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ID number:  BIRBI-48.2
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Sheng Tzu-Chao (active 1310-1360), possibly after
Title / Object name:  Mountainous landscape
Object type:  Watercolour
Culture:  Chinese
Date made:  14th century
Materials:  Brush and ink on silk
Measurements:  146.8 x 61.0 cm
Provenance:  Purchased by W. L. Ching-Yung from Chu Kwai Shen who was a high government official in the late Ch’ing Dynasty. Acquired from Ching-Yung about 1928 by Sir Ernest Debenham. Purchased from Sir Ernest Debenham, May 1948, for £950
BIRBI-48.2.jpg

This depicts one of the favourite subjects of Chinese landscape art - a view of hills surmounted by clumps of trees, whcih rise beyond to a distant mountain range wreathed in mist. With delicate, calligraphic strokes of the brush the artist describes the vegetation and terrain with a precision and finesse that resemble the finest embroidery. In the foreground, thick concentrations of dots create an impression of great density and opulence, which is contrasted with the freer and more impressionistic style of the mountains beyond. At the lower left margin is an inscription with reads: 'Drawn by Sheng Tzu-chao of Wu-Tang.' One of the most notable landscape painters of the Yuan Dynasty, Sheng Tzu-chao specialised in mountainous landscapes of this type. However, it may in fact have been made around 1900 as a "homage" to the master.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Signed l.l.: Drawn by Sheng Tzu-Chao of Wu-Tang. Artists' seal l.l.: Sheng Tzu-Chao (personal seal).

Notes:  Possibly a pastiche, c.1900

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