Wild geese descending to sandbar

Unidentified artist

Not on view

Set in the modern province of Hunan, China, this landscape depicts a river valley and distant mountains with a flock of flying geese, the identifying marker of one of the most recognizable scenes from the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers theme. This theme attained renown within Chinese literary and artistic circles during the Song period. Although its fame on the continent receded over time, in Korea, monochrome ink paintings of the subject reached a new height of popularity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Indeed, early Joseon scrolls and screens illustrating the Eight Views represent Korean transformations of this classic theme.

This scroll would originally have been part of a set. The tripartite composition represents the standard iconography of this subject in early Joseon Korea. The style of the work is in the manner of An Gyeon, the preeminent fifteenth-century court artist. With its delicate and sophisticated brushwork, this painting is one of the finest extant landscapes from the period.

Wild geese descending to sandbar, Unidentified artist, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, Korea

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