Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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宋 佚名 倣李成 寒林策驢圖 軸
Travelers in a Wintry Forest

Artist:
Unidentified Artist Chinese, active early 12th century
Artist:
Traditionally attributed to Li Cheng (Chinese, 919–967)
Period:
Song dynasty (960–1279)
Date:
early 12th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 63 3/4 × 39 1/2 in. (161.9 × 100.3 cm) Overall with mounting: 10 ft. 3 1/2 in. × 49 in. (313.7 × 124.5 cm) Overall with knobs: 10 ft. 3 1/2 in. × 53 3/8 in. (313.7 × 135.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Fletcher Fund and Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1972
Accession Number:
1972.121
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210
During the tenth and eleventh centuries, majestic trees rivaled panoramic landscapes as sources of artistic inspiration. The hermit-painter Jing Hao (act. 900–930), for example, saw in the pine tree "the moral character of the virtuous man," while the preeminent landscape master Li Cheng (919–967) is said to have painted desolate scenes of winter because "men of virtue are now found only in the wilderness.

Travelers in a Wintry Forest follows a well-known composition by Li Cheng as described by Mi Fu (1051–1107) in his History of Painting. The scene is a microcosm of the natural cycle of growth and decay, with the great pine, symbolizing the virtuous gentleman, surrounded by trees ranging from youthful saplings to a shattered ancient hulk. The stoic silence of the wintry forest is matched by the unyielding spirit of the scholar on his donkey—the noble recluse who has entered the mountains to rediscover in nature the moral order that is lost in the human world.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal

Colophons

1. Zhang Daqian 張大千(1899–1983), 1 line and 2 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals:

A painting by Li Cheng, the best in the world, respectfully treasured in the Dafeng Tang Studio. Zhang Daqian, Yuan, of Shu [Sichuan]. [Seals]: Qian qian qian, Daqian fu

大風堂供養天下第一李成畫。蜀郡張大千爰 [印]: 千千千、大千父

2. Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 43 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals:

米元章 《畫史》 云:“寳月大師收李成四幅,路上一才子騎馬,一童隨,清秀如摩詰畫浩然。”摩詰有 《浩然騎驢圖》,此云畫馬,一時誤書耳。”又云:“他圖畫人,醜怪賭博,村野如伶人,皆許道寧專作成時畫。”又云:“松葉勁挺,枝葉欎然,有陰荊棘小木,無一冗筆,不作龍蛇鬼神之狀。”即此圖是也。寳月大師,蜀人,游寓蘇州。予亦蜀人,游寓蘇州而得此。世無成畫,予得而寳之,楚弓楚得,又一段奇緣也。此畫未入歷朝内府,故無璽鑑。或謂即《雪麓早行圖》,予不謂然。自具真賞,何必倚 《宣和畫譜》 方為左券耶?大千居士題。 [印]: 張爰長壽、東西南北之人

Collectors’ seals

Illegible: 2
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