A native of Anhui, Xiao Yuncong lived in Nanjing for varying periods of time. He painted this album near Nanjing in the ninth lunar month of 1645, shortly after the city’s fall to Manchu forces. Although only the first leaf is identified as a depiction of Nanjing’s famous Mount Qixia, the other pictures could also be evocations of local sites in different seasons.
These twelve landscapes juxtapose the distinct local styles of Anhui and Nanjing, sometimes a jarring blend in a single painting. Xiao’s Anhui landscapes feature massive mountains reduced to geometric formations. Here, that style’s inherent coolness and abstraction is tempered by a lush blue and green palette, naturalistic landscape elements, and signs of human habitation—all traits that reflect the Nanjing painters’ interest in local topography and genre details.