on
"nobilit y" [also
pronounced kuei]). T'ang's poem,
in bold
calligra-
phy,
reads:
She was
long ago
a resident of t he Moon
Palace,
Where
phoenixes
and cranes
gat hered,
and
embroidered banners flut t ered in
heavenly
fragrance.
C h'ang 0,
in love wit h t he
gift ed scholar,
Present s him wit h t he
t opmost
branch of t he
cassia t ree.
A
frequent
visit or t o Soochow's not orious
pleasure
quart er, T'ang
Yin
may
have
paint ed
t his
glamor-
ous
figure-a port rait perhaps-for
a
favorit e,
whom he
regarded
as a
goddess
condemned t o
mort al
sufferings.
(34,35)
The
flat ,
oval face and
elegant flut t ering
drapery
folds of Moon Goddess
C h'ang O, by
T'ang
Yin
(1470-1524),
reflect t he
Ming emphasis
on beaut iful
calligraphic
line rat her t han t hree-
dimensional form.
Hanging
scroll. Ink and colors
on
paper,
5314 x 23 inches. Gift of
Douglas Dillon,
1981. 1981. 4. 2
49
Pict orially, T'ang's
Moon Goddess derives from
t he C hou Wen-chO t radit ion of
palace ladies,
as
seen in In t he Palace. This
palace lady, fully
made
up
wit h a
powdered
face, rouged lips, finely pen-
ciled
eyebrows,
and
lacquered coiffure,
and
gor-
geously
dressed and
decorat ed,
is a
symbol
of
t he
frailt y
and t ransience of human exist ence. It
seems inevit able t hat
T'ang
Yin would
compare
his own
dest royed
career wit h t hat of t he t ent h-
cent ury poet -emperor
Li
YO, who, losing
his
t hrone,
t old of
"shedding
t ears before
[his] palace
ladies. "
St ruct urally, T'ang
Yin's
figure
is visualized in flat
lines,
t wo-dimensional
shapes,
and surface move-
ment s.
C ompared
t o faces in t he
t welft h-cent ury
copy
of C hou Wen-chu's
palace ladies, C h'ang
O's is an animat ed
mask,
wit h
graceful
and ex-
pressive drawing
on a flat surface and wit h a
smoot h, egglike
facial
cont our, indicat ing
no flesh
and bone behind it . The
elegant drapery
folds
rip-
ple
and flut t er in dreamlike
perfect ion, yet
t he
fig-
ure is
absolut ely
flat and
weight less. A lt hough
t o-
day
we admire
T'ang
Yin also as a fine
landscape
paint er, popular
acclaim
during
his lifet ime was
based on such
figure paint ings
as
C h'ang
0.
Ot her Wu
paint ers, adamant ly refusing
t o sell
t heir works for
gain,
were forced t o be cont ent
wit h a
penurious
exist ence,
oft en when
living
in
remot e mount ain areas.
Some,
such as Lu C hih
(1496-1576),
nevert heless execut ed
paint ings
t o
bart er for small favors. Lu's
Plant ing C hrysant he-
mums was
present ed
t o his friend T'ao in ex-
change
for some rare
chrysant hemum cut t ings
(figures
36,
37).
Lu cult ivat ed flowers at his home
below
C hih-hsing
Mount ain,
on t he shore of Lake
T'ai,
t o which he had ret ired in t he
early
1550s.
He evokes t he
beaut y
of aut umn in his
poem
in-
scribed on t he
paint ing:
(36,37)
A
superb
colorist ,
Lu C hih
(1496-1576)
capt ures
t he luminous
clarit y
of aut umn in
Plant ing
C hrysant hemums. C ombining
rest rained eart hen
hues and monochrome ink t ones in his
loosely
brushed cont our
lines,
Lu creat es a mesh of color
t hat allows t he
paper
t o show
t hrough,
t hus incor-
porat ing
it int o t he
very
fabric of t he mount ains.
Rising
in t he t all narrow
format ,
t he
peaks appear
almost
t ransparent , creat ing
a
dreamy landscape
in
keeping
wit h t he art ist 's own
simple,
shelt ered
lifest yle.
A t t he
right
a scholar wat ches a
boy
t ending chrysant hemums,
while a
gent leman
and
servant
carrying
flowers
approach
t he
gat e. Hang-
ing
scroll. Ink and colors on
paper,
42 x 103/4
inches. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion. Lent
by
Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 5
50
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51
52
I hear
you
have
opened up
a T'ao
pat h
near
t he ocean,
Where clouds of leaves and frost -covered
blossoms vie in wondrous
splendor.
I t oo have built a new residence at
C hih-hsing
Mount ain;
May
I share some of
your
aut umn colors
along my
east ern
hedge?
The first t wo lines allude t o t he well-known
st ory
"Peach Blossom
Spring" by
T'ao's illust rious
namesake T'ao C h'ien
(365-427),
who t old of a
fisherman
st umbling upon
a hidden
ut opia
redo-
lent wit h
blossoming peach t rees;
in t he last t wo
lines,
t he
paint er suggest s
t hat he has
planned
his own
ut opian
ret reat and refers t o t he
growing
of
chrysant hemums,
a
passion
he shared wit h
T'ao C h'ien. A wash in soft
colors,
t he
cryst alline
mount ains
rising
from mist in Lu's
paint ing
evoke
perfect ly
t he dreamlike Peach Blossom
Spring,
a
hermit 's
paradise.
St ruct urally, alt hough
t he Yuan
paint ers
were
concerned wit h t he
problems
of
creat ing dept h
and recession and t he t reat ment of forms in
space,
t he
Ming paint ers t urned,
more and
more,
t o
problems
of surface abst ract ion
t hrough
sur-
face
pat t ern
and
st ylizat ion. C ompared
t o Lu
K uang's solidly
built mount ain
forms,
which move
magist erially
in
space,
bot h Lu C hi's and Lu
C hih's mount ains look
paper-t hin,
and
t hey
are
consciously
cut and framed
by
t he
pict ure
bor-
ders in an
increasingly
at t enuat ed format . Lu
C hih's et hereal
mount ainscape,
wit h
peaks super-
imposed along
it s
narrow,
vert ical
pict ure plane,
seems t o exist in it s own t ime and
space.
Like fis-
sures in a
moonscape
or crackles in
glass,
t he
abst ract brushst rokes are
beaut ifully
held
t oget her
by
t heir own t ension and
apparent ly
seamless
int ernal st ruct ure.
In cont rast t o Lu C hih's ascet ic
exist ence,
some
Wu
paint ers
led t he rich and cult ivat ed life of a
gent leman-scholar
of means. Born t o a
wealt hy
fam-
ily,
C h'en Shun
(1483-1544)
was free t o
pursue
t he
(38,39)
In Summer Garden C h'en Shun
(1483-
1544)
uses bold brushst rokes and vibrant color t o
suggest
a
refreshing
oasis in t he midst of
sult ry
summer weat her. Various st rokes describe
spiky t wigs,
waxen
magnolia pet als,
or t issue-t hin
pomegranat e
blossoms.
