Art/ Collection/ Art Object

鄭旼 黃山八景 水墨紙本 九開冊
Eight views of the Yellow Mountains

Zheng Min (Chinese, 1633–1683)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Album of nine leaves of painting and calligraphy; ink on paper
Image (leaf a): 9 1/2 × 5 1/2 in. (24.1 × 14 cm)
Overall with mounting (a): 12 1/4 × 14 5/8 in. (31.1 × 37.1 cm)
Overall with mounting (leaves b–h): 12 1/8 × 14 3/8 in. (30.8 × 36.5 cm)
Image (i frontispiece): 10 1/8 × 12 1/4 in. (25.7 × 31.1 cm)
Image (j inscription by the artist): 10 3/8 × 12 1/2 in. (26.4 × 31.8 cm)
Overall with mounting (i and j): 14 5/8 × 12 1/4 in. (37.1 × 31.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift and Susan Dillon Gift, in honor of James C. Y. Watt, 2012
Accession Number:
Not on view
In the seventeenth century, painters from Anhui began to exploit the album’s special qualities to represent the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan), vista by vista, one leaf at a time. This example, by the relatively little-known artist Zheng Min, ranks among the best Huangshan albums; its compositional originality and subtle brushwork unfolds over a journey of eight distinct parts. Zheng Min combined the signature dry brush technique of the Anhui School’s founder Hongren with subtle ink washes to create a less austere, more descriptive style. Adding to the album’s appeal is the artist’s lengthy inscription, on the final leaf,which explains the story of the album’s creation.

In this long inscription, written to accompany the album, Zheng Min explains the circumstances of its creation: [Summary]: In 1681, Zheng was approached by a younger friend named Chuzhen, who asked the master to paint two albums: one for him, and one for a friend. He obliged, painting this album for Chuzhen in the hopes of spurring his interest in Mount Huang, where the young man had never been. Zheng Min himself had been there only twice, the most recent trip more than seven years earlier. He painted this album from memory. In his inscription, he writes, “In the future, after all his children get married, if Chuzhen ever travels there, I hope he will take this album with him to check against the actual sites. I will then become his tour guide.”
—Trans. by Shi-yee Liu
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures (69 columns in standard script and 1 column in seal script)

Leaf A (5 columns in standard script):

Pines at the Heavenly Gate

Passing through perils, I arrive at the Heavenly Gate,
Where two pines stand upright and calm.
They soothe my thoughts at this moment;
Planting my staff, I bow to them with respect.


Leaf AA (8 columns in standard script):

The Reclining-dragon Pine


Sunrise at the Heavenly Gate



Leaf B (1 column in seal script):

Fishing Terrace


Leaf BB (6 columns in standard script):

The Pavilion of Playful Waves


The poem to the right was composed when I first visited the White-dragon Pool in Mount Huang in search of Master Wenzhen’s [Zheng Yu, 1298–1355] Fishing Terrace in the gengxu year [1670]. Inscribed by Min again.


Leaf CC (3 columns in standard script):

Composed on reaching the summit of the Lotus Peak.


Leaf DD (6 columns in standard script):

Immortal’s Bridge


Spring of Sounding Strings



Leaf EE (5 columns in standard script):

Stele of King Xuanyuan



Leaf FF (2 columns in standard script):

Nine-dragon Pool


Leaf GG (2 columns in standard script):

Twisting-dragon Pine


Leaf H (12 columns in standard script):

Ode to the Heavenly Citadel Peak

Painted and inscribed by Min in the autumn, the seventh lunar month, of the xinyou year [1681].




Leaf HH (6 columns in standard script):

Gazing at the Heavenly Citadel Peak



Leaves I & II (14 columns in standard script, dated 1681):

