During the chaotic years following the collapse of the Tang dynasty in 907, centralized rule was shattered and China splintered into a number of short-lived kingdoms. Among the most important of these was the Southern Tang dynasty (937–75), which governed much of the lower Yangzi River delta from its capital at Nanjing. It was there that a distinctive “southern” style of landscape painting developed under the court official and artist Dong Yuan.
Riverbank epitomizes Dong Yuan’s new style, with its absence of contour lines and use of subtle ink washes and soft-rubbed texture strokes to describe the distinctive rounded hills and earthen slopes of southeastern China. The depiction of a scholar-hermit living in elegant reclusion likewise established a lasting thematic ideal. Darkened with age, the scroll, the tallest of all surviving early Chinese landscape paintings, marks the majestic inception of the monumental landscape tradition.
The scroll was split in two along its vertical seam during the fourteenth century. The left-hand side of the composition, with its tall foreground trees backed by an impenetrable screen of thrusting and twisting mountain forms, inspired a major revival of the Dong Yuan style among scholar-artists of the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368).
Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (己千，C. C. Wang, 1907–2003) 王季遷海外所見名跡 (twice) 季遷心賞
Zhang Daqian Chinese; C. C. Wang Family , New York (until 1997; sold to Tang); Oscar L. Tang Family , New York (1997– 2016; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
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New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cultivated Landscapes: Reflections of Nature in Chinese Painting with Selections from the Collection of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill," September 10, 2002–February 9, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12–August 8, 2004.
National Palace Museum. "Grand View: Painting and Calligraphy of the Northern Sung," July 1, 2006–September 25, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632–1717)," September 9, 2008–January 4, 2009.
Shanghai Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Tang, Song and Yuan Paintings from America," November 3, 2012–January 3, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Rotation Two)," May 7–October 11, 2016.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Up Close," January 25, 2020–June 27, 2021.
Guo Wei 郭威, ed. Dafeng Tang mingji 大風堂名蹟 (Masterpieces from the collection of the Dafeng Tang Studio) [Taipei?]: Yayun Tang, 1954, vol. 4, pl. 1.
Cahill, James. An Index of Early Chinese Painters and Paintings: T'ang, Sung, and Yüan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.
Suzuki Kei 鈴木敬, ed. Chûgoku kaiga sogo zuroku: Daiikan, Amerika-Kanada Hen 中國繪畫總合圖錄: 第一卷 アメリカ - カナダ 編 (Comprehensive illustrated catalog of Chinese paintings: vol. 1 American and Canadian collections) Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1982, p. 90, cat. no. A14-001.
Barnhart, Richard M. Along the Border of Heaven: Sung and Yüan Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983, pp. 28–33; 153, 179, figs. 1–3, 72.
Xie Zhiliu 謝稚柳. Dong Yuan Juran he ji 董源巨然合集 (Collected works of Dong Yuan and Juran) Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 1984, pp. 7–8.
Hearn, Maxwell K., and Wen C. Fong. Along the Riverbank: Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 2, 10–11, 73–74, pls. 1a–d.
Silbergeld, Jerome, and Dora C. Y. Ching, eds. The Family Model in Chinese Art and Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 276, figs. 1–2.
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