Wang Duo, believing that "the creation of extraordinary landscape scenery comes first," returned to the monumental landscape motifs of the Northern Song to express his dissatisfaction with Dong Qichang's (1555–1636) credo: "In considering the wonders of brush and ink, landscape cannot compete with painting." This scroll, executed one year before Wang's death, is an eloquent statement of his fondness for pictorial content. Known more for his calligraphy than for his painting, Wang reduced the rich detail of tenth- and eleventh-century landscapes to simple graphic conventions. Heavily contoured trees, many with leafless, stubby branches; schematic dotting on the summits of the mountain peaks; and starkly outlined rock formations all recall the tenth century master Fan Kuan. The prominence of figures, buildings, and pathways, in striking contrast to the generally uninhabited landscapes of Dong Qichang, emphasizes the Song idea that paintings should be places in which to wander and dwell.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (7 columns in semi-cursive script)