Summer Mountains

Artist: Attributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, active ca. 1023–ca. 1056)

Period: Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)

Date: ca. 1050

Culture: China

Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk

Dimensions: Image: 17 7/8 × 45 3/8 in. (45.4 × 115.3 cm)
Overall with mounting: 18 1/4 in. × 23 ft. 2 in. (46.4 × 706.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of The Dillon Fund, 1973

Accession Number: 1973.120.1


Between the years 900 and 1100, Chinese paint­ers created visions of landscape that depicted the sublimity of creation. Viewers are meant to identify with the human figures in these paintings. In Summer Mountains, travelers make their way toward a temple retreat. The central mountain sits in commanding majesty, like an emperor among his subjects, the culmination of nature’s hierarchy. The advanced use of texture strokes and ink wash suggests that Summer Mountains is by a master working about 1050, a date corroborated by collec­tors’ seals belonging to the Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101–25), whose paintings catalogue re­cords three works entitled Summer Scenery by the otherwise unknown artist Qu Ding.