Image: 14 in. x 17 ft. 10 3/4 in. (35.6 x 545.5 cm)
Overall with mounting: 14 3/8 in. x 34 ft. 7 1/2 in. (36.5 x 1055.4 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Douglas Dillon Gift, 1977
Not on view
The elegant Wangchuan Villa situated in the picturesque hills on the outskirts of the Tang dynasty (618–907) capital, Chang'an (modern Xi'an), is one of the most famous gardens of ancient China. The rambling estate with spectacular scenery was the retreat of the poet, musician, and landscape painter Wang Wei (699–759). Almost one thousand years later, Wang Yuanqi used a rubbing of a Wangchuan composition etched into stone in 1617 for the general outlines of his painting and referred to Wang Wei's poems to guide his inspiration. In a colophon appended to the painting, Wang Yuanqi expresses satisfaction that he has captured some of Wang Wei's idea of "painting in poetry and poetry in painting."
Tutored in painting by his grandfather Wang Shimin (1592–1680), Wang Yuanqi followed the lead of Dong Qichang (1555–1636), the first artist to transform landscape structure in painting by means of abstract compositional movements known as "breath force" (qishi). Inspired by the archaic convention of ringed mountain motifs in the engraving, Wang Yuanqi created "dragon veins" (longmo), through which the cosmic "breath force" vigorously flows. Calligraphic brush formulas suddenly become torrents of writhing, churning rock forms, rising and falling like waves.
Inscription: Artist's inscriptions and signatures
(Inscription mounted in front of the painting; 42 columns in standard script)
My new home stands sentinel at the entrance to Mengcheng Where, of an ancient wood, only time-worn willows still remain. Who would come to live in this lonely place Unless to brood over the sorrows of the past?
Birds sail endlessly across the sky. Again the mountain range wears autumn’s hue. As I wander up and down Mount Huazi Deep shafts of sorrow pierce me!
My Study Among Beautiful Apricot Trees
Slender apricot trees pillar my hermitage, Fragrant grasses thatch it; Mountain clouds drift through it-- Clouds, could you not better make rain for needy peasants?
A Hill of Graceful Bamboo
Sandalwoods cast shadows across empty trails. Dark blue ripples race on the river. Secretly I enter the pathway to Mount Shang; Not even the woodcutter knows I am here.
Deer Forest Hermitage
No glimpse of man in this lonely mountain, Yet faint voices drift on the air. Through the deep wood, the slanting sunlight Casts motley patterns on the jade-green mosses.
The autumn hills hoard scarlet from the setting sun, Flying birds chase their mates; Now and then patches of blue sky break clear, Tonight the evening mists find nowhere to gather.
Rivers of Dogwood
Green dogwood berries ripen to crimson Though blossoms still star the branches. Come friends! How can you bear not to stay in these mountains And savor that rich red wine with me!
A Path Through Imperial Locust Trees
The narrow path hides beneath imperial locust trees; Thick green mosses carpet the shaded earth. While sweeping the courtyard, I keep watching the gate Lest my friend, the mountain monk, should visit me.
In an Arbor Beside the Lake
My light skiff, garnished to welcome esteemed guests, Leisurely floats along the lake. On the shaded balcony we sit with our wine cups 'mid lotus blossoms blooming in four directions.
A small boat sails to South Hill; North Hill is hard to reach--the river is wide. On the far shore I see families moving, Too distant to be recognized.
Beside Lake Yi
Where the lake ends, she sits now playing her flute. At dusk she bade farewell to her husband. Wistfully she stares across the water, Watching a white cloud rolling up the blue mountain side.
Waves of Willow
The swaying branches of the willow row mingle their silken garments in caresses. Reflected shadows ripple the clear water. Be not like those willows weeping on the imperial embankment Which sadden people paring on the cold spring wind...
At the Rapids of the Luan Family
Under the spatter of October rain The shallow water slides over slippery stones; Leaping waves strike each other And frightened, the egret dares not dive for fish.
The Stream of Powdered Gold
He who drinks daily from the Stream of Powdered Gold Shall live at least a thousand years! Then he will be presented to the Jade Emperor, Riding beneath a plumed canopy in a carriage drawn by soaring blue phoenixes and spirited young dragons.
