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A landscape of the mind
October 1, 2011 10:32 AM   Subscribe

''Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains'' is the greatest surviving masterpiece by Huang Gongwang (黄公望 1269-1354), one of the Four Yuan Masters; considered one of the finest of all Chinese paintings, it served as a model and inspiration for many subsequent literati artists. The scroll suffered fire damage in the early Qing and was divided into two parts. This summer, a special exhibition at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan reunited these two portions of Huang's masterwork for the first time in 360 years.
posted by Abiezer (18 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
That is joy-inducing. Folks, make sure to click through to the huge panorama version. Astounding. Thank you.
posted by gilrain at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2011


When looking at the panorama, the first several scrolls are of the most beautiful calligraphy I have ever seen. Interestingly, the calligraphy was apparently done by another artist, even though the painter was capable of masterful calligraphy himself. In fact, the whole thing has a very interesting sordid history, laid out on its Wikipedia page.

Is there a translation of the calligraphy anywhere? I couldn't find one with a casual search.
posted by gilrain at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2011


The bit about the nephew rescuing he painting from Wu Hongyu's funeral pyre is indeed pretty dramatic. I believe the various different calligraphy hands would have been added down the years by various collectors and appreciative literati viewers. There is a dedicatory inscription by Huang himself, which as far as I can make out with my rusty wenyanwen describes how painting the work was a tortuous process the artist had not yet completed even after four years whilst dwelling as a Daoist hermit in the eponymous mountains. He then goes for a bit of traditional hermit roving (云游在外), comes back, picks up the painting and is final able to finish it.
posted by Abiezer at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you.
posted by sneebler at 11:40 AM on October 1, 2011


Makes one wonder what the rest of the world was carving on cave walls at the same time... amazing to think just how old this is.

thanks for the links, they opened a whole new window for me
posted by infini at 11:41 AM on October 1, 2011


The exhibition link has some subtle animations
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on October 1, 2011


Makes one wonder what the rest of the world was carving on cave walls at the same time... amazing to think just how old this is.

I think you're misunderstanding something. This from the late Middle Ages; Huang Gongwang was an exact contemporary of Dante and Giotto.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:27 PM on October 1, 2011


Beautiful.
posted by ersatz at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2011


Astounding.

Fuchun A. This was when "Made in China" really meant something special.
posted by three blind mice at 1:37 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I first started looking at Chinese landscape painting, I always thought how goofy the mountains looked. As I have l have learned more about what the Chinese landscape actually looks like, I realize that the images are pretty realistic. I love the style.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2011


Another bit of related cultural news, of a distinctly more low-brow nature, that I saw at that Baidu encyclopaedia link is that Andy Lau will be starring in a film where he rescues the painting from evil foreigners who've stolen it during the warlord era chaos, or something. Oh dear.
Was going to add this link too, as anything involving reunification across the Taiwan Straits gets given a political spin, but thought it best to save it for a bit so people had time to enjoy the painting.
posted by Abiezer at 2:37 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Abiezer, thank you for the post. It's quite a feast for the eyes.

I can't help but recommend a 耽美 novel to you called 《红尘有幸识丹青》. '红尘以明清临仿业为背景,讲述一代临仿高手丹青与富有野心欲夺取大统王爷之间的爱恨纠葛。' As such, it goes into quite a lot of fascinating details about art forgery/art restoration.
posted by of strange foe at 2:40 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you're misunderstanding something. This from the late Middle Ages; Huang Gongwang was an exact contemporary of Dante and Giotto.

Yes, apparently misread this as 200 AD or thereabouts i.e. missed the 1 in front of the date
posted by infini at 9:27 PM on October 1, 2011


I've been looking for something to replace the 17-foot photocopy of Zhang Zeduan's Going Up the River at Qingming that I have hanging outside my classroom. This may foot the bill. Thank you!
posted by jiawen at 1:08 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


jiawen, I was inspired to make this post because I'd just been at a friend's bar that he'd recently spruced up by adding pages from some lovely art reprints of great calligraphy and wash paintings done in true colour and large format, tucked in the traditional carved wooden panelling screens. Looks fantastic.
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains was one of them and having read the introduction in the book, checked it out online when I got home and learned of this summer's exhibition.
posted by Abiezer at 4:59 AM on October 2, 2011


I'd love to have color prints hanging up. I have a few, actually, and some original art, but none at full size. I printed my copy of 清明上河图 in black and white at a copy shop; doing it in color would've been prohibitive. Maybe if I go to China next summer I can buy a copy in color...
posted by jiawen at 9:59 PM on October 3, 2011


I was inspired to make this post because I'd just been at a friend's bar that he'd recently spruced up by adding pages from some lovely art reprints of great calligraphy and wash paintings done in true colour and large format, tucked in the traditional carved wooden panelling screens. Looks fantastic.

Has to be one of the more subtle and classy marketing stunts I've seen on Mefi.

Lacking some key information, though; where's the bar?
posted by klue at 2:16 AM on October 6, 2011


Busted! :D MeMail me if you want the details, klue. I feel the breeze from the swinging banhammer.
posted by Abiezer at 2:55 AM on October 6, 2011


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