Foliage
is
swift ly
ren-
dered wit h black veins over daubs of blue
wash,
yet
each leaf clust er
springs nat urally
from t he
branches. The
vit alit y
of C h'en's brushwork is
readily apparent
in t he det ail of t he lower left cor-
ner. The seals are t hose of t wo collect ors.
Hang-
ing
scroll. Ink and colors on
paper, 126/8
x 391/4
inches. Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 17
53
life of a
scholar-art ist , frequent ly finding inspirat ion
at his
garden
est at e near
Soochow,
where he ent er-
t ained his friends and
paint ed
for t hem while he
was int oxicat ed. Summer Garden is of a
grand
scale
(more
t han 10 feet
high), appropriat e
for a
large pavilion
or
recept ion
hall in a
sumpt uous gar-
den,
and shows a
profusion
of lot us blossoms and
ot her
blossoming
t rees
growing
near a t all Lake T'ai
rock,
a feat ure of most Soochow
gardens (figures
38, 39).
A
superb
st ill life execut ed in bold calli-
graphic brushwork,
C h'en's
paint ing
shows flowers
brilliant wit h color and
very
lifelike. On it t he art ist
has writ t en a
poem:
In
st eamy
summer t he
days
are
unbearably
long,
Wit h a linen kerchief and a
palm-leaf fan,
I
mount
my
rat t an
couch;
When t he flowers' shadows meet wit h a cool
breeze from t he
wat er,
Where else would
you
find such a
heavenly
Whit e Jade Hall?
By
t he lat e
Ming period,
t oward t he end of t he
sixt eent h
cent ury,
Wu school
paint ings began
t o
show
signs
of
fat igue.
Scat t ered burst s of new
creat ive
energy appeared
in lat e
Ming
works t hat
experiment ed
in new
forms,
oft en
glorying
in
eccent ricit y.
Wu Pin
(act ive ca.
1583-1626),
who
54
began paint ing
in his nat ive Fukien
Province,
lat er moved t o
Nanking,
where he served as a
court -appoint ed paint er specializing
in land-
scapes
and Buddhist
subject s.
A
lifelong
devot ee
of
Buddhism, Wu,
in
Nanking, joined
an order
of unt onsured monks affiliat ed wit h t he C h'an
Buddhist C h'i-hsia
Temple.
In The Sixt een Lohans
(in Sanskrit , arhat s,
or
"saint s"),
dat ed 1591 and
one of Wu Pin's earliest ext ant
works,
he uses an
eccent ric archaism t hat was t o influence
many
lat e
Ming figure paint ers
and wood-block art ist s
(figures
40-42).
In C hinese
popular lit erat ure,
mendicant
monks, conjurers,
and even
myst erious beggars
oft en t urned out t o be
disguised "living lohans,"
or
Buddhist
holy men, capable
of
magic
and
miracles;
and when
government corrupt ion
and
inept it ude
imperiled
social
order,
as it did in lat e
Ming t imes,
superst it ious
messianic beliefs became more wide-
spread.
The t heat rical nat ure of Wu Pin's lohan
figures
also
suggest s
t hat he
may
have been
inspired by popular religious
dramas or fest ival
performances. C ombining
an "iron-wire" out line
t echnique
wit h brilliant
colors,
Wu
port rays
t hese
weird and
deliberat ely repulsive figures
as
myst eri-
ous
messengers
from anot her world.
Reveling
in
eccent ricit y
and at t ent ive t o it s own inner voice,
t he art of Wu Pin
represent s
a fin-de-siecle
_. g
Q
'', . 4i? ' . . .
rebellion in
paint ing st yle.
St riking
out
against
what he called "sweet " and
"vulgar"
t endencies in lat e
Ming paint ing,
t he
great
t heorist and
paint er Tung C h'i-ch'ang (1555-1636)
prescribed
as a cure a ret urn t o t he basic t enet s of
t he
scholar-paint ers,
art ist s
following
ancient models
and
applying
t he
principle
of
calligraphy
t o
paint ing.
In
defining
an
ancient ,
"ort hodox"
herit age
in land-
scape paint ing, Tung proposed
t he creat ion of a
"Great
Synt hesis" (Ta-ch'eng)
of
Sung
and Yuan
st yles,
t o be
pract iced
as
complement ary
calli-
graphic
brush idioms. The chief desiderat um in
landscape paint ing, according
t o
Tung,
was brush-
work rat her t han
represent at ion:
"If one considers
t he wonders of brush and
ink,
t rue
landscape
can
never
equal paint ing. "
In an
album,
Eight Landscapes,
dat ed
1630,
Tung
demonst rat es how he
int erpret s-"imit at es"
or
"reproduces,"
as he
says-t he
whole
spect rum
of
Sung
and Yuan
st yles
in a set of
cont rast ing
brushst roke
met hods,
which can also be used for
depict ing
act ual
landscape (figures 43, 44). Tung
t ook as his
point
of
depart ure
t he works of t he
Yuan mast er Ni
Tsan,
whose
paint ings
were con-
venient ly regarded
as
calligraphic
abst ract ions of
earlier
Sung st yles.
In t he first t wo
leaves,
he
shows-in what he
regards
as t he
early
and lat e
st yles
of Ni Tsan's art -an "eart hen"
landscape
wit h
round, parallel ("hemp-fiber")
brushst rokes,
(40, 41)
Wu Pin
(act ive
about
1583-1626)
devel-
oped
a dist inct ive
"primit ive" st yle t hrough
t he
eccent ric archaism of his
figure drawing.
He
specialized
in
depict ions
of
lohans,
ancient In-
dian
holy
men
who,
t he C hinese
believe,
have re-
mained in t he world t o
guard
t he Buddhist Law
and
prot ect
t he fait hful. In The Sixt een
Lohans,
an
early
work dat ed
1591,
Wu Pin has
already
achieved a
highly personal st yle.
His
figures,
rhyt hmically arrayed against
a blank
background
in t he classical
manner,
are convent ional in t heir
st rong out lines,
but Wu has t ransformed t hem
int o
whimsical, iconoclast ic,
and even
grot esque
images
int ended bot h t o shock and t o amuse.
The lohans are shown
according
t o a Buddhist
script ure,
Fa-chu-chi
(Record
on t he Durat ion of
t he
Law), living
in t heir mount ain abode and at -
t ended
by
t heir
disciples
while
await ing
t he ad-
vent of t he Fut ure
Buddha, Mait reya.
Det ails of
handscroll. Ink and colors on
paper,
123/4 x 163/8
inches overall. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion.
Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 15. 6
55
p
M
a
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56
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C \
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c
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i . i
(42)
Tradit ional lohan
images
evolved from t wo basic
t ypes:
seat ed, represent ing
t he con-
t emplat ive aspect
of
saint ly
life;
and
st anding,
or
walking,
represent ing
t he act ive as-
pect .
Seat ed
figures
include
t he ancient
image
of an as-
cet ic
medit at ing
in a cave or
under a t ree
(figure 40),
as
well as t he lat er
"pat riarch
port rait "
of a
holy
man "en-
t hroned,"
seat ed in a chair.
St anding images
show t he
lohans as mendicant monks
t raveling
or
performing
miracu-
lous deeds. In t his det ail of
Wu Pin's The Sixt een
Lohans,
t he
figure riding
on wheels
over t he
river,
followed
by
an
at t endant ,
derives from t he
legend
of
Bodhidharma,
t he
first C h'an
pat riarch
t o come
t o
C hina, crossing
t he
Yangt ze
River on a reed. The humor-
ous at t it udes suggest
t he influ-
ence of
popular
t heat er.
57
. '" I
cont rast ed wit h a
"rocky" landscape
wit h
angular,
oblique ("folded-ribbon")
brushst rokes. Then, pro-
ceeding
wit h t he round
met hod,
he recreat es t he
st yles
of t he lat e
t ent h-cent ury
sout hern mast ers
Tung
Yuan and
C hu-jan,
and wit h t he
angular
met hod,
t he
st yles
of t he
early t ent h-cent ury
nort h-
ern mast ers
C hing
Hao and K uan
T'ung.
In t he
remaining
t wo
leaves,
he combines t he round and
angular t echniques
t o creat e scenic
composit ions.
On one of
t hem, C himney
Smoke
Mingled
wit h
Evening
Mist , paint ed most ly
in Ni Tsan's
"rocky"
st yle,
he wrot e t he
following poem (figure 44):
C himney
smoke
mingled
wit h
evening mist ,
Hidden in t he dist ance is a
pavilion
under
pine t rees;
In t he
pavilion
is a
quiet
recluse,
In solit ude he recit es t he Vimalakirt i Sut ra.
The
composit ion
shows neit her
chimney smoke,
nor
mist ,
nor a man in a
pavilion. Only
t he
begin-
ning
of a mount ain
pat h
beckons t o t he viewer t o
search for what is "hidden in t he dist ance. " Thus
t he
paint ing
and t he
poem
ext end each ot her-
wit h t he
paint ing providing
a visual
set t ing
for t he
poet ic image,
and t he
poem helping
t o fill out t he
image
in t he viewer's mind.
Furt hermore,
Ni Tsan's
dist inct ive brush idiom of
sparse
t rees and
angu-
lar rocks
brings
t o mind t he
lonely "pavilion
under
t he
pine t rees,"
his favorit e
composit ional
mot if.
In a
colophon
dat ed
1630,
writ t en
opposit e
t he
last
paint ing
of t he
album, Tung
remarks t hat he
has
paint ed
for
fift y-t wo years
and t hat he has not
been able t o est ablish his own dist inct ive
st yle.
A lt hough
t his comment reveals a
poignant
t rut h
about
Tung's paint ing,
it in no
way
diminishes his
t remendous cont ribut ion t o lat er C hinese art . It
was
Tung's genius
t o
bring paint ing
out of
st ag-
nant , lat e
Ming
decorat ive convent ions and back
t o basic
principles upon
which it could rebuild in
order t o ext end it s
pot ent ial. During
t he second
half of t he sevent eent h
cent ury,
when
paint ing
once more
displayed vast ly expanded
aest het ic
horizons,
not a
single paint er
of
any import ance,
regardless
of his affiliat ion and
inspirat ion,
es-
caped
indebt edness t o t he
t eachings
of
Tung
C h'i-ch'ang.
In
1644,
t he
Manchus,
a t ribal
people
on t he
nort heast ern front ier of t he
Ming empire, capt ured
Peking,
overt hrew t he
Ming
and est ablished t he
C h'ing dynast y,
which last ed unt il t he
founding
of
t he C hinese
Republic
in 1911. Under t he
K 'ang-
hsi
emperor
(reigned 1662-1722),
t he
early
C h'ing
world was one of reconst ruct ion aft er lat e
Ming fragment at ion.
Ort hodox
paint ers
aimed t o
recapt ure
t he former
glories
of t radit ional
paint ing
by st udying
and
copying
ancient models.
By
in-
fusing
old convent ions wit h renewed
energy,
paint ers at t empt ed
t o achieve a t rue
correspon-
dence
(ho)
t o ancient models. On t he ot her
hand,
some art ist s scorned t he new ort hodox conserva-
t ism. The so-called individualist mast ers oft en
paint ed
in a
free,
emot ion-filled
calligraphic
man-
ner. Because of t heir
loyalt y
t o t he fallen
Ming
dynast y, t hey expressed
a
st rong
sense of dislo-
cat ion and alienat ion in t heir works.
A voiding
t he
rat ionalism and
met hodology
of t he ort hodox
paint ers,
t he individualist s
preferred
t o derive
(43,44) Tung C h'i-ch'ang (1555-1636),
t he most
import ant
t heorist of his
day, sought
t o redirect
paint ing
from lat e
Ming
decorat ive convent ions
t hrough
t he revival of ancient models. In his al-
bum
Eight Landscapes,
dat ed
1630, Tung
reint er-
pret ed
select ed
Sung
and Yuan
st yles, using
t he
works of t he Yuan mast er Ni Tsan
(1301-74)
as
his
primary
reference. In Leaf One
(above) Tung
echoes Ni Tsan's
soft ,
or
"eart hen," st yle,
wit h it s
rounded, parallel
brushst rokes. In Leaf Seven
(right )
he combines t he mast er's soft and
"rocky"
st yles, using most ly angular, oblique
brushst rokes.
Ink on
paper,
each leaf 95/ x 65/16 inches. Edward
Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion. Lent
by Douglas
Dillon.
L. 1981. 15. 7
58
1A
lff
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t heir art
direct ly
from nat ure and t o
express
it
t hrough
more
personal
art ist ic means.
Bot h
approaches
in
paint ing
had been ant ici-
pat ed by Tung C h'i-ch'ang,
who believed t hat a
scholar must "read t en t housand books and t ravel
t en t housand miles. "
Tung
wrot e: "A
paint er
must
imit at e ancient mast ers. . . .
A dvancing
one more
st ep,
he must
adopt
nat ure as his t eacher. . . . The
t ransmission of t he
spirit depends
on t he form.
When t here is t ot al accord bet ween t he form,
t he
heart ,
and t he
hand,
each
forget t ing
t he ot her's
separat e
exist ence,
and when t he
spirit
is
lodged
in a
paint ing,
t here will be
not hing
t hat does not
look well in a
paint ing!"
