Wang Hui, like his teachers, believed that the study of old masters was the correct path to innovation. But, whereas Dong Qichang and Wang Shimin championed the impressionistic, abstract brushwork of Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) painters and their southern forebears, Wang Hui increasingly became interested in northern painters who used detailed, descriptive brushwork. This important handscroll, made in response to a work by Guan Tong (fl. ca. 907–923), signals the beginning of Wang’s intensive exploration of northern painting that would last the rest of his career. Wang believed that reconciling his teachers’ interests and his own would lead to a “great synthesis” in painting.DOCUMENTATIONArtist’s inscription and signature (6 columns in semi-cursive script): Once in the home of a noble family in Guangling [Yangzhou], I saw a small scroll by Guan Tong [active ca. 907–23]. [In it] clouds and peaks race together with a luxuriant and dense air. Truly, it pierced my heart and dazzled my eyes. Even today, I remember a few things from it. Accordingly I have followed its method to create this painting, Colors of Mount Taihang. I hope it captures the deep and heroic atmosphere of the north country, rather than merely postures with pretty details. Three days after the Mid-autumn Festival in the jiyou year [September 12, 1669] Wang Hui of Yushan [made] and inscribed [this painting]. 余從廣陵貴戚家見關仝尺幅， 雲巒奔會，神氣鬱密，真足洞心駭目。予今猶復記憶其一二，遂倣其法作太行山色，似有北地沈雄之氣，不以姿致取妍也。己酉中秋後三日虞山王翬並識。 Artist’s seals Shigu 石谷 Chen Hui 臣翬 Other inscription Wang Shimin 王時敏 (1592–1680), 1 column in large clerical script and 1 column in standard script, dated 1673; 2 seals: The Colors of Mount Taihang In the late spring of the guichou year  Wang Shimin of Loudong [Taicang] viewed [this painting] and therefore inscribed it. [Seals]: Wang Shimin yin, Yanke 太行山色癸丑暮春婁東王時敏觀因題。[印]: 王時敏印、煙客 Label strip Ziweng 自翁 (unidentified, 19th c.?), 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated: Shigu’s [Wang Hui] handscroll, The Colors of Mount Taihang. Divine class. In the Zhou family collection in Changsha [in Hunan Province]. Ziweng inscribed. 石谷《太行山色》卷，神品，長沙周氏珍藏，自翁題記。 Frontispiece Pan Yijun 潘奕雋 (1740–1830), 4 characters in large clerical script, 9 columns in standard script, dated 1816; 3 seals: A divine-class [work] by Shigu [Wang Hui]. On the twenty-sixth day of the fourth lunar month in the bingzi year of the Jiaqing reign era [May 22, 1816] Yijun inscribed this in the Hall of Three Pines. [Seals]: Huaqiao laopu, Pan yijun yin, Yi hu Mulan liang deng Taidai zai you Huanghai san su Wutai 石谷神品 嘉慶丙子四月下澣六日題於三松堂。奕雋 [印]: 華橋老圃、潘奕雋印、一扈木蘭兩登泰岱再遊黃海三宿五臺 Colophons 1. Chen Chongben陳崇本 (active ca. 1775–after 1815); 4 columns in semi-cursive script, undated: Fan Zhongli’s [Fan Kuan, ca. 990–1030] large hanging scroll, Traveling in Snowy Mountains, which I once owned, has long since entered the imperial collection. Its brushwork and that of this scroll are extremely similar. One may thus knowthat in his breast Gengyan [Wang Hui] had deeply attained the hills and valleys of the ancients. Therefore, when he put his brush [to silk, the result was] like this, extremely full. At the beginning is a title by Xilu Laoren [Wang Shimin], from which one may gather his delight in it. [Chen] Chongben recorded. 余所藏范中立《雪山行旅》大幅久入《石渠寶笈》。其筆法與此卷絕相類，始知耕煙胸中深具古人丘壑，故尓下筆如此沈厚。前有西廬老人題字，其為心賞可知也。崇本識。 2. Chen Chongben 陳崇本 (active ca. 1775–after 1815), 5 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1815; 1 seal: I recently obtained some imitations of the ancients by Gengyan [Wang Hui], four paintings [each measuring] about three feet square. Perhaps he intended them for a small standing screen showing the four seasons, but the silk, after more than a hundred years, has not yet been mounted. For the painting of the autumn scene he followed the same draft as for this Colors of Mount Taihang. I shall mount [thefour paintings] on two hanging scrolls to preserve them for my enjoyment. On the second day of the seventh lunar month in the Jiaqing reign era, the yihai year [August 6, 1815], recorded by [Chen] Chongben. [Seal]: Bogong suocang 近獲耕煙摹古四幀，方三尺許，乃作四時小屏幛，絹素經百餘年未裝。 其秋景一幀則用此太行山色稿本，爰付裝兩軸，以存心賞。 嘉慶乙亥 七月二日識。崇本 [印]: 伯恭所藏 Collectors’ seals Wang Shimin王時敏 (1592–1680) Xilu Laoren 西廬老人 Yanke zhenshang 煙客真賞 Wang Wenbo王文伯 (active ca. 1662–1722) Guxiang Lou cangbao 古香樓藏寳 Haiti shending zhenji 海梯審定真跡 Haiti shouding 海梯手定 Chen Chongben陳崇本 (active ca. 1775–after 1815) Chongben pingsheng zhenshang 崇本平生真賞 Shangqiu Chen Chongben shoucang yin 商邱陳崇本收藏印 Shangqiu 商邱 Xu Naipu許乃普 (1787–1866) Kanxi Zhai 堪喜齋 Diansheng suocang 滇生所藏 Kanxi Zhai shuhua yin 堪喜齋書畫印 Diansheng Naipu 滇生乃普 Chen Xu Naipu 臣許乃普 Chen Kuilin陳虁麟 (1855–1928) Chen Shaoshi xinhai hou jiancang 陳少石辛亥後鋻藏 Zhang Daqian張大千 (1899–1983) Dafeng Tang zhencang yin 大風堂珍藏印 Nan bei dong xi zhiyou xiangsui wu bieli 南北東西只有相隨無別離 Zhang Yuan 張爰 Daqian xi 大千璽 Wang Jiqian王季遷 (C.C. Wang, 1907–2003) Wang Jiqian haiwai suojian mingji 王季遷海外所見名跡 Wangshi Jiqian zhencang zhi yin 王氏季遷珍藏之印 Zhuli Guan 竹里館 Cengcang Wang Jiqian chu 曾藏王季遷處 Mu Si 穆思 (Earl Morse, 1908–1988) Mu Si shoucang mingji 穆思收藏名跡 Mu Si zhencang 穆思珍藏 Unidentified Shuotang zhenwan 碩堂珍玩 Yu shi suocang 于氏所藏 Yi zisun 宜子孫 Yuanshi fu 元士父 Hanlin xueshi 翰林學士 Fuxuan miji zhi yin 芾軒秘笈之印 Translation after Roderick Whitfield and Wen Fong, In Pursuit of Antiquity: Chinese Paintings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morse, Exh. cat. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum, 1969, cat. no. 14, p. 108. The Romanization has been changed from the Wade-Gile to the pinyin system.  Translation after Whitfield 1969, p. 109.  Ibid.