View of mountains

There is a long inscription on this painting, which reads: ‘Landscape painting was a great achievement of the Northern and Southern Song [dynasties, AD 960-1279]. Landscapes in the Northern Song show their ‘bone’, when those in the Southern Song show their spirit. These landscape paintings show the mountains and rivers as they naturally appear, but are also a representation of the culture of the time. Dong Qichang [1555-1636] said when Mi Fu [1051-1107] painted the mountains in Nanxu, Li Tang [1066-1150] painted the mountains in the central area, and Ma Yuan [c.1160-1225] and Xia Gui [active 1195-1224] painted the mountains in Qiantang, the inspiration they got from mountains and rivers cannot be compared [to each other].

My home is in the mountains of Jieyang, but I travel north and south, and see mountains on my way; I see them and feel them, so both the northern and the southern mountains are included in my mind. Occasionally my spirit comes and I paint, but I cannot visit the landscape I painted; I memorize them, dream of them, and think of them countless times. I feel that the best and happiest thing is when people praise the landscapes that I paint.'

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  • Catalogue text

    The long inscription refers to the great Northern Song (960-1127) calligraphers and the late Ming painting theorist Dong Qichang (1555-1636), and indicates that this is a landscape in Sichuan province. The darkness and contours of the hills are reminiscent of the paintings of Gong Xian (1619-89), while the short repeated vertical and horizontal brushstrokes reinforced the formulaic aspects of the painting.

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