The 1650s
t hrough
t he 1670s saw t he
burgeon-
ing
of art ist ic t alent s.
Many
men who would have
ot herwise st udied for t he
imperial
examinat ions
and ent ered
government
service saw t heir educa-
t ional careers
disrupt ed by
t he fall of t he
Ming
dynast y.
Three of t he six
great
ort hodox mast ers,
Wang
Hui
(1632-1717),
Wu Li
(1632-1718),
and
Yun
Shou-p'ing (1633-90),
lacked
degrees.
Beginning
in t he 1650s,
a remarkable
group
of
young
art ist s, among
t hem
Wang
Hui and Wu
Li,
gat hered
around t he venerable ort hodox
paint er
Wang
Shih-min
(1592-1680)
in
T'ai-t s'ang,
K iangsu
Province. A
grandson
of a former
Ming
prime
minist er, Wang
Shih-min had been t ut ored
in his
yout h by Tung C h'i-ch'ang,
who had also
helped
him t o form a wonderful collect ion of
Sung
and Yuan
paint ings. Twent y-four
of t hese mast er-
pieces
were recorded in reduced
copies
in an
album
appropriat ely
ent it led Wit hin Small See
Large (Hsiao-chung hsien-t a),
which is now in t he
Palace Museum, Taipei.
This album was a
prime
source of
Sung
and Yuan models
during
t he
1670s and 1680s-for
Wang
Hui, Wu
Li,
and
ot hers
lucky enough
t o have access t o it .
In a small
hanging
scroll, probably
done in t he
1670s,
Wu Li
carefully copied
one of
Wang
Shih-min's small album
pict ures,
Travelers
A mong
St reams and Mount ains,
aft er
Wang Meng (ca.
1308-85),
a lat e Yuan mast er
(figures 45-47).
A ccording
t o
Tung C h'i-ch'ang's inscript ion
on t he
paint ing, Wang Meng's composit ion
was,
in t urn,
based on a work
by
t he
t ent h-cent ury paint er
Tung
Yuan. Therefore,
in order t o imit at e
Wang
Meng successfully,
Wu Li had t o st rive t o recreat e
Tung
Yuan. Such a commit ment on t he
part
of an
art ist t o a t ot al
mast ery
of his art ist ic
herit age
was
t ypical
of t he ort hodox mast ers,
who were con-
vinced of t he
unit y
and t imelessness of t he
Tao,
or
"Way,"
of
paint ing.
A s if
reinforcing
t he
st rengt h
of his commit ment t o t he
past ,
Wu Li's rival
Wang
Hui devised a seal, used on a number of his
paint ings,
which reads: "I t ravel
up
and down
from t he
past
t o t he
present . "
Wu Li himself wrot e: "To
paint
wit hout
Sung
and
Yuan
st yles
as a foundat ion is like
playing
chess
wit hout chess
pieces. Facing
t he
empt y board,
where does one
begin?"
The chess
pieces,
for
t he
C h'ing paint ers,
are t he
recognized
brush for-
mulas. For
inst ance, Wang Meng
is said t o have
followed
Tung
Yuan's
"hemp-fiber"
t ext ure
met hod;
but he added t o it a cont rolled
energy,
shown
by
round, dense, curling
brushst rokes and
by st ip-
pled
t ext ure dot s. In a
paint ing by
Wu Li in
Wang
Meng's st yle, t herefore,
t he basic
pict orial
vocab-
ulary
is t he t ext ure
pat t ern
of
dense, curling
brushst rokes and
st ippled
dot s. In
calligraphic
paint ing,
as in
calligraphy, alt hough every
form is
built
up
of a
recognized
set of
brushst rokes,
t he
execut ion of t hese forms
is,
each
t ime,
a new and
unique personal performance.
Even
t hough
Wu
Li's Travelers
A mong
St reams and Mount ains fol-
lows
closely
a
given composit ion,
t he brushwork
grows
on
paper,
st roke aft er st roke,
wit h t he "mo-
ment um" and "force"
(shih)
of each form
building
up
and
being
carried int o t he next in one cont inu-
ous "breat h"
(ch'i). Throughout
t he
performance,
t here is cont inuous int eract ion bet ween t he brush,
t he
ink,
t he
paper,
and t he observed
form,
wit h
t he
paint er const ant ly responding
and
adjust ing
t o
each
newly
realized brushst roke.
In such a
work,
we
experience
t he force of t he
paint er's
convict ion and his exalt at ion before his
model. A s t he model comes int o his conscious-
ness, t he
paint er
creat es a
pict ure
t hat is more
t han a
copy
or a
landscape:
it is a
composit ion
t hat "breat hes" wit h "life"
(sheng)
and "mot ion"
(t ung).
"True
landscape
can never
equal paint -
ing,"
as
Tung C h'i-ch'ang
wrot e.
What
Tung bequeat hed
t o
paint ing
was a
syst em-
at ized
calligraphic
formula t ransformed int o a
(45)
In t his det ail of Travelers
A mong
St reams and
Mount ains
by
Wu Li
(1632-1718),
a mount ain
inn,
of
buildings
and
court yards,
serves as a
rest ing
place
for
weary
men and animals. The st ruct ures
on
pilings, upst ream, permit
a fine view of t he
wat er. A det ail such as t his allows us t o savor
every
brushst roke. Each line is
dist inct ive, yet
so
nat urally int egrat ed
int o t he whole t hat Wu Li's
paint ing
is read as a
complex
fabric of different
pat t erns
and ink t ones. The
silvery, dry-ink
t ext ure
st rokes,
set off
by soot y
black dot s,
vibrat e wit h a
gent le, rhyt hmic energy
t hat is t he art ist 's hallmark
(see
also
figures
46, 47).
60
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e : F t ;> :t t f
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62
pict orial language,
which enabled t he
early C h'ing
mast ers t o creat e a new
pict orial
st ruct ure. Rat her
t han
describing t hree-dimensionally
conceived
mount ain forms
placed firmly
in
receding spat ial
planes,
as in an
original
Yuan
landscape,
Wu's
shows a
dynamic
orchest rat ion of lines and forms
in abst ract
space.
Individual brushst rokes are now
t he sole
conveyors
of life and
energy; t hey grow
and
expand cont inuously
unt il t he whole forms a
great flowing pat t ern
of
undulat ing movement s,
which
Wang
Hui called t he
"dragon
vein"
(lung-
mo).
In addit ion t o
superb brushwork, Wu Li dem-
onst rat es a
genius
for
using ink; wit hin different
grades
of
gray,
he creat es a
luminous,
at mo-
spheric qualit y
for his
landscape.
Wang
Hui
spent years
as a
guest
and ret ainer
in
Wang
Shih-min's
household, paint ing
and
copy-
ing
ancient works of art . In t he 1660s and
1670s,
he mast ered t he
calligraphic
idioms of t he lat e
Yuan
art ist s, summing up
his
approach
t o
paint ing
as follows: "I must use t he brush and ink of t he
Yuan t o move t he
peaks
and
valleys
of t he
Sung.
