Image: 61 3/8 x 20 1/2 in. (155.9 x 52.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 100 x 26 3/4 in. (254 x 67.9 cm)
Overall with knobs: 100 x 30 1/4 in. (254 x 76.8 cm)
Purchase, Soong Family Gift, in memory of Dr. T.V. Soong, 1994
Not on view
Mei Qing was born into a prominent family in Xuancheng, Anhui Province, about seventy-five miles south of Nanjing. Mei followed the family tradition of scholarship. By age sixteen he had become a prefectural-level student (zhusheng), and in 1642 he published his first collection of poems. He lived in retirement during the first decade of the Qing dynasty.
Strolling in a Misty Valley is Mei’s earliest extant work, done shortly after he moved to a new family residence in a scenic area south of Xuancheng. The painting shows him working in the dry, linear style typical of a number of late Ming painters, with angular rock formations and craggy pines loosely organized along a serpentine stream. Its style vaguely recalls the landscape forms of Huang Gongwang (1269–1354) and the spare brush idiom of Ni Zan (1306–1374). Painted just five years after the fall of the Ming dynasty, its allusions to these recluse-artists, who lived under the Mongol Yuan dynasty, clearly signal Mei’s own situation and loyalist sentiments.
Above the peaks, Mei inscribed a poem and dedication:
In the valley clouds and mist often obscure one’s view, I am pleased that the pines and rocks in front of my door are peaceful. My song over, I drag my staff along as I cross the stream; My picture captures the green mountains, I look upon it with satisfaction.
On an autumn day in the jichou year , I present this to my teacher Old Li for his instruction. The Daoist of Qushan, Mei Qing
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (6 columns in semi-cursive script)
桐岫 某清印 淵公 家在敬亭 夷白居士 瞿硎淵
Dai Gongwang 戴公望 (19th–20th c.?) 曾藏戴公望處
Xi E’ming 奚萼銘 (20th c.)– 奚野廬收藏印
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dreams of Yellow Mountain: Landscapes of Survival in Seventeenth-Century China," September 13, 2003–February 22, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10, 2007–August 26, 2007.