scholar and attendant in LL corner on a riverbank looking at a waterfall at L; rocky landscape; scattered trees with gnarled trunks

Listening to the Waterfall, c. 1450

Ink and color on silkexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  2000.36.1

Not on Viewexpand_more

In this evocative early Zhe school painting, a scholar-recluse lying at ease near the edge of a cliff listens to the powerful waterfall that roils and boils above his resting place and crashes into the crevasse below. He has set aside his guchin (zither) and book, preferring the entertainment of untamed nature.

The scene and its Song dynasty manner derive directly from the classic example of the great academy painter Ma Yuan (active 1180-1225), whose style had tremendous influence on Zhe school painting throughout the Ming period (1368-1644). In this instance, the tight brushwork, solid composition, and relatively coherent space are very close to Song sources. The theme of the qin-playing recluse enjoying a waterfall is perhaps the most popular of all Zhe school subjects. The painting underscores the conscious early Ming revival of Song dynasty (960-1279) forms. Looking back on this golden age of Chinese culture was a way of negating the artistic accomplishments (which were many) of the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368), a period of Mongol control.

Details
Title
Listening to the Waterfall
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2000.36.1
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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scholar and attendant in LL corner on a riverbank looking at a waterfall at L; rocky landscape; scattered trees with gnarled trunks