Cloudy Mountains, late Yuan (1271–1368)–early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty, second half of 14th century
Fang Congyi (Chinese, ca. 1301–after 1378)
Handscroll; ink and color on paper; Image 10 3/8 x 57 in. (26.4 x 144.8 cm), Overall with mounting 10 5/8 x 336 1/4 in. (27 x 854.1 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1973 (1973.121.4)
The Daoist adept Fang Congyi (ca. 1301–after 1378) was active in the Upper Purity Temple at Mount Longhu (Dragon Tiger Mountain), Jiangxi Province, the center of the Zhengyi (Orthodox Unity) order. His mystical Cloudy Mountains diverges from the more restrained style of most Yuan literati, transforming a mountain range into a writhing dragon vein of energy that uncoils out of the distance only to vanish into a misty void. The Longhu area was described by Fang's contemporary Song Lian (1310–1381) as the capital of the immortals. The desire to find one's destiny in this realm was the driving force behind Daoist thought and art.