. . . I will t hen have a work of t he Great
Synt hesis. "
In t he 1680s he became
increasingly
int erest ed in
recreat ing
t he monument al
landscape st yle
of t he
Nort hern
Sung.
In The
K 'ang-hsi Emperor's
Sout h-
ern
Inspect ion Tour, Wang
Hui
successfully ap-
plies
his monument al
st yle
t o t he
occasion,
which
was one of t he
proudest
moment s of t he
C h'ing
empire (figures 48-50).
A ft er
years
of unrest
caused
by
t he
dangerous
Rebellion of t he Three
Feudat ories in t he sout hern
provinces,
t he
count ry
was at
peace.
Taxes were
lowered, wat erways
were under
const ruct ion,
and
people
felt
prosper-
ous and secure. To consolidat e Manchu
rule,
t he
(46,47)
Wu Li
proved
one could t ransform ancient
brush idioms int o a new and
personal st yle.
Fol-
lowing
a small sket ch
by Wang
Shih-min
(1592-1680),
which
preserves,
in
t urn,
a four-
t eent h-cent ury composit ion by Wang Meng (ca.
1308-85),
Wu Li's Travelers
A mong
St reams and
Mount ains evokes t he
spirit
of t he earlier mast er's
st yle
wit hout
at t empt ing
t o
reproduce
it . Each
rock, t ree,
and
building
has been recreat ed
t hrough
Wu Li's kinest het ic
brushst rokes,
which
pile up
and coalesce int o a vibrant
flowing pat t ern
of
undulat ing landscape
forms.
Hanging
scroll. Ink
on
paper,
2312 x 1011/16 inches. Edward Elliot t
Family
C ollect ion.
Purchase,
The Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1981. 1981. 285. 6
63
K 'ang-hsi emperor
made six
grand
t ours of t he
Sout h. A ft er his second
journey
in 1689,
Wang
Hui, t hen t he most celebrat ed
paint er
in t he
Sout h,
was summoned t o court t o
supervise
t he creat ion
of t he Sout hern
Inspect ion Tour,
a series of t welve
handscrolls
recording
t he event . A s head of t he
project , Wang
Hui
designed
t he
series, breaking
down t he
journey
int o t welve
major episodes;
he
paint ed
most of t he
landscape himself,
but left t he
figures,
archit ect ural
drawings,
and more rout ine
work t o his assist ant s.
The Museum's
scroll,
t he t hird in t he
set ,
shows
t he rout e of t he
emperor
and his
ent ourage
from
t he
cit y
of C hi-nan t o Mount
T'ai,
in
Shant ung
Province,
a dist ance of about
t hirt y miles,
which
t he
part y
covered on
February
5 and
6,
1689.
A long
t he
lengt h
of t he
scroll,
which is more t han
fort y-five feet , soldiers, port ers,
and officials in t he
advance
part y
wend t heir
way
on horseback and
on foot
t hrough
t he
count ryside, up winding
mount ain
pat hs,
and
t hrough peaceful villages
on
t he rout e t o Mount T'ai-t he "C osmic Peak of t he
East "-where t he
K 'ang-hsi emperor
was t o con-
duct a
heaven-worshiping ceremony. People
t urn
out in masses t o
greet
t he
imperial procession
as
it
passes
in a blaze of
splendor
and mart ial
pag-
eant ry.
A s t he advance
part y
makes
preparat ions
at t he foot of t he mount ain,
t he
mult iple peaks
rise
t o a
joyous
crescendo: heaven seems t o smile
upon
t he Manchu Son of Heaven.
Ironically,
t his
magnificent
achievement of
Wang
Hui's
proved
det riment al t o his
reput at ion
in t he
eyes
of bot h his
cont emporaries
and lat er art
hist orians. For t he
lat t er,
t his
great imperial
commission of t he 1690s marked t he end of a
prodigiously
successful career: t hese
imposing
narrat ive scrolls
belonged
t o t he realm of
(48)
The
K 'ang-hsi Emperor's
Sout hern
Inspect ion
Tour was commissioned
by
t he
emperor (reigned
1662-1722)
in 1691 t o commemorat e his
sevent y-
one-day journey
from
Peking
t o
Soochow,
Hangchow, Nanking,
and ret urn. Execut ed under
t he
supervision
of
Wang
Hui
(1632-1717),
t he
project
t ook t hree
years
t o
complet e. Wang
Hui
laid out t he
composit ion
on t welve oversized
handscrolls and
paint ed
t he
landscapes;
his di-
sciples paint ed
t he
animals, figures,
and build-
ings.
The
Met ropolit an's scroll,
t he t hird in t he
set ,
records t he
journey t hrough Shant ung Province,
culminat ing
in t he arrival at Mount T'ai
(figures 48,
50).
Det ail of handscroll. Ink and colors on
silk,
2611/16 inches x 45 feet 81/2 inches overall. Pur-
chase,
The Dillon Fund
Gift ,
1979. 1979. 5
64
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public
art rat her t han t o t hat of creat ive self-
expression.
A s for
Wang's cont emporaries, many
of t hem
living
bleak lives as "left over cit izens" of
t he fallen
Ming dynast y, t hey
did not share his of-
ficial exuberance in
celebrat ing
t he new
dynast y.
Tao-chi
(1642-1707),
born C hu
Jo-chi,
a
scion of t he
Ming imperial family, escaped
deat h
in his
yout h by t aking refuge
in t he Buddhist
priest hood.
In 1662 he became a
disciple
of a
powerful
C h'an
mast er,
LO-an
Pen-yueh.
In t he
lat e 1660s and
1670s,
while he was in seclusion
in
t emples
around
Hsuan-ch'eng,
near t he
Yangt ze Valley,
A nhwei
Province,
he t rained him-
self t o
paint .
In his earliest
major
ext ant
work,
a
large
handscroll ent it led The Sixt een
Lohans,
dat ed
1667,
t he
young paint er,
t hen
t went y-six,
has drawn
possibly
t he most effect ive
figures
since t he Yuan
period (figures 1, 51-53).
Unlike
Wu Pin's lohans
(figures 40-42),
which
by
com-
parison
seem t o be
merely grot esque caricat ures,
Tao-chi's are
carefully observed, showing
such
t horoughly
human
qualit ies
as humor and curios-
it y.
This is a rare
religious subject
for
Tao-chi,
known for his brilliant
visionary landscapes.
Icon-
ographically,
it is based on t radit ional lohan com-
posit ions, inspired by writ ings
in t he Fa-chu-chi
(Record
on t he Durat ion of t he
Law),
in which six-
t een
guardian
lohans were ordered
by
t he Buddha
t o live in t he mount ains t o wait for t he
coming
of
(49,50)
The earliest visit
by
a C hinese
emperor
t o
Mount T'ai was made
by
t he First
Emperor
of
C h'in
(reigned
221-210
B. C . ),
who
report edly
marked t he event
by plant ing
a
group
of
pines
near t he summit .
