Dong Qichang revived the tenets of the scholar-painter: to follow the ancient models and to apply the principles of calligraphy to painting. In proposing a "great synthesis" of all ancient landscape idioms, Dong turned landscape forms into calligraphic abstractions. The most desirable element in painting, according to Dong, was brushwork rather than representation: "If one considers the wonders of brush and ink, real landscape can never equal painting."This painting is an interpretation of the Yuan master Ni Zan's (1306–1374) art. Dong Qichang regarded Ni's painting as a calligraphic abstraction of the tenth-century master Dong Yuan's style and used Dong Yuan's "hemp-fiber" texture strokes to re-create Ni Zan's brush landscape idiom.