A Scholar Contemplating a Waterfall, c. 1525


A scholar, accompanied by his servant carrying his books, pauses to contemplate a waterfall as it cascades down a mountain in the distance. This painting encapsulates the eremitic theme in traditional Chinese painting, in which nature and solitude are celebrated as aims of an elevated, scholarly life. The scene also evokes certain religious themes: the flowing water represents the essence of the otherworldly or immortal, embodying Daoist philosophy, which posits that the meaning of life can be sensed but not fully understood or translated into language. The painter Zhang Lu adopted and developed the so-called ax-cut-like brushstrokes, seen here in the depiction of the rocks that are outlined with bold dark lines and washed with broad strokes of lighter ink.



Lu, A Poet Contemplating a Waterfall (#175)
A Scholar Contemplating a Waterfall
Artist Life
c. 1464 - c. 1538
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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