The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan)

Li Huasheng Chinese

Not on view

Li Huasheng made this impressionistic image of the Heavenly Capital Peak (Tiandu feng) of the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) after he visited the site in 1980. Though Li’s sketchbooks from that time indicate that he found Huangshan inspiring, the inscription on this painting reveals his discomfort with the rise of tourism and the economic inequality it brought with it. The poem reads (in part):

Thousands of steps climbing to Heaven’s gate.
Tourists sit around, suffering from food too rich;
In the workers’ mouths: dry biscuit crumbs,
Their calloused hands painfully drawing water from the mountain stream,
Their dark sleeves sweat-drenched, by their own salt whitened.
— Translation after Jerome Silbergeld and Gong Jisui

The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan), Li Huasheng (Chinese, 1944–2018), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

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