Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, undated:
1. Feng Zizhen馮子振 (1257–after 1327), 11 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 3 seals:
Layered mists and dense fog obscure storied pavilions;
Many sandy islets overlook the desolate expanse.
The old tree's spirit will last a thousand years;
The moist washes and the manner [of the trees] are as enduring as metal and rock.
Amid the duckweed of misty islands, skiffs moor for the night,
And still along the cold river bamboo grows.
Of the honorable Guo [Xi]’s [paintings of] level vistas, few remain.
How treasured the master-painter's works should be!
Haisu [Feng Zizhen] [Seals]: Zizhen, Haisu, Guai guai daoren
海粟 [印]： 子振、海粟、怪怪道人
2. Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫 (1254–1322), 3 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 1 seal:
子昂 [印]： 趙氏子昂
3. Yu Ji 虞集 (1272–1348), 3 columns in standard script, undated:
4. Ke Jiusi柯九思 (1290–1343), 3 columns in semi-cursive script, undated:
5. Liu Guan柳貫 (1270–1342), 3 columns in standard script, undated; 1 seal:
柳貫 [印]: 柳氏道傳
6. Yan Yaohuan 顏堯煥 (14th c.), 12 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 3 seals:
Su Shi [1037–1101] once wrote the poem:
In Jade Hall, dawn is shaded even on an idle spring day,
within there is Guo Xi's painting of spring mountains.
Now Wen Yanbo, the Duke of Lu, had written a colophon on a painting by Guo Xi, and then Old Su Shi had composed a poem after this colophon. These two gentlemen were brilliant and famous officials of their time, but to be able to see such inscriptions nowadays-it is no longer possible! More than one painting by Guo Xi exists, however: take time to examine this Autumn Trees in a Level Distance [as he called Old Trees, Level Distance]. Its materials are from between the Baoyuan [1038–39] and the Yuanyou [1086-93] eras, now returned to the Route Commander Old Shi Donggao's writing table after three hundred years. Old Dong has obtained that which is rarely obtained; this painting has also encountered that which is rarely encountered; I too am able to see that which is rarely seen. For this reason I write him this poem in remembrance:
The fascination of Guo Xi's painting lies not in its colors,
white rocks, withered rafts pillowed by the currents.
This level distance contains sentiments in its illusory lands,
its inscriptions enhance our distance from the past.
On a single layer of white silk, clouds astir and flowing,
for three hundred years and more, the stars have made several revolutions.
Holding [the scroll] with Donggao, we often spread it out in appreciation,
together with our lutes and books, we happily roam.
Yan Yaohuan [Seals]: Yan Yaohuan zhang, Mingke, Jingxue
顏堯煥 [印]： 顏堯煥章、明可、敬學
7. Zuming 祖銘 (1280–1358), 8 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1350; 2 seals:
至正庚寅十月望日徑山鼎翁祖銘 [印]： 妙喜五世、四明應古鼎祖銘寶藏
8. Wang Shizhen王世貞 (1526–1590), 11 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 2 seals:
