Viewing the Sea of Clouds on Mount Hua

Zhang Daqian was one of the most successful painters of the 20th century, renowned for his skill and versatility. He produced many copies of Tang dynasty (618-906) murals following a visit to the famous Mogao Buddhist cave temples in Dunhuang.
The bright green colour and the hard outlines of the mountains and clouds in this painting evoke the Tang landscape style. The use of perspective, which leads the eye up the zig-zagging composition to the figures at the top, is also inspired by Dunhuang murals.

The artsits describes in his inscriptions how: ‘Arriving at this place [I] almost underestimate Sun and Moon. Turning my head around [it appears as] the Penglai immortal land. [It looks like] the lotus blossoming in a well when it breezes in autumn. [It looks as if it was] the dusts in Xi’an. [It looks as if] a jade dragon is playing under the snow. [It looks like] the white beauty Chang’e walking on the Moon. [The scene] in front of my eyes reminds me of the Jin River [in Sichuan province]. All sorts of things from the past to the present are built in jade .’

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  • Catalogue text

    The bright green colour and the hard outlines of the mountains and clouds evoke Tang (618-906) dynasty landscape style. The perspective, in which there is no proper receding ground but in which the eye is led up the zig-zagging composition to the relatively large figures in the background, is also inspired by the Tang murals at Dunhuang.

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