Thereaft er,
on several
polit ically
sensit ive
occasions,
C hinese rulers ascended t he
sacred
peak
t o
perform
rit uals
giving
t hanks t o
heaven for
peace
and
prosperit y.
In
figures
48
and
50, dignit aries
of t he
cit y
of
T'ai-an,
at
t he foot of t he
mount ain,
are
gat hered
around
an alt ar
anxiously await ing
t he arrival of t he
K 'ang-hsi emperor.
On t he
morning
of
February
6, 1689,
t he
emperor
and his
part y
were carried
in sedan chairs t o t he summit . To
depict
t he he-
roic mount ain
scenery (overleaf) Wang
Hui used
t he
st yle
of Fan K 'uan
(see figure 4);
t he min-
ut ely
drawn
figures, paint ed
wit h t he best azurit e
blue available t o
only
t he
imperial workshop,
were done
by
his assist ant
Shang-kuan
C hou
(1664-1743).
69
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Mait reya,
t he Fut ure Buddha. In t his scroll four lo-
hans receive t he
present
of a rare
pup
from t wo
"mount ain
men,"
t hree lohans read
sut ras,
one is
seat ed and
accompanied by
a
t iger,
four
play
wit h a
dragon,
t wo walk wit h a
myt hological
ani-
mal called a
ch'i-lin,
and t wo are seat ed in chairs.
St ylist ically,
t he immediat e sources of Tao-chi's
fig-
ures and
landscapes
are lat e
Ming paint ers,
such
as Wu Pin. In a
colophon
at t he end of t he hand-
scroll,
Mei
C h'ing (1623-97),
a close friend of
Tao-chi's,
comment s t hat Li
K ung-lin
was t he ult i-
mat e model of t he
"plain-drawing" st yle,
but t hat
he himself had never seen an
original
work
by
Li.
Neit her, apparent ly,
had Tao-chi. Inst ead of t he
t ypical
lat e
Ming
flat "iron-wire"
drawings
and ab-
st ract surface
pat t erns,
however,
Tao-chi's ener-
get ic calligraphic
brushwork enlivens his forms
wit h
palpable
"breat h" and moment um. But t he
faces of Tao-chi's lohans are
merely formulas;
when
compared
wit h t hose
by Wang C hen-p'eng
70
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in his Vimalakirt i
(figures 17-19), t hey
lack a
sense of bone st ruct ure and
solidit y.
Yet Tao-chi is
able t o make his faces seem human and individ-
ual. In t wo
cases,
a
large
mole seen
t hrough
t he
hair adds a t ouch of realism t o his
port rayal.
(51) C omplet ed
in 1667 when Tao-chi
(1642-1707)
was
only t went y-six,
The Sixt een
Lohans
juxt aposes finely
drawn
figures
wit h a
boldly
conceived
landscape
of
spidery
t rees and
. /
massive rock
out croppings. Referring
t o himself
in his
inscript ion
as t he
spirit ual
"son" and
"grandson"
of t wo eminent Buddhist
mast ers,
Tao-chi
displays
t he
discipline
and drive of a t rue
devot ee in t his
paint ing,
which t ook a
year
t o
complet e.
In t his sect ion of t he
nearly t went y-
foot -long handscroll,
t he
"dragon-t amer"
lohan re-
leases a
dragon
from a vial while t hree ot her lo-
hans look on. Ink on
paper,
18V2 x 236 inches
overall. Lent
by Douglas
Dillon. L. 1981. 164
71
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(52)
Tao-chi's brushst rokes
.
show an
ext raordinary delicacy
'
.
.
??
* and sensit ivit y t o realist ic de-
. . ;
t ail. Each hair, whisker, and
V*"~ . . . . . ~ o x ji W-' MEN y j. e - -eyelash appears
t o
grow
nat u-
rally, alt hough
oft en t he brush
barely grazes
t he
paper.
The
'~
'. . . . .
''-
,?,,
. ,
F.
:
dry,
t ext ured cont ours of t he
-'X:
; 't rocks and
spright ly
st rokes of
.
,,,~; g t ' * ?";<'- . . . . . ;;. ?
:; Sgrass
are
equally appropriat e
. . . . .
-*,t , ,;:,i t . . . .
t o t he
grit t y
or smoot h surfaces
'' PI*
',
'
m , : t hey
describe.
Here,
t he in-
,:
. '",=~-:? t ense concent rat ion of t he lo-
*-. :' t "'~"'::, ^:t X > '; ,~:,: han and his
mount ain-sprit e
: ,:,"'. . . ,~~ ~;il~ ~~:::~ ,,t ~
-
~ ,companion
is
given
a
spirit ual
. . . . . . ':;*
. . . . . . . ~~~~~~~~~qualit y
by
t he
radiat ing
halo-
,:,.
. :
3?a;II ;f~~~ like ink-wash st rokes behind
"2. ~. :. . ,:;. '
. . . . "'
:i ~ ~t hem.
A t t he same
t ime,
t heir
'" ' ~'~~~~~~~~unusually
foreign
facial
fea-
. . . . . . . . . . . . . t ures
are t reat ed wit h consid-
;,, . . . . . ~, :i unusuerable
humor and affect ion.
'i 4`'~~~~~~~~7
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The
key
t o Tao-chi's innovat ive
st yle
is his
dynamic calligraphy:
in t he cent ral
port ion
of
t he
handscroll,
where t he
powers
of t he
dragon
are
displayed,
t he "iron-wire" rock cont ours and
t ree branches are
swept up
in t he vort ex of t he
dragon-made
whirlwind,
like t umbleweeds in a des-
ert st orm. The bold rock-cont our brushst rokes-
dubbed "lot us-leaf-vein
drawing" by
lat e
sevent eent h-cent ury
crit ics-t hat t urn Wu Pin's
flat , st ylized pat t erns
int o massive and
powerful
74
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t
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r
rr ?
rct
r
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boulders are Tao-chi's own invent ion. "The beards
and
eyebrows
of t he ancient s do not
grow
on
my
face,"
he wrot e in his t reat ise on
paint ing. A nd,
he
not ed in one of his lat er albums: "This
st yle
is no
st yle.
I
merely
use
my
own
st yle. "
K ung
Hsien
(1619?-89),
a friend of
many
prominent figures
at t he Sout hern
Ming
court in
Nanking,
fled t he
cit y
when it fell t o t he Manchus
in 1645.
Ret urning
t o
Nanking
in t he
mid-1650s,
he
gradually
came t o t erms wit h life under t he
i !
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a
new
dynast y.