右郭熙 《樹色平遠圖》 一卷，按熙河陽溫人，渠宗若虛稱其施為巧瞻，位置淵深，雖復學慕營丘，亦能自放胸臆，巨障高壁多多益壯。至宣和帝則盛推李成，而謂熙與范寬、王詵雖自成名，僅得一體。然熙之傳世者多號平遠，與若虛所記頗不同。余嘗得戴文進倣熙巻，絕愛之，時置几案間，以當臥遊之樂。今覽此畫，乃知文進尚有蹊徑也。孤亭木末，平楚蒼然，遙艇小橋，時自映帶，若深若淺，或晦或明，幾欲置身此間，文進三舍矣。巻尾趙松雪、虞道園、馮海粟、柯丹丘輩皆勝國名士，恨語不甚稱耳。吳郡王世貞題。 [印]： 王元美印、天弢居士
9. Chen Yan 陳演 (died 1644), 1 column in clerical script, undated; 1 seal:
10. Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1955; 2 seals:
郭河陽 《樹色平遠》，無上希有，大風堂供養。乙未七月既望曝畫因記。蜀人張爰大千父 [印]： 張爰長壽、大千富昌大吉
Song Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 (r. 1101–1125)
Xuanghe zhongmi 宣和中秘
Wang Shizhen 王世貞 (1526–1590)
Wang Yuanmei yin 王元美印
You Ming Wang shi tushu zhi yin 有明王氏圖書之印
Qiankun qingshang 乾坤清賞
Tiantao Jushi 天弢居士
Zhen yuan 貞元
Sun Chengze 孫承澤(1592–1676)
Sun Chengze yin 孫承澤印
Liang Qingbiao 梁清標 (1620–1691)
Jiaolin Jushi 蕉林居士
Liang shi 梁氏
Jiaolin Shuwu 蕉林書屋
Jiaolin jianding 蕉林鑒定
Jiaolin miwan 蕉林秘玩
Guan qi dalue 觀其大略
Suo E’tu 索額圖 (ca. 1636–1703)
Jiuru qingwan 九如清玩
Yougu Xuan (3 times) 友古軒
Yuci Zhongxiao Tang Changbai Shan Suo shi zhencang 御賜忠孝堂長白山索氏珍藏
Ye Yuan zhenshang 也園珍賞
Aerxipu 阿爾喜普(active late 17th – early 18th c.)
Aerxipu zhi yin 阿爾喜普之印
Qing emperor Qianlong 清帝乾隆 (r. 1736–95)
Shiqu baoji 石渠寶笈
Yangxin Dian jiancang bao 養心殿鑒藏寶
Qianlong yulan zhi bao 乾隆御覽之寶
Qing emperor Jiaqing 清帝嘉慶 (r. 1796–1820)
Jiaqing yulan zhi bao 嘉慶御覽之寶
Qing emperor Xuantong 清帝宣統 (r. 1909–11)
Xuantong yulan zhi bao宣統御覽之寶
Zhang Daqian 張大千(1899–1983)
Zhang Yuan siyin 張爰私印
Dafeng Tang yin 大風堂印
Cang zhi Daqian 藏之大千
Qiu tu bao gurou qing 球圖寶骨肉情
Bufu guren gao houren 不復古人告後人
Zhang Yuan 張爰
Daqian Jushi 大千居士
Bieshi rongyi 別時容易
Diguo zhi fu 敵國之富
Dafeng Tang gongyang 大風堂供養
Nan bei dong xi zhi ren 南北東西之人
Jichou yihou suode 己丑以後所得
Nan bei dong xi zhiyou xiangsui wu bieli 南北東西只有相隨無別離
Xu Wenbo 徐雯波 (born 1931)
Zhang Xu Wenbo 張徐雯波
Hongpin Tang ji (twice) 鴻嬪堂記
Xu shi xiaoyin 徐氏小印
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988)
Hanguang Ge zhu Gu Luofu jiancang Zhongguo gudai shuhua zhi zhang 漢光閣主顧洛阜鑒藏中國古代書畫之章
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜
Hanguang Ge 漢光閣
Zhuo zhi ? 棁之囗
Xianyi tushu zhi yin 賢頤圖書之印
Gu shi ? ge zhencang 顧氏囗閣珍藏
 Translation from Shen Fu, Traces of the brush: studies in Chinese calligraphy, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1977, no. 19, p. 254. Slightly modified.
Translation from Ping Foong, “Guo Xi's Intimate Landscapes and the Case of Old Trees, Level Distance.” Metropolitan Museum Journal vol. 35 (2000), pp. 87–112, at p. 100.
Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," April 17, 1986–June 1, 1986.
Kobe City Museum. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," June 7, 1986–July 13, 1986.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.
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. "Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy," March 12, 2005–August 14, 2005.
Taipei. National Palace Museum. "Grand View: Painting and Calligraphy of the Northern Sung," December 25, 2006–March 25, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 10, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection II," May 7, 2016–October 11, 2016.