Streams and Mountains after Rain

Artist: Wu Li (1632-1718)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1704
Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink on paper
H x W (image): 132.6 x 31.1 cm (52 3/16 x 12 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, landscape, mountain, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Provenance research underway.

Although he received a traditional Chinese education, Wu Li was exposed to Catholicism in his youth and later became attracted to a life of religious commitment. In 1688, after several years of intense study, he was among the first Chinese ordained as a Jesuit priest. Devoting himself to missionary work, from 1695 to 1704 he was stationed in Jiading in Jiangsu Province, where he painted this scroll on the eve of his departure for nearby Shanghai. In his inscription, Wu Li explains that he created this painting to encourage a local friend in his attachment to the Catholic faith.

From the Chinese perspective, it was natural to employ this work for such a purpose, for landscape painting was felt to embody not only an artist's intellectual and aesthetic values but also the moral principles that sustained him. Wu Li studied painting together with Wang Hui (1632-1717). Under the tutelage of Wang Shimin and Wang Jian, he absorbed an enduring regard for the Song and Yuan dynasty masters, especially Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), whose style, as in the painting, came to permeate his own. Wu Li is included among the Six Orthodox Masters of the Early Qing.

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 252.
  • Victoria Contag. Chinese Masters of the 17th Century. Rutland, Vermont. pl. 14.
  • Kathleen Yang. Through a Chinese Connoisseur's Eye: Private Notes of C.C. Wang. Beijing. p.339, fig.120.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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