This album leaf presents a poetic evocation of one of the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers. The Eight Views became a popular subject for painters beginning in the late eleventh century after the Chan (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist monk Huihong (1071–1128) composed eight poems on these themes. His poem "Mountain Market, Clear with Rising Mist" offers vivid images for painters to interpret:Last night's rain is letting up, mountain air is heavy,Steam rising, sun and shadow, shifting lightamid trees;The silkworm market comes to a close, the crowdthins out,Roadside willows by the market bridge: goldenthreads play;Whose house with flower-filled plot is acrossthe valley?A smooth-tongued yellow bird calls in spring breeze;Wine flag in hazy distance-look and you can see:It's the one west of the road to Zhe Tree ReidgeValley.(Alfreda Murck, trans., in Images of the Mind[Princeton: The Art Museum, PrincetonUniversity, 1984], p. 226)In Xia Gui's interpretation, boldly executed brushstrokes and ink dots create an abstract language of visual signs rather than merely descriptive forms: the kinesthetic brushstrokes, which change effortlessly from outlines and foliage dots to wedge-shaped modeling strokes and ink wash, at once simplify and unify the landscape and human forms, breathing life into the moisture-drenched landscape. It was this brilliantly simplified idiom of ink wash and ax-cut brush that infused gesture with meaning, preparing the way for the expressive calligraphic revolution of the ensuing Yuan dynasty.