Yuan (1271–1368) or early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty
Handscroll; ink on paper
Image: 17 5/8 x 75 1/8 in. (44.8 x 190.8 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
This scroll presents a view of undulating billows and a rocky shoreline where several gnarled trees cling to a bare cliff. To the left of the trees two dragons appear amid the clouds and inky darkness. The dragons' writhing bodies and hooked claws contrast with the angular planes of the rock faces and echo the twisted trunks and clinging roots of the trees. One dragon seems to emerge from the rock itself, while the other is depicted playfully, stretched belly up across a rocky incline. This short, abruptly cropped composition was originally part of a much longer handscroll, other fragments of which are now in Japan and in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Compared with Chen Rong's Nine Dragons handscroll of 1244, also in Boston, the brushwork of this scroll is much coarser, suggesting that it was painted by a later follower.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Xu Fu 徐郙 (1838–1907), 1 column in seal and standard script, dated 1901: