Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Cinnabar Chamber Deep in the Mountains

Hongren Chinese

Not on view

Hongren was the most important and original of the Anhui School artists. A filial son, he may have joined the resistance movement against the Manchu invaders before renouncing all worldly ties by becoming a Buddhist monk. His landscape painting, inspired by the spare linear style of the recluse-artist Ni Zan (1306–1374) and by the chiseled topography of Anhui’s Yellow Mountain, made him a leading individualist artist of the time.

This large scroll superbly embodies Hongren’s synthetic approach to painting. The central rock mass evokes eleventh-century monumental landscapes; the modular geometric structure of the central bluff and dry crumbly brushwork recall fourteenth-century masters’ formal experiments; and the arbitrary manipulation of scale reflects the late Ming disregard of naturalism.

Hongren painted this work as a birthday present for a friend. In his inscription he wishes the recipient longevity and refers to the main structure in the painting as the cinnabar chamber where the elixir of immortality was produced.

cat. no. 40

Cinnabar Chamber Deep in the Mountains, Hongren (Chinese, 1610–1664), Hanging scroll; ink and color 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.