The son of Mi Fu (1052–1107), Mi Youren was an accomplished scholar-artist and the leading connoisseur of his time, often acting as the authenticator of ancient paintings for the emperor. He rose to the position of vice president of the Board of War. The simplified, blurry mountain forms, which Mi Youren inherited from his father (there is no longer any reliable example of the older Mi's painted work), represent a significant break from the detailed Northern Sung landscape styles. Created with wet ink dots (called "Mi-family dots"), this style of landscape painting is the immediated predecessor of the evocative ink-wash landscape style of the later Southern Song period. Referred to by scholar-artists as "ink play," the style suggests the importance of the painter's psychological expression, thereby raising the status of painting to that of poetry and calligraphy.
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南宋 米友仁 雲山圖 卷
Artist:Mi Youren (Chinese, 1074–1151)
Period:Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
Medium:Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:Image: 10 7/8 × 22 7/16 in. (27.6 × 57 cm) Overall with mounting: 11 3/16 in. × 24 ft. 6 3/16 in. (28.4 × 747.2 cm)
Credit Line:Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1973
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
The Cloudy Mountains by Mi Yuanhui (Mi Youren) of the Song dynasty (960‒1279), a genuine work of the divine class. Treasured in the collection of [Xu] Bangda (1911‒2012), inscribed by [Wu] Hufan. [Seal]: Qian’an
1. Wang Jie 王介 (active ca. 1200), 7 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1200:
Mi Yuanhui’s (Mi Youren) painting is very much like the calligraphy of the two Wangs [Wang Xizhi王羲之, 303‒361, and Wang Xianzhi王獻之, 344‒385], in which the characters have exemplary forms but appear spontaneous. Running into a scenic site of villages in cloudy mountains on his trip, he picked up the brush to make a painting and presented it to the emperor, who then bestowed it to a contemporary scholar of the Erying Ge Pavilion [in the palace]. Now it is in my collection. Ah! All those people have passed away, though the painting still remains. I will treasure it with respect to ensure its transmission to future generations. On the Chufu Day [in mid-July] of the gengshen year in the Qingyuan reign (1200), Mo’an, Shengyu (Wang Jie) from Langya [in Shandong Province] made the note.
2. Xianyu Shu 鮮于樞 (1257‒1302), 11 columns in running-cursive script, dated 1290; 4 seals:
Poetry critics say that if one has ten ideas but puts into words only three, one may then compare with the Li sao and the Odes. I think the same is true with painting. An artisan's painting is short in ideas but good at capturing formal likeness, which is opposite to the works of lofty and superior scholars. The paintings by the two Mis are of the latter kind. In this piece of paper, if one speaks of clear delineation then anyone can do it. But in the representation of trees and sloping banks, the color of the grass echoes that of the earth, and the ideas embedded in the stretch of river shore lie beyond the actual brushwork, which no one can match. In the summer, the fifth day of the sixth month, of the gengyin year in the Zhiyuan reign (July 12, 1290), the Retired Official in Hangzhou (Xianyu Shu) wrote this in his Kunxue Zhai Studio. [Seals]: Xuanyu, Boji zhi yin, Hulin Yinli, Zhongshan houren
Wang Jiqian王季遷 (C. C. Wang, 1907‒2003) Wang Jiqian haiwai suojian mingji 王季遷海外所見名跡 Wang Jiqian yin 王季遷印 Jiqian jianding 季遷鑒定 Wang shi Jiqian zhencang zhi yin 王氏季遷珍藏之印 Jiqian xinshang 季遷心賞 Zhenze Wang shi Baowu Tang tushu ji 震澤王氏寳武堂圖書記 Zhenze Wang shi Jiqian shoucang yin 震澤王氏季遷收藏印 Huaiyun Lou jianshang shuhua zhi ji 懷雲樓鑒賞書畫之記 Huaiyun Lou 懷雲樓 Zhuli Guan 竹里舘 Wu zhong yi huaren 吳中一畫人
Xu Bangda徐邦達 (1911‒2012) Xinyuan Caotang 心遠草堂
Unidentified Yefang Ting qingshang 野芳亭清賞 Jianding zhenji 鑒定真跡 ? shi ?? zisun yong bao zhi □氏□□子孫永寳之 Qiangua 乾卦 Qianshen huashi (four times) 前身畫師 Qian 歉 Xinyu 新宇 Liu cao huo ? 柳草活□ ? hua ? you □畫□友 Han Taizhongdafu shijia 漢太中大夫世家 Wuhuai Daoren 無懷道人
 Translation by Shi-yee Liu.
 Translation by Wen Fong, in Wen Fong with Marilyn Fu, Sung and Yuan Paintings, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973, p. 63.
 There was no wuzi year during the Zhengtong reign era. It may be a mistake for the wuwu year (1438).
[ C. C. Wang Family , New York, until 1973; sold to MMA]
New York. Asia House Gallery. "The Art of Southern Sung China," 1962.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Song and Yuan Paintings: Exhibition of Newly Acquired Chinese Paintings," November 1, 1973–January 20, 1974.
London. British Museum. "Song and Yuan Paintings," November 7, 1975–January 4, 1976.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the C.C.Wang Family Collection," September 2, 1999–January 9, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1–August 20, 2000.
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. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10–August 26, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632–1717)," September 9, 2008–January 4, 2009.
London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700–1900," October 26, 2013–January 19, 2014.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Rotation Two)," May 7–October 11, 2016.
Sun Zubai 孫祖白. Mi fu, Mi youren 米芾, 米友仁 (Mi Fu, Mi Youren) Shanghai: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 1962, pl. 15.
Midian zhulin shiqu baoji sanbian 秘殿珠林石渠寶笈三編 (Catalogue of painting and calligraphy in the Qianlong imperial collection, third series). Preface dated 1816. Facsimile reprinted of an original manuscript copy. 10 vols. vol. 3, Taipei: National Palace Museum, 1969, pp. 1452–54.
Fong, Wen C., and Marilyn Fu. Sung and Yuan Paintings. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973, pp. 62–64, 74–75, 141–42, 138, cat. no. 6.
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. 4, cat. no. A1-011.
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. 45–46, 179, fig. 11.
Fong, Wen C. Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 166–67, pl. 21.
Weitz, Ankeney. Zhou Mi's Record of Clouds and Mist Passing Before One's Eyes: An Annotated Tanslation. Leiden: Brill, 2002, p. 267, cat. no. 1.163, fig. 23.
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