Dai Benxiao Chinese

Not on view

All his life Dai pursued a dry, softly textured style, creating evocative images of Daoist reclusion and high-minded self-cultivation. This album, one of the finest examples of Dai’s art, is stylistically datable to his late maturity, circa 1690. In traditional fashion, the album concludes with a snowscape. Dai’s final words on that leaf makes it clear that the intent of his painting is self-expression as well as representation.

I clean my inkstone not just to paint,
But to reveal the images in my mind.

Landscapes, Dai Benxiao (Chinese, 1621–1693), Album of twelve leaves; ink on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.

Regarding [the officials] Gao [Tao] and Kui versus [the hermits] Chao [Fu] and Xu [You], Serving and withdrawing are essentially the same. While heaven’s bounty does indeed exist within the mountains, Each man has to follow his own will. The energy between heaven and earth circulates through the caves and valleys. Laughing to myself [I think], “Why don’t I use this old brush to penetrate them and show people!”