Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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南宋 夏珪 山市晴嵐圖 冊頁
Mountain Market, Clearing Mist

Artist:
Xia Gui (Chinese, active ca. 1195–1230)
Period:
Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
Date:
early 13th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Album leaf; ink on silk
Dimensions:
9 3/4 x 8 3/8 in. (24.8 x 21.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
13.100.102
Not on view
This album leaf presents a poetic evocation of one of the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers. The Eight Views became a popular subject for painters beginning in the late eleventh century after the Chan (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist monk Huihong (1071–1128) composed eight poems on these themes. His poem "Mountain Market, Clear with Rising Mist" offers vivid images for painters to interpret:

Last night's rain is letting up, mountain air is heavy,
Steam rising, sun and shadow, shifting light
amid trees;
The silkworm market comes to a close, the crowd
thins out,
Roadside willows by the market bridge: golden
threads play;
Whose house with flower-filled plot is across
the valley?
A smooth-tongued yellow bird calls in spring breeze;
Wine flag in hazy distance-look and you can see:
It's the one west of the road to Zhe Tree Reidge
Valley.
(Alfreda Murck, trans., in Images of the Mind
[Princeton: The Art Museum, Princeton
University, 1984], p. 226)

In Xia Gui's interpretation, boldly executed brushstrokes and ink dots create an abstract language of visual signs rather than merely descriptive forms: the kinesthetic brushstrokes, which change effortlessly from outlines and foliage dots to wedge-shaped modeling strokes and ink wash, at once simplify and unify the landscape and human forms, breathing life into the moisture-drenched landscape. It was this brilliantly simplified idiom of ink wash and ax-cut brush that infused gesture with meaning, preparing the way for the expressive calligraphic revolution of the ensuing Yuan dynasty.
Inscription: Artist's signature (2 characters in semi-cursive script)

Xia Gui
夏圭

Label strip

Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, undated:

Xia Gui of the Southern Song dynasty
南宋夏圭
[ John C. Ferguson , 1913; sold to MMA]
New York. China Institute in America. "Treasures from the Metropolitan Museum," October 24, 1979–January 27, 1980.

Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.

Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

Princeton University Art Museum. "Brush, Implication & Consequence-landscape of Ming and Qing [Ch'ing] China (1368–1911)," April 4, 1998–June 14, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 10, 2008.

Seoul. National Museum of Korea. "Landscapes: Seeking the Ideal World," July 22, 2014–September 21, 2014.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection I," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.

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