The Colors of Mount Taihang

Artist: Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632–1717)

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Date: Dated 1669

Culture: China

Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk

Dimensions: Image: 10 x 82 1/2 in. (25.3 x 209.4 cm)
Overall with mounting: 11 3/4 x 348 in. (29.8 x 883.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1978

Accession Number: 1978.423


Wang Hui, like his teachers, believed that the study of old masters was the correct path to innovation. But, whereas Dong Qichang and Wang Shimin championed the impressionistic, abstract brushwork of Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) painters and their southern forebears, Wang Hui increasingly became interested in northern painters who used detailed, descriptive brushwork. This important handscroll, made in response to a work by Guan Tong (fl. ca. 907–923), signals the beginning of Wang’s intensive exploration of northern painting that would last the rest of his career. Wang believed that reconciling his teachers’ interests and his own would lead to a “great synthesis” in painting.