Yet his
poems
and
paint ings
cont in-
ued t o
express
his bit t erness over t he devast at ion
of his homeland.
In t he album Sixt een Ink
Landscapes
wit h
(53)
Two favorit e lohans were t he
"dragon
t amer"
and t he
"t iger subduer,"
who mast ered nat ure's
element al forces. In t his sect ion of The Sixt een
Lohans t wo
holy
men and at t endant s walk wit h a
myt hological
beast called a ch'i-lin-a variat ion
on t he
"t iger-subduing"
t heme t hat
appears
else-
where in t he scroll. The
rocks,
rendered in flat
pat t erns by
Wu Pin
(see figure 40),
have become
a
dynamic concept ion
of t he "bones" of nat ure
t hrough
Tao-chi's
energized
brushst rokes. The
swirling
rock veins int ert wined wit h
grass
and fo-
liage
are done wit h a
single,
cent ered st roke t hat
ant icipat es
what Tao-chi would lat er call "one-
st roke"
paint ing.
75
oO
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44
. g
I
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N
Poems,
dat ed 1688, a
year
before his
deat h,
t he
recluse-paint er compares
his favorit e haunt s in
and around
Nanking
wit h t he abodes of t he im-
mort als
(figures 54-56).
A s a t eacher and aut hor
of several
paint er's
manuals, K ung perfect ed
a
brushst roke and ink-dot
t echnique
t hat enabled
him t o achieve incredible
densit y
and t ranslu-
cency, creat ing
bot h
power
and
lyric beaut y.
In
t hese remarkable works, K ung expresses grief
and sorrow wit h
ext raordinary int ensit y
and at t ains
new
height s
in
paint ing
wit h words and
images.
In Brambles and
Orchids,
a
t horoughly prickly
yet
harmonious
composit ion
in
brist ly
and int er-
t wined brushst rokes and
dot s,
t he
paint er
uses or-
chids t o
symbolize gent lemen
of
principles;
t he
lowly
brambles
represent sycophant
collaborat ors
who sold t heir services t o t heir Manchu overlords:
On t he mount ainside
t horny
brambles mix
wit h
fragrant orchids;
The
orchids,
wit h t heir
pervasive fragrance,
hide
among
t he bramble clust ers.
The brambles,
as firewood,
will be
picked up
by
t he woodcut t ers,
Leaving
behind t he orchids t o survive t he cold
wint er.
K ung
knew t hat
alt hough
t he
gent leman-recluse's
art would endure,
he would find it difficult "t o
_
C O
11
I
nj I
-t
I
survive t he cold wint er" t hat he had so
willingly
chosen.
On a leaf ent it led Which God Is
Being
Wor-
shiped
in That
Temple?, K ung,
who believed in
neit her
sages
nor
gods,
writ es:
On t he
glimmering
bluff
by
t he river's shore,
Which
god
is
being worshiped
in t hat ancient
t emple?
Please,
Your
Excellency,
what merit have
you
achieved on t his eart h?
I believe
you
were a drunken
poet
of former
t imes.
The dense rock and
foliage pat t erns,
built wit h
short ,
st accat o brushst rokes and
dot s,
seem t o
echo t he
anger
and bit t erness of t he
poem.
On a dramat ic but bleak
mount aint op,
where
t he bare and silent
peaks
and t he wind-bent
pine
t rees seem t o dat e back t o t he t ime of
creat ion,
K ung
writ es:
Where heaven was
opened by
an ax
split t ing
t he
peaks,
The marks of t he ax remain where t he
green
moss
grows;
I'd like t o ask t he old
pine
t ree at t he
t op
of
t he cliff,
If it had met and wit nessed some ancient
sages?
76
I
I wk
d
,4
41
We hear t he
lonely
hermit
carrying
on a mono-
logue
wit h heaven and
eart h, asking
for t est imo-
nies of
sages
from a
ut opian age.
Just as each
poem
est ablishes it s own
mood,
each
image
has it s own brush
vocabulary
and
t herefore an individual st ruct ure and
feeling.
Bas-
ing
his brushwork on t he
syst ems t aught by Tung
C h'i-ch'ang, K ung
was able t o t reat t hese album
leaves as a series of isolat ed
composit ions,
mat ching paint ing
and
poem perfect ly. K ung's
landscapes
are oft en
spect acular, yet t hey give
lit t le indicat ion of real t ime or
space. They
are
t ruly
"silent
poems," providing images
and
moods,
wit h
calligraphic
brushst rokes
serving
as
alphabet s
for a new
poet ic pict orial language.
A s
poem
aft er
poem
creat es a cont ext for a whole
range
of t he art ist 's
anguished emot ions,
t he suc-
cessive
pict orial images,
some dark but oft en
t ender, provide st unning
visual
set t ings
for t he
poet 's soliloquy.
Zs
1
3
Xr'l
,9. e
II
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-9
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,91
I.
I I
t
"
'^
scapes
wit h
Poems,
dat ed
1688, K ung exploit s
t he
ambiguit ies
of
light
and
dark,
solid and
void,
manipulat ing
t he
densit y
of his brushst rokes t o
creat e dramat ic
highlight s
and cont rast s: in Bram-
bles and Orchids
(left ) pale wispy
arcs of orchid
leaves are
juxt aposed
wit h
spiky brambles;
in
Which God Is
Being Worshiped
in That
Temple?
(above)
a
clump
of dark t rees is
played against
t he
light
areas of river and
sky;
and in Where
Heaven Was
Opened (overleaf) spindly pines
are
superimposed
across sheer cliff faces.
K ung's
calligraphy
is animat ed
by
a similar combinat ion
of
vigorous
brushst rokes and
cont rast ing
t ones.
Ink on
paper,
each leaf 1315/16 x 209/16 inches. Gift
of
Douglas Dillon,
1981.
1981. 4. 1,a,c,l
(54-56) During
t he last decade of his life
K ung
Hsien
(1619?-89)
t ransformed t he dense ink-dot
st yle
of his middle
years
int o an
int egrat ed
draw-
ing
and
dot t ing t echnique
in which
every
brush-
st roke is
charged
wit h it s own
energy.
In t hese
t hree leaves from his album Sixt een Ink Land-
77
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Not es
Page
5 Laurence Sickman, C hinese
C alligraphy
and
Paint ing
in t he
C ollect ion of John M.
C rawford, Jr. ,
exh. cat . , New York, Pierpont
Morgan Library, 1962, p.
18.
7 See Wen
Fong,
"A o-t 'u-hua or
'Receding-and-Prot ruding
Paint -
ing'
at
Tun-huang,"
in
Proceedings
of t he Int ernat ional C on-
ference on
Sinology,
A cademia Sinica, Taipei, fort hcoming,
sect ion on
Hist ory
of A rt .
10 "The reclusive art ist s. . . " See Wen
Fong,
Summer Mount ains:
The Timeless
Landscape, Met ropolit an
Museum of A rt , New
York, 1975.
