10 13/16 x 14 1/16in. (27.5 x 35.7cm)
Overall with mounting: 16 1/8 x 22 7/8in. (41 x 58.1cm)
painting/calligraphy: 13 15/16 x 20 9/16in. (35.4 x 52.2cm)
Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1980
Not on view
In this album of painting and poetry, made one year before his death, Gong Xian exhibits a luminous self-confidence and contentment. The hermit's favorite haunts in and around Nanjing are compared to the abodes of the immortals. As an art teacher and the author of several manuals on painting, Gong perfected an ink-wash and dotting technique that enabled him to achieve both incredible density and translucency. In these remarkable works, Gong attains new heights in painting simultaneously with words and images.
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions
Leaf A (11 columns in semi-cursive script):
Surely there are human dwellings in this secluded place; In this thatch hut I shall rest from my travels; At midnight I sit facing a pitcher of wine, Watching moonlight on the cold pond [under a waterfall] that evokes a sipping white dragon.
Leaf B (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
In the pavilion where Prince Zhaoming [501–531] used to study, Books and scrolls have remained to wait for my arrival. On all sides, mountains and waters extend endlessly; To catch the breeze, eight long windows are open wide.
Leaf C (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
A bell strikes in the old temple, but the temple gate is barred. The homing birds, fighting for a perch, have not yet settled down. Along the distant horizon the great river appears white, While a man with a wine jar ascends the Sunset Pavilion.
Note See 1981.4.1a–o for the other 13 landscapes and two leaves of artist’s colophon dated 1688.
 Translations from Department records.  This line may refer to Yang Zhen (died 124), a Grand Commandant in the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220), who, after being falsely slandered, climbed to the Sunset Pavilion near Luoyang and died from poisoned wine sent by the emperor.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)," February 2, 2002–August 18, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dreams of Yellow Mountain: Landscapes of Survival in Seventeenth-Century China," September 13, 2003–February 22, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.