Two Views from the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers

Kantei Japanese

Not on view

One of the most popular subjects in traditional Chinese poetry and landscape painting is the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers. It highlights a region in southern China that was the source of a rich literary tradition and the locus of ancient myths and popular lore. Song Di (active 11th century), who retreated to the area after his dismissal from court in 1074, is reputed to have been the first to paint the site in a group of eight images. These codified scenes became popular in Japan, beginning in the Muromachi period.

Little is known about Kantei, the artist of these two paintings, save that he may have been a monk of the Ritsu sect of Buddhism, in Nara. It is apparent that both compositions, with their strong horizontal and vertical lines, were influenced by works of the master ink painter Sesshū Tōyō (1420–1506).

Two Views from the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers, Kantei (Japanese, active second half of 15th century), Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper, Japan

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