15 Finches and Bamboo. See C hinese
C alligraphy
and
Paint ing
in t he C ollect ion of John M.
C rawford, Jr. ,
no.
15, pp.
75-77.
15 For discussion of anot her sect ion of t he scroll In t he Palace
and full
bibliography,
see
Eight Dynast ies
of C hinese
Paint ing:
The C ollect ions of t he Nelson
Gallery-A t kins Museum, K ansas
C it y,
and t he C leveland Museum of
A rt ,
exh.
cat . , C leveland,
C leveland Museum of A rt , 1980, no. 16, pp.
27-29.
18 A
sevent eent h-cent ury Japanese
sket ch
(42. 61)
in t he Met -
ropolit an
Museum collect ion has det ailed not es on colors.
18 See Richard Barnhart ,
"Li
K ung-lin's
Use of Past
St yles,"
in
A rt ist s and Tradit ions,
ed.
by
C hrist ian F.
Murck, Princet on, 1976,
pp.
51-71.
18 "In a similar
spirit . .
. " See Wen
Fong, Sung
and Yuan
Paint ings,
Met ropolit an
Museum of A rt ,
New York, 1973, pp.
29 ff.
18 See Julia K .
Murray, "Sung K ao-t sung,
Ma Ho-chih, and t he
Mao Shih Illust rat ions of t he C lassic of
Poet ry,"
Ph. D. diss. ,
Princet on
Universit y,
1981.
22 See Xu
Pangda,
"The
Relat ionship
Bet ween
'Figures
in t he
Liu-li Hall' and
'Lit erary Gat hering"' (in C hinese),
Meishu
yanjiu
2
(1979):
71-74.
23 See Wen
Fong,"Five
Hundred Lohans at t he
Dait okuji,"
Ph. D.
diss. ,
Princet on
Universit y, 1956,
vol. 2, pi.
XX.
26
C hih-yung.
See
Shujiro Shimada, "Moryoga,"
2
part s, Bijut su
kenkyu,
nos. 84
(December 1938)
and 86
(February 1939).
32 Hsien-chi
Tseng,
"A
St udy
of t he Nine
Dragons Scroll,"
A rchives
of t he C hinese A rt
Societ y
of A merica 11
(1957):
16-39.
54 Wu Pin's archaism. See Wen
Fong,
"A rchaism as a 'Primit ive'
St yle,"
in A rt ist s and Tradit ions, pp.
89-109.
55 See Wen
Fong, "Tung C h'i-ch'ang
and t he Ort hodox
Theory
of
Paint ing,"
The Nat ionalPalace Museum
Quart erly 2,
no. 3:1-26.
60Wu Li, Mo-ching hua-pa,in
Hua-hsueh
hsin-yin,
ch. 4, p.
45b.
63See Wen
Fong, "Wang Hui, Wang
Yuan-ch'i and Wu
Li,"
in
Roderick
Whit field,
In Pursuit of
A nt iquit y,
exh.
cat . , Princet on,
The A rt Museum, Princet on
Universit y, 1969, pp.
185-86.
Furt her
Reading
Barnhart , Richard. "C hinese
C alligraphy:
The Inner World of
t he Brush. "
Met ropolit an
Museum of A rt Bullet in n. s. 30
(1972):
30-41.
Bush, Susan. The C hinese Lit erat i on
Paint ing:
Su Shih
(1037-1101)
t o
Tung C h'i-ch'ang (1555-1636).
Harvard-Yen-
ching
Inst it ut e St udies 27.
C ambridge,
Mass. : 1971.
C ahill, James. Hills
Beyond
a River: C hinese
Paint ing
of t he
Yuan
Dynast y,
1279-1368. New York and
Tokyo:
1976.
Part ing
at t he Shore: C hinese
Paint ing
of t he
Early
and
Middle
Ming Dynast y,
1368-1644. New York and
Tokyo:
1978.
Edwards, Richard. The A rt of Wen
C heng-ming (1470-1559).
Exh.
cat . ,
A nn A rbor:
Universit y
of
Michigan
Museum of A rt ,
1976.
Fong,
Wen. "The Problem of
Forgeries
in C hinese
Paint ings. "
A rt ibus A siae 25
(1962):
95-140.
"Toward a St ruct ural
A nalysis
of C hinese
Landscape
Paint ing. "
A rt Journal 28,
no. 4
(1969):
388-97.
Font ein, Jan,
and
Hickman, Money
L. Zen
Paint ing
and C al-
ligraphy.
Exh. cat . , Bost on: Museum of Fine A rt s, 1970.
Frankel,
Hans H.
"Poet ry
and
Paint ing:
C hinese and West ern
Views of Their
C onvert ibilit y. " C omparat ive
Lit erat ure 9,
no. 4
(1957):
289-307.
Fu, Marilyn
and Shen. St udies in
C onnoisseurship:
C hinese
Paint ings
from t he A rt hur M. Sackler C ollect ion in New York and
Princet on. Exh. cat . ,
Princet on: The A rt Museum, Princet on Uni-
versit y,
1973.
Fu, Shen,
et al. Traces of t he Brush: St udies in C hinese C al-
ligraphy.
Exh. cat . , New Haven: Yale
Universit y
A rt
Gallery,
1977.
Levenson, Joseph
R. "The A mat eur Ideal in
Ming
and
Early
C h'ing Societ y:
Evidence from
Paint ing. "
In C hinese
Thought
and Inst it ut ions. Ed.
by
John F. Fairbank.
C hicago: 1957, pp.
320-44.
Lee,
Sherman E. ,
and Ho,
Wai-kam. C hinese A rt Under t he
Mongols:
The YOan
Dynast y (1279-1368).
Exh. cat . , C leveland:
C leveland Museum of A rt ,
1968.
Mot e,
Frederick W. "C onfucian Eremit ism in t he Yuan Period. "
The C onfucian Persuasion. Ed.
by
A rt hur F.
Wright .
St anford:
1960, pp.
202-40.
Sullivan,
Michael.
Symbols
of
Et ernit y:
The A rt of
Landscape
Paint ing
in C hina. St anford: 1979.
Wu,
William.
"K ung
Hsien's
St yle
and His Sket chbooks. " Orient al
A rt 16
(1970):
72-80.
69"In t he lat e 1660s. . . " See Wen
Fong, Ret urning Home, New
York, 1976,
pp.
18 ff.
69 "Iconographically.
. . " See Wen Fong,
The Lohans and a Bridge
t o Heaven, Washingt on, D. C . , 1958, pp.
27 ff.
74 See Richard Edwards, "Tao-chi,
t he Paint er," in The
Paint ing
of Tao-chi 1641-ca. 1720,
exh. cat . ,
A nn
A rbor, Universit y
of
Michigan, 1967, p.
48.
80
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