清 鄭旼 黃山八景圖 冊 紙本 Eight views of the Yellow Mountains
Zheng Min (Chinese, 1633–1683)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Album of nine leaves of painting and calligraphy; ink on paper
Image (each leaf): 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (24.1 x 14 cm)
Overall with mounting (each double leave): 12 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. (30.8 x 36.5 cm)
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift and Susan Dillon Gift, in honor of James C. Y. Watt, 2012
Not on view
In the seventeenth century, painters from Anhui began to exploit the album’s special qualities to represent the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan), vista by vista, one leaf at a time. This example, by the relatively little-known artist Zheng Min, ranks among the best Huangshan albums; its compositional originality and subtle brushwork unfolds over a journey of eight distinct parts. Zheng Min combined the signature dry brush technique of the Anhui School’s founder Hongren with subtle ink washes to create a less austere, more descriptive style. Adding to the album’s appeal is the artist’s lengthy inscription, on the final leaf,which explains the story of the album’s creation.
In this long inscription, written to accompany the album, Zheng Min explains the circumstances of its creation: [Summary]: In 1681, Zheng was approached by a younger friend named Chuzhen, who asked the master to paint two albums: one for him, and one for a friend. He obliged, painting this album for Chuzhen in the hopes of spurring his interest in Mount Huang, where the young man had never been. Zheng Min himself had been there only twice, the most recent trip more than seven years earlier. He painted this album from memory. In his inscription, he writes, “In the future, after all his children get married, if Chuzhen ever travels there, I hope he will take this album with him to check against the actual sites. I will then become his tour guide.” —Trans. by Shi-yee Liu
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures (69 columns in standard script and 1 column in seal script)
Leaf A (5 columns in standard script):
Pines at the Heavenly Gate
Passing through perils, I arrive at the Heavenly Gate, Where two pines stand upright and calm. They soothe my thoughts at this moment; Planting my staff, I bow to them with respect. Min
The poem to the right was composed when I first visited the White-dragon Pool in Mount Huang in search of Master Wenzhen’s [Zheng Yu, 1298–1355] Fishing Terrace in the gengxu year . Inscribed by Min again.
Leaves I & II (14 columns in standard script, dated 1681):
In the summer, the fifth lunar month, of the xinyou year  my young friend Chuzhen returned from the West River [Xi Jiang, in modern Guangxi and Guangdong provinces] and asked me to paint two albums that he brought, one for Min Yi An and the other for his own enjoyment. The sweltering heat of the time made it difficult for me to make paintings. When autumn rain came and cooled the air, I painted the scenic sites along the West River for Yi An. Then I painted these intimate sceneries of Mount Huang for Chuzhen, and appended my writings from the journeys to complement the paintings. I have traveled very little in my life. Except for Gusu [Suzhou] and Baimen [Nanjing], I haven’t been anywhere north of the Yangzi River. Since the dynastic change [in 1644], I have become even less active and haven’t ventured beyond forty li from home. The only exceptions are my two trips to Mount Huang in the gengxu  and the guichou  years. I searched almost all the sites there, as any native of Shexian [in Anhui, near Mount Huang] should. Since Chuzhen has never been to Mount Huang, I painted its scenery to spur his interest. But he had traveled to the West River and enjoyed its landscape day by day, so there is no need of my painting, which can appropriately go to Yi An. In the future after all his children get married, if Chuzhen ever travels there, I hope he will take this album with him to check against the actual sites. I will then become his tour guide. According to ancient documents, the high mountains and expansive rivers where ceremonial offerings to Heaven were held include, in addition to the four holy mountains, those at the corners of the land. Mount Huang towers above the southeast region at a corner in relation to Mount Tai [in Shandong] and Mount Heng [in Hunan]. One can ascend its front side from Taiping. To enter it through the Yang Creek from my hometown Shexian, one can see beautiful cliffs and valleys, though it is actually the back of the mountain. I once discussed with Jienan, Yeren, and Wuyuan about the meaning of the character wu, and also touched upon that of the character du. The characters wu and yi are the same but written in reverse forms. The meaning of du are derived from that of xiang. See here the wu and du characters written in the current and the archaic seal script respectively. As to the towns of Gusu and Changwu in our time, Changwu on the east side still observes the ancient systems. How can I get some likeminded friends to explore this in detail? I just jotted down my thoughts at the end of this album for my young friend. Min
Lin Xiongguang 林熊光 (1897–1971) Langan miwan 朗庵秘玩 (Leaf A) Baosong Shi kaocang ji 寳宋室攷藏記 (Leaf II) Lei Zhai 磥齋 (Leaf J) Lei Zhai 磥齋 (Leaf JJ)
 Translation by Shi-yee Liu.
Lin Xiongguang Taiwanese, 1897–1971 and his descendants, Banqiao, Taiwan (until 1985; sale, Sotheby's New York, June 3, 1985, lot 44; to private collection, Canada); private collection , Canada (1985–2012; sale, Sothey's New York, March 22, 2012, lot 752; sold to MMA)