Evening in the Spring Hills
Formerly Attributed to Liu Songnian (Chinese, active ca 1175–after 1195)
Song dynasty (960–1279)
Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk
9 3/4 x 10 1/4 in. (24.8 x 26 cm)
Gift of John M. Crawford Jr., in honor of Alfreda Murck, 1986
Not on view
Throughout the mid-thirteenth century, during the reign of Emperor Lizong (r. 1224–64), the Southern Song Painting Academy continued to flourish under the leadership of Ma Yuan, Xia Gui, Li Song, and Ma Yuan's son Ma Lin. In landscape painting, the decorative realism of Liu Songnian (active ca. 1150–after 1225) remained popular. Evening in the Spring Hills, a fan painting by an anonymous midthirteenth- century master, recalls Liu's sumptuous landscape style. Seen below two great pine trees with ball-shaped clusters of pine needles and twisting branches executed in a smooth polished brushwork is a bird's-eye view of a private garden in the hills outside Hangzhou. On a fresh spring evening, the branches flowering with perfect pink blossoms, the garden owner and his guest stand in a pavilion that overlooks a broad valley to view the green hills with notched silhouettes in the distance.