White Stone Bank
White Stone Bank River, shallow, clear, Meanders past a sparse handful of rushes. Families on the east and west banks Wash silk in the silver moonlight.
North Hill stands out above the lake Against thick evergreens gleams startlingly a vermilion gate. Below, South River zig-zags toward the horizon, Glistening, here and there, beyond the tree-tops of the blue forest.
My Hermitage in the Bamboo Grove
Deep in the bamboo grove, sitting alone, I thrum my lute as I whistle a tune. No one knows I am in this thicket Save the bright moon looking down on me.
The blossoms on high hibiscus boughs Fling crimson through the mountains. Families no longer live in this deserted valley, Yet season after season the hibiscus still blooms in profusion.
The Lacquer Tree Garden
The keeper of the Lacquer Tree Garden was no proud official: That old sage knew nothing of worldly matters. When by chance, he received this low-ranking office, He sauntered about lazily caring for a few gnarled trees!
The Pepper Tree Garden
With a flask of cassia-flower wine, we welcome the daughters of Emperor Yao; To the Beautiful Goddess, we present fragrant grasses And we greet the Prince of the Clouds With a peppery drink and delectable feast.
(Inscription mounted after the painting, 21 columns in semi-cursive script)
On the right is Youcheng's [Wang Wei’s] Wangchuan villa. Having written twenty poems of five-word regulated verse to describe the scenes, [Wang Wei] also painted this composition. In the art of the Six Principles [i.e., painting], it was Youcheng who first mastered [the secret of] “breath-movement-life-motion,” capturing the true composition of the universe. Jing [Hao], Guan [Tong], Dong [Yuan], Ju[ran], the two Mis [Mi Fu and Mi Youren], Li [Cheng] and Fan [Kuan] of the Northern Song, as well as Gao [Kegong], Zhao [Mengfu] and the Four Masters [Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan and Wang Meng] of the Yuan, all followed [Wang Wei’s] ideas, each inheriting the “lamp-flame” and becoming a great master of the Orthodox tradition. Since the Southern Song period, there have been a great many known painters competing with each other like flowers on a piece of brocade, each of them of a different stature, school and tradition. Though a student might broaden himself by using these different traditions to fill out [his education], were he to mistake this as his sole training, he would then have attained merely the dregs of the ancient tradition, and not its inner essence.
During the three hundred years of the Ming dynasty, only Dong Siweng [Dong Qichang] succeeded in sweeping away the web of confusion. My late grandfather Fengchang [Wang Shimin] personally inherited the [orthodox] mantle [from Dong]. As I used to attend [my grandfather] in my youth, I have learned a few things [about painting]. In recent years, I have become acquainted with the elderly gentleman Jiweng. When I painted for him Lu Hong’s [8th c.] "[Ten Views from a] Thatched Lodge" (Caotang tu), about three years ago, I had promised that I would someday paint also the long handscroll composition Wangchuan [by Wang Wei]. Since I had not then had access to a reliable sketch of the composition, I did not dare to tackle it from ignorance. Last autumn, I acquired a popular stone engraving [of the composition]. Using the poems found in [Wang Wei’s] collected works as a reference, I made this scroll with my own ideas, so that it is different from a copy of "physical likeness" [xingsi] by a professional painter. Nine whole months have since passed. During every leisure hour away from official duties, I have worked on it. By adding poetry to the ink engraving, I have been able to see the wonders of Youcheng’s designs of yang and yin, their ever-changing forms and steps. Though some may think that my work is clumsy and inferior, I believe that it has captured some of [Wang Wei’s] idea of “painting in poetry and poetry in painting.” Will not the Master [Jiweng] have a chuckle over this? Inscribed on the eleventh day of the sixth month of the xinmao year of the Kangxi reign era [July 26, 1711] by Wang Yuanqi of Loudong.
