Hanging scroll, ink with white pigment on silk
Image: 216.6 x 57.3 cm (85 1/4 x 22 9/16 in.); Overall: 285.8 x 75.5 cm (112 1/2 x 29 3/4 in.); with knobs: 258.8 x 90.1 cm (101 7/8 x 35 1/2 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1969.123
Towering peaks and unfolding ranges are piled up and overlaid with layer after layer of brushwork to give an overall dense, dark, and even melancholic effect. Gong Xian created a personal style of landscape, which departed greatly from his models Dong Yuan and Juran. The tension between tradition and individuality had been a topic of interest for the Chinese artist. As Gong Xian writes in his inscription: "Painters of later periods may be known for their natural talents or praised for their observance of established traditions. . . . However, those who indulge in showing off their talent will deviate from the tradition, while those who adhere to tradition will alienate themselves from the Dao. The supreme Dao is inexplicable in words. . . ."
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