Cloudy Valley Retreat in the Yellow Mountains

Artist: Hongren (1610-1664)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, mid 17th century
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 84.3 x 42.4 cm (33 3/16 x 16 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

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

Around 1646, shortly after the downfall of the Ming dynasty and the establishment of the Qing, the young scholar Jiang Tao became a Chan (Zen) monk and took the religious name of Hongren. He developed a unique style of landscape depiction and is considered one of the most important individualistic artists of the seventeenth century. Hongren traveled extensively in southern China, but the location that most captured his imagination was the isolated Yellow Mountain range in his native Anhui Province. With their bare granite peaks and deeply fissured cliffs, the Yellow Mountains became an emotional sanctuary for him. In this painting, the distinctive rock contours rendered with sharp, angular brushstrokes and the repetitive use of overlapping rectilinear forms are typical of Hongren's style, which is particularly suited to describing the terrain of the Yellow Mountains. This unusually dense scene was created at Cloudy Valley Temple, one of Hongren's frequent stopping places in the Yellow Mountains.

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 252.
  • Chang Wanli, Hu Jen-mou. The Selected Works of Famous Painters in Chinese History. 4 vols., Hong Kong. pl. 9.
  • Chi-sheng Kuo. The Paintings of Hung-jen. 2 vols. Ann Arbor. pl. 59.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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