Yuanqi Maojing 原祁茂京 Mojie houshen 摩詰後身 Xing yu yanxia hui 興與煙霞會 Shishi daoren 石師道人 Huatu liu yu ren kan 畫圖留與人看 Wang Yuanqi yin 王原祁印 Lutai 麓臺
Zhu Yifan朱益藩（1861–1937）, 2 columns in standard script, undated; 2 seals:
王司農 《王右丞輞川圖》 真蹟。黃小松題，朱益藩署。[印]： 朱益藩、定園
1. Wu Hufan吳湖帆 (1894–1970), 3 columns in standard script (on the brocade border preceding Wang Yuanqi’s poems and painting), undated; 2 seals：
Wang [Yuanqi, hao] Lutai, Sinong’s masterpiece—the Wangchuan Villa Scroll. Accompanied by twenty poems on the Wangchuan Villa in a complement of poetry and painting. [Seen] in the treasured collection of Mr. Wang in the Shuanglin shu wu [Twin Grove Studio] at Moli. Wu Hufan inscribed.
2. Huang Yi 黃易 (1744–1802), 3 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 1 seal：
Shishi daoren [Wang Yuanqi] has grasped the qi [breath] and yun [resonance] of Dong [Yuan], Ju [ran], Ni [Zan] and Huang [Gongwang]. He certainly is of the true heritage of the Southern School and hence suited to aspirations after Wangchuan. Trusting his hand he completes a painting which is intrinsically antique. Old and hoary with a skeletal energy, we can imagine seeing the man himself. As to a precise and neat arrangement of the houses, cottages and figures, he wasn’t originally adept at such a thing, so we needn’t go into that further. When Yancun (unidentified) got this scroll, he sent it to me to enjoy for three months. Now I am about to return home, and so I inscribe [the work] and return it to him. Huang Yi of Qiantang [Zhejiang]
3. Wu Hufan 吳湖帆 (1894–1970), 30 columns in standard script, dated 1944; 3 seals:
Lutai Sinong [Wang Yuanqi] possesses sage powers and a mind of profound intuition. In the painting world he stands unique as a brilliant flag unfurled, and before and after him for a thousand years, he has surpassed the wonders of a mass of others to bring to completion this marvelous work. He [Wang Yuanqi] himself said: “I have made this scroll with my own ideas, so that it is different from a copy of ‘physical likeness’ [xingsi].” We can imagine how keen his concentration was as he was painting: he did not follow the path of the well-trodden, but amassed his energies, tempered his spirit and had eternity in mind. Hence we know this work is not of the kind to be found often. In the great interaction of Heaven and Earth, Heaven concentrates the most excellent qualities: in the Tang, there was Mojie [Wang Wei], and in Mojie there was the Wangchuan composition. A thousand years later, and there is the interpretative brush of Lutai [Wang Yuanqi] with Mojie’s Wangchuan composition. This work has also come about as the result of the concentration of the most excellent qualities in permutations of Heaven and Earth. It is certainly not a thing which we may stumble upon accidentally.
To have Mojie’s Wangchuan composition in painting is like having Youjun [Wang Xizhi’s] Lanting xu in calligraphy, or [Li] Taibai in poetry and Changli [Han Yu] in prose; it is like moonlight over [Lake] Dongting, or the clouds along Wuxia [section of the Yangzi river], or the rain over the Xiaoxiang [river]—they are all wonders of which there can never be a second, and of which there must always be a one. [When] Lutai has his gifts and the moment in hand, the rich and the pale and the whole spectrum of light and hue are at his command. Therefore [his] subtlety in applying colors is not something we can often come upon even in our dreams. In every brushstroke and in every ink tone, in every tree and in every rock, that which is known as “the breath which can swallow [Lake] Yumeng,” and “the wave which can devastate a city,”—rushing and surging like the Changjiang [Yangzi] and the Huanghe [Yellow River]—in one torrent it gushes forth a thousand li. And should there be a great barricade or wall of iron, it could not be obstructed—[such is the power] which can be seen in equal measure in Li [Bai’s] verse, Han [Yu’s] essays, Youjun’s calligraphy and Mojie’s painting!