In the summer, the fifth lunar month, of the xinyou year [1681] my young friend Chuzhen returned from the West River [Xi Jiang, in modern Guangxi and Guangdong provinces] and asked me to paint two albums that he brought, one for Min Yi An and the other for his own enjoyment. The sweltering heat of the time made it difficult for me to make paintings. When autumn rain came and cooled the air, I painted the scenic sites along the West River for Yi An. Then I painted these intimate sceneries of Mount Huang for Chuzhen, and appended my writings from the journeys to complement the paintings. I have traveled very little in my life. Except for Gusu [Suzhou] and Baimen [Nanjing], I haven’t been anywhere north of the Yangzi River. Since the dynastic change [in 1644], I have become even less active and haven’t ventured beyond forty li from home. The only exceptions are my two trips to Mount Huang in the gengxu [1670] and the guichou [1673] years. I searched almost all the sites there, as any native of Shexian [in Anhui, near Mount Huang] should. Since Chuzhen has never been to Mount Huang, I painted its scenery to spur his interest. But he had traveled to the West River and enjoyed its landscape day by day, so there is no need of my painting, which can appropriately go to Yi An. In the future after all his children get married, if Chuzhen ever travels there, I hope he will take this album with him to check against the actual sites. I will then become his tour guide. According to ancient documents, the high mountains and expansive rivers where ceremonial offerings to Heaven were held include, in addition to the four holy mountains, those at the corners of the land. Mount Huang towers above the southeast region at a corner in relation to Mount Tai [in Shandong] and Mount Heng [in Hunan]. One can ascend its front side from Taiping. To enter it through the Yang Creek from my hometown Shexian, one can see beautiful cliffs and valleys, though it is actually the back of the mountain. I once discussed with Jienan, Yeren, and Wuyuan about the meaning of the character wu, and also touched upon that of the character du. The characters wu and yi are the same but written in reverse forms. The meaning of du are derived from that of xiang. See here the wu and du characters written in the current and the archaic seal script respectively. As to the towns of Gusu and Changwu in our time, Changwu on the east side still observes the ancient systems. How can I get some likeminded friends to explore this in detail? I just jotted down my thoughts at the end of this album for my young friend.[1] Min


Artist's seals

Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf AA, BB)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf A, E)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf BB, HH)
Mu, qian 穆, 倩 (Leaf B)
Zheng, Min 鄭, 旼 (Leaf C)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf C)
Zheng Min zhi yin 鄭旼之印 (Leaf CC, H)
Mu, qian 穆, 倩 (Leaf D)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf DD)
Zheng Min zhi yin 鄭旼之印 (Leaf DD, FF, GG)
Mu, qian 穆, 倩 (Leaf EE)
Xinmao 辛卯 (Leaf F)
Mu Daoren 慕道人 (Leaf F)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf F)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf G)
Zailairen 再來人 (Leaf G)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf GG)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf H)
Muqian 穆倩 (Leaf HH)
Zheng Gong xiang 鄭公鄉 (Leaf I)
Zheng Muqian shuhua ke 鄭慕倩書畫課 (Leaf II)


Deng Shi 鄧實(1877–1951), 24 columns in standard script (Leaf J, JJ):

慕道人畫名不甚著,諸家書畫錄幾遺之,余極力蒐羅,得此寄黃山汪扶晨《九龍潭圖》,又得其《仿古山水十二冊》 及 《拾橡圖》 小幅,至為珍惜。蓋自前清乾隆中葉,畫道中靡,畫院諸臣皆習於熟輭一派,以爲應制體應爾,朝野皆慕虛榮,以故盛推四王,而壓置明末諸遺老。蓋以煙客、廉州皆江左名門望族,石谷曾供奉内庭,繪《南巡圖》,麓臺高官重位,領袖畫院。世人多以耳為目,震於聲勢,群相推許,顯赫一時。而野老遺民如八大、二石、半千、年少、大風、老蓮、尺木、慕倩之儔,皆以布衣窮老,不求聞達,寄情筆墨,詞多憤慨。當時士夫歌頌太平,畏聞激語,深恐得禍,因是赫奕之品聲聞日著,枯寂一路過問無人。是則畫品之高下不以清俗為衡,而以貴賤為斷,習染相傳,繪事日退有由矣。夫繪事之優劣,非有具眼真鋻,豈能懸斷。苟謂四王、湯、戴之作必遠勝於明末各家,何以易國而觀東瀛,即不收四王、湯、戴,而轉重值購青主、龍友、石齋、半千、石濤,可知貴賤帝王之見,越國即消除。比較參觀,真知乃出。余非謂四王之功力非不深,至點染非不悅目,然祇覺皴擦濃厚、邱壑渾円而已,終不如逸人隱士寥寥數筆,畫外自有無限意味,耐人尋賞不盡也。節錄 《輯錄餘譚》。(鄧實)

Collector’s seals

Lin Xiongguang 林熊光 (1897–1971)
Langan miwan 朗庵秘玩 (Leaf A)
Baosong Shi kaocang ji 寳宋室攷藏記 (Leaf II)
Lei Zhai 磥齋 (Leaf J)
Lei Zhai 磥齋 (Leaf JJ)

[1] Translation by Shi-yee Liu.
Lin Xiongguang Taiwaneseand his descendants, Banqiao, Taiwan (until 1985; sale, Sotheby's New York, June 3, 1985, lot 44; to private collection, Canada); private collection , Canada (1985–2012; sale, Sotheby's New York, March 22, 2012, lot 752; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.

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