Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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元 趙蒼雲 劉晨阮肇入天台山圖 卷
Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao Entering the Tiantai Mountains

Artist:
Zhao Cangyun (Chinese, active late 13th–early 14th century)
Period:
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 8 7/8 in. x 18 ft. 5 in. (22.5 cm x 564 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Oscar L. Tang Family, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.494.1
Not on view
Painted by a member of the Song royal family who lived through the Mongol conquest, this handscroll, which revives the monochrome drawing style of the scholar-artist Li Gonglin (ca. 1041–1106), chronicles the legend of two men of the Han dynasty who stumble upon a magical realm of immortals. Returning home after what seemed like half a year, they discover that seven generations have come and gone and that they are alone in the world. The men’s loss of home and paradise evokes the disorientation and alienation felt by many of the Chinese elite following the fall of the Song dynasty in 1279.

What little we know of the artist is contained in the colophons mounted after the painting. The first, by Hua Youwu (1307–after 1386), describes Zhao Cangyun as an artist known for “boneless” (without outlines) ink-wash landscapes and delicate figure paintings. Hua also states that the artist was more famous in his youth than his fellow clansmen Zhao Mengjian (1199–before 1267) and Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322). As Zhao Cangyun withdrew to the mountains and lived as a recluse, never marrying or serving as an official, no documentation, except this scroll, survives.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (70 columns in semi-cursive script)

劉晨、阮肇,剡縣人也,家世業儒,尤留意於醫,嘗飄然有霞表之氣味。漢明
帝永安十五年,二人攜鋤筥,往天台山採藥焉!

入山既深,尋藥方盈筥,少憩將返,迷失來路,且糧糗俱盡,二人相顧,方狼
狽失措。偶舉目見山頭有桃阿木樛然,桃實纍然。二人往山上取桃食之,人各食二
枚,如覺少健然。

食桃尤在手,下山求歸。路轉轉崎嶇,益難辨識。行次不覺至山麓,見澗中水流
潺然,清泠可可。二人以手挹水飲之,且各澡其手面。偶見蔓菁從山腹出,次
又有一杯流出,中有胡麻飯屑。二人相顧曰: “去人家不遠矣。”

巒氣滃鬱,山色螺聳。望中恍然,如接異境。

因負藥筥,以鋤挺探水,水纔四尺許,二人褰裳渡之。行及一里餘,得小徑,
又度一山,又見一溪焉。

山麓處大溪。

隔溪見二女顏色絕妙,世所未有,便揮手喚劉、阮姓名,似有舊交。二人渡溪,
二女喜笑而語,曰:“郎來何晚也!”意味和懌,香氣襲人,相語相攜,雖
合卺之協情,經數載未有如此之婉好也。二人始疑為媚,久之方辨識為人,而亦
不之懼焉。

二女因邀歸家,所過山徑崎嶇,滿山桃花爛然。行及三里餘,到其所居。廳館
朴廠,服飾非如人間所有。左右女侍息青衣,皆端正莊靚,爛然如雲。少憩,
煮胡麻飯、山羊脯,食之甘美。二人食方畢,不覺饑,欲訊家世,二女但相與
談笑亂之,略不之告,二人亦不敢固問,知其為異人。久之,亦不見其家有男
子也。

既而又當庭設席,陳酒肴為二人壽。方飛觴次,有數仙客持三、五仙桃至女
家,云來慶女婿,各至席。二人禮之,數仙客皆仙服,各出樂器奏之,肅
雝和鳴。暢飲逾二、三時候,二女親各舉巵勸二人酒。款曲之情,春氣可挹,
二子恍然如在天上也。日向暮,仙客各還去。

二女邀劉、阮偕止宿,約半月餘,二子求還。女答曰: “今來此,皆汝宿福所招
得。至予仙館,比之流俗,有此樂否?”遂懇留住及半年。天氣常如三春,山鳥
哀鳴,二子求歸甚切。女曰: “業根未滅,使令子心如此。”於是喚諸仙女,共
作鼓吹送劉、阮歸,遂告之曰: “從此山洞口出去不遠,至大道至家易矣。”

二人出洞口,行至大道,回首惟桃花燦爛,山色堆青而已。甫至家鄉,並無
相識,鄉里怪異,乃聞得七代子孫,傳上祖入山不出,不知今何在。

二子在鄉既無親屬,棲泊無所,卻同入天台山,尋當年所往。山路已迷,而
不知所在。後至晉武帝太康八年,二子復入天台,不知其所之也。

蒼雲山人畫書。

No artist's seals

Label strip

Zhao Heqin 趙鶴琴 (1894–1971), 1 column in clerical script, 2 columns in standard script, undated; 1 seal:

宋趙蒼雲 《劉阮入天台圖》 卷孤本
姚廣孝等跋,鶴琴署耑。 [印]: 趙鶴琴

Colophons

1. Hua Youwu 華幼武 (1307–after 1386), 10 columns in standard script, dated 1379:

蒼雲山人本趙宋宗室,高奇嗜酒,繪事入神。山水橫放,大都倣沒骨圖,而生動過之。人物工緻,別有姿韻,世不多見。所作《劉阮天台圖》意境蕭散,神趣閒逸。曹衣吳带,設色妍玅,有諸家所不能及者。竊意劉、阮未必非烏有子虛,唐人云僊姝亦屬魅界。但得此墨妙,覺靈山儼然,西園猶在,展卷不知身在桃雲柳浪清風紅日間也。蒼雲早歲名在子昂、子固上,不婚不宦,每隱於山林湖舫,雖親串無從蹤跡,世人得其片幀,幾如拱璧。此其匠心運意備極慘澹,當不能有二也。洪武十二年秋九月華幼武書於春草軒。

2. Yao Guangxiao 姚廣孝 (1335–1418), 7 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1386:

丙寅春仲無憀中鼓枻過華棲碧湖上,留連匝月,談詠甚適,耳目洞爽。華君沉博嗜古,所藏碑版甚夥。商確評品,彼此恍然,盡得象外物表之趣。偶示趙蒼雲王孫《天台圖》,人物景色飛動有情,宛轉離合,極快意事,作懌懌之狀,是入繪中三昧者。棲碧有題,予踵其後。予久作東西南北人,他年一會儼然未散,其在斯乎?道衍識。

3. Song Yong 宋邕 (unidentified), 13 columns in semi-cursive script, undated:

劉、阮洞中遇仙人

天和樹色靄蒼蒼,霞重嵐深路渺茫。
雲竇滿山無鳥雀,水聲沿澗有笙簧。
碧沙洞裡乾坤別,紅樹枝邊日月長。
願得花間有人出,免令仙犬吠劉郎。

仙人送劉、阮出洞

殷勤相送出天台,仙境那能卻再來。
雲液既歸須強飲,玉書無事莫頻開。
花當洞口應長在,水到人間定不迴。
惆悵溪頭從此別,碧山明月照蒼苔。
宋邕

Collectors’ seals

Zhang Boju 張伯舉 (unidentified)
Zhang Boju fu 張伯擧父

Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (1907–2003)
Wang Jiqian shi shending zhenji 王季遷氏審定真跡

Unidentified seal
Zhuchuang lao ??? (half seal) 竹窗老囗囗囗
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