I myself have been painting for some thirty years and of the famous works which I have seen to authenticate, there have been some ten thousand paintings; of these, there have been a thousand works—large and small handscrolls, hanging scrolls and album leaves—of Lutai. When I examine his [Wang Yuanqi’s] life, his most profound respect has been accorded to Ni [Zan] and Huang [Gongwang]; [but] his knowledge of them has been acquired through Fengchang [Wang Shimin] and Siweng [Dong Qichang] and the Yuan sages. This scroll is an attempt to re-capture Mojie, and he [Wang Yuanqi] himself said: “[I] have grasped the meaning of ‘in poetry there is painting, and in painting there is poetry.’” His [Wang Yuanqi’s] spirit [in the painting] resembles his [Wang Fei’s] forms, and in not seeking a resemblance, there is resemblance. We might even look upon [it] as a work by Wang Wei himself. At the beginning of the scroll there are twenty poems on Wangchuan, and at the end of the painting there is the seal Mojie hou shen [the reincarnation of Mojie], which will serve to prove that the Sinong was pleased with himself, and that my words are not idle.
Fengchang [Wang Shimin] carried on as leader of the painting world for more than forty years after Siweng [Dong Qichang]. When Fengchang died, the Sinong was forty years old. Fengchang once said: “As for grasping Dachi’s [Huang Gongwang’s] spirit [shen], there is Siweng; as for grasping his forms [xing], there am I; as for both spirit and form, they have been grasped alike by Lutai.” Fengchang had already passed away thirty years when his scroll was finished. During these thirty years Lutai made great strides. What a pity Fengchang is not longer here to see [it]. Hufan says: “If Fengchang could be raised [from his grave] to see this scroll, [I] would not know what expressions of astonishment and what words of criticism he would offer his grandson. It seems suitable then that one born later such as I should hold such reverence and dare to call [this scroll] Wang Sinong’s masterpiece [tianxiadiyi]. May Jiqian, my pupil, guard well [this scroll] and treasure it always. In late spring of the year jiashen , Wu Hufan, on several perusals, respectfully recorded.
In the past twenty years I have seen more than a few long handscrolls by Lutai Sinon. Of those which can partake of a seasoned refinement and a lofty brilliance, there is the Xishan he bi [Streams in a Mountain Setting] after the Four Yuan Masters [in the collection of] Shao Songlao of Qinquan, and the Yan nan chun xiao [Spring dawn over Peaks and Rapids] in the Yiguan xian [Total Enlightenment Studio], and most of all this scroll after the Wangchuan composition. Jiqian, my “younger brother,’ who happened to come upon it, brought it out to show me. After satiating myself with looking, I am honored to place my name at the end, feeling especially overjoyed and deeply fortunate. Late in the year jiashen , written by the “later student” Wu Huayuan, who also saw it in company with Mr. Wang Boyuan and my “sixth younger brother” Silan.
7. Xu Bangda徐邦達 (1911–2012), 2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1945; no seal:
In the year yiyou  on the dengxi [eve of candles] [I] went to the Twin Grove Studio and again saw the incomparably “divine” work of the Sinong. Respectfully recording the year and the month, Xinyuan jushi, Xu Bangda.
In the 8th month of the year bingwu  I went with [Huang] Junbi, “my elder brother” to New York [City] and at the Twin Grove Studio was enriched by the perusal of the Sinong’s long handscroll. Unawares, I sighed looking at [something which would] end [all looks]! Respectfully recorded by the master of Lanxiang guan [Orchid-scent residence], Gao Yihong.
In the 4th month of the spring of the year dingwei , Ling Shuhua respectfully inscribes this to record this visual richness.
Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (1907–2003) Wang Jiqian yin 王季遷印 Ceng cang Wang Jiqian chu 曾藏王季遷處 Wang shi Jiqian zhencang zhi yin 王氏季遷珍藏之印 Zhenze Wang shi Jiqian shoucang yin 震澤王氏季遷收藏印 Jiqian 季遷 Shuanglin Shuwu 雙林書屋 Huaiyun Lou 懷雲樓 Huaiyun Lou jianshang shuhua zhi ji 懷雲樓鍳賞書畫之記
Earl Morse 穆思 (1908–1988) Mu Si shoucang mingji 穆思收藏名迹 Mu Si zhencang 穆思珍藏
 Wang Yuanqi’s inscriptions and the colophons are translated by Marilyn and Shen Fu in Whitfield, Roderick with addendum by Wen Fong, In Pursuit of Antiquity: Chinese Paintings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morse. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum, 1969, pp. 199-208. Romanization of Chinese characters has been changed from the Wade-Gile to the pinyin system.  “Wu” should be Hu (Shanghai).