This album demonstrates Dong Qichang's interpretation of the entire spectrum of Song and Yuan styles using a set of contrasting brushstroke methods, which could also be used for depicting actual landscapes. The great theorist and painter took as his point of departure the works of the Yuan master Ni Zan (1306–1374), whose paintings were regarded as calligraphic abstractions of earlier Song styles. In the first two leaves, Dong contrasts—in what he regards as the early and late styles of Ni Zan's art—an "earthen" landscape (round, parallel, "hemp-fiber" brushstrokes) with a "rocky" one (angular, oblique, "folded-ribbon" brushstrokes). In successive leaves, Dong juxtaposes various "earthen" and "rocky" themes in order to evoke different paradigmatic styles of the Northern Song period.
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明 董其昌 山水圖 冊
Title:Landscapes after old masters
Artist:Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636)
Period:Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Medium:Album of eight leaves; ink on paper
Dimensions:Image (each): 9 5/8 x 6 5/16 in. (24.4 x 16 cm)
Credit Line:Edward Elliott Family Collection, Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1986
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures
Leaf BB (3 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1630):
These two landscapes embody the essence of Ni Yuanzhen’s [Ni Zan, 1306–1374] painting. Painted in the sixth lunar month of the gengwu year  while staying in Gusu [Suzhou].
Leaf D (3 columns in standard script):
Solitary Temple amid Streams and Mountains in imitation of Juran’s [active 10th c.] brushwork. Xuanzai
Leaf E (2 columns in standard script):
Lofty Scholar in a Mountain Retreat. Xuanzai
Leaf G (5 columns in standard script):
Smoke from chimneys merges into lingering mist, Revealing a glimpse of a pavilion by the pines. In the pavilion is a man who has attained tranquility, Reading the Vimalakirti sutra by himself. Xuanzai
炊煙連宿靄，隱隱見松亭。 亭中有靜者，單讀淨名經。 玄宰
Leaf H (2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1630):
On the ninth day of the ninth lunar month of the gengwu year  I painted these eight scenes. The seventy-six-year-old man.
Leaf HH (6 columns in semi-cursive script):
Since the fourth month of the dingchou year , when I started learning to paint, until the gengwu year , fifty-two years have passed. Although the quality of my painting has not been evaluated with certainty, the time I have spent is long, longer than any other painter. In ancient times, the Buddha preached the dharma for forty-nine years, yet still it was said that the Wheel of the Law had not been fully turned. How could I be any different? So there must people who think [definitive] Dong painting has yet to appear. Xuanzai
Dong Zuyuan 董祖原 (active early 17th c.) Nan Zuyuan zhencang 男祖原珍藏 [Leaf A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H]
Pan Yijun 潘奕隽 (1740–1830) Gu Wu Pan shi Sansong Tang shoucang jingji jinshi shuhua ji 古吳潘氏三松堂收藏經籍金石書畫記
Pan Zunqi 潘遵祁 (1808–1892) Zunqi zhencang 遵祁珍藏
Pao Chong 袌沖 ( active late 19th–early 20th c.) Pao Chong zhenshang 袌沖真賞
Unidentified Huang (Half seal) 黃 [Leaf A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H]
 Translations from Department records unless noted otherwise.  Translation from James Cahill, ed., The Restless Landscape: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Period. University Art Museum, Berkeley, 1971, p. 165, cat. no. 36. Modified.
Edward Elliott Family Collection (by 1971–1981; sold to Dillion); Douglas Dillon American, New York (1981–1986; on loan to MMA from 1981 until donated to MMA)
University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "The Restless Landscape: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Period," November 9, 1971–January 2, 1972.
Princeton University Art Museum. "Images of the Mind: Selections from the Edward L. Elliot Family and John B. Elliott Collections of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting at the Art Museum, Princeton University," April 15–June 17, 1984.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Images of the Mind: Selections from the Edward L. Elliot Family and John B. Elliott Collections of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting at the Art Museum, Princeton University," September 18, 1987–January 10, 1988.
Kansas City. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. "The Century of Dong Qichang," April 19–June 14, 1992.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Century of Dong Qichang," July 6–September 20, 1992.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Century of Dong Qichang," October 15, 1992–January 3, 1993.
New York. China Institute in America. "The Life of a Patron: Zhou Lianggong and the Painters of 17th Century China," October 19, 1996–December 21, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23–August 16, 1999.
New York. China Institute in America. "A Modern Literati's Life," February 12, 1999–June 20, 1999.
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. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12–August 8, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632–1717)," September 9, 2008–January 4, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China," August 26, 2017–January 6, 2019.
Shanghai Museum. "丹青寶筏： 董其昌书画艺术大展," December 7, 2018–March 10, 2019.
Cahill, James. The Distant Mountains: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Dynasty, 1570–1644. New York: Weatherhill, 1982, pp. 110–11, pls. 47–49.
Cahill, James. The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in Seventeenth-Century Chinese painting. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982, p. 51, pl. 2.17.
Fong, Wen C. et al. Images of the Mind: Selections from the Edward L. Elliott Family and John B. Elliott Collections of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting at the Art Museum, Princeton University. Exh. cat. Princeton, N.J.: Art Museum, Princeton University in association with Princeton University Press, 1984, pp. 174–75, figs. 145a–d.
Gao Juhan (James Cahill) 高居翰. Shan wai shan: wan Ming huihua 1570–1644 山外山：晚明繪畫（1570–1644) (The distant mountains: Chinese painting of the late Ming dynasty, 1570–1644) Translated by Wang Jiaji 王嘉驥. Taipei: Shitou chuban gongsi, 1997, pp. 146–49, pls. 4.19, 4.20, 4.21.
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