This pair of scrolls was most likely part of an original set of eight depicting the famed scenery around the Xiao and Xiang Rivers, in the modern-day province of Hunan. Landscape paintings illustrating sites in China made famous in classical literature—places that often had nostalgic associations—flourished in the early Joseon period. Meanwhile, in contemporary Ming-dynasty China, the number and reputation of paintings on this subject dwindled compared with production in the earlier Song period.
Although these scrolls are unsigned, the artist clearly aligned himself with the instantly recognizable style of the fifteenthcentury master An Gyeon. Evening Bell from Mist-Shrouded Temple represents a mountain valley where, set against high peaks in the distance, a large Buddhist temple complex is veiled in mist. Autumn Moon over Lake Dongting shares the same mood of melancholy and contemplation. The cloud-covered mountain; cold, glistening light; and vapors rising from the water all contribute to the mystery of a silent landscape. Despite the title, the moon is absent from the scene, which is notable but not without precedent.