Image: 24 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (61.6 x 26 cm)
Overall with mounting: 87 1/2 x 17 5/8 in. (222.3 x 44.8 cm)
Overall with knobs: 87 1/2 x 20 5/8 in. (222.3 x 52.4 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Edward Elliott Family Collection, Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1982
Not on view
To escape the turbulence of the closing years of the Yuan dynasty, Lu Guang traveled far from his native city of Suzhou. He painted Spring Dawn after his return to the Lake Tai area, following the establishment of the Ming dynasty in 1368. The reference to the Elixir Terrace in the title of the painting indicates the artist's interest in both Daoist alchemy and the pursuit of immortality; the poem, which describes "elixir rays emitted from a well turning into [auspicious] clouds at dawn," expresses Lu's optimism in the new era. In the city of Wuxing in 1369, Lu Guang saw and inscribed an important painting attributed to Yan Wengui (act. ca. 980-1010). Although Spring Dawn, which was painted about the same time, shows the influence of Yan Wengui's monumental composition, Lu Guang's brushwork is utterly different from the Northern Song descriptive style. The loosely directed kinesthetic brush-strokes, building layer after layer upon themselves, evoke landscape forms as might a tone poem.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (8 columns in standard script)
Spring Dawn over the Elixir Terrace Painted for Boyong by Tianyou [Lu Guang]. For ten years I wandered, homeless and away from worldly entanglements; Now, returning home by the river, I see things differently from most others. Jade like vapor floating in the sky, it is spring but no rain; Elixir rays emitted from a well turn into clouds at dawn. Standing in the wind I lean on my dragon staff; I have long missed hearing your mouth-organ music by moonlight. I am happy to be with the venerable immortal, and away from the military strategists; We sit looking at paintings and talk about literature.