barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Sheng Tzu-Chao (active 1310-1360)

Mountainous Landscape

Chinese, late Yuan to early Ming Dynasty

Brush and ink on silk

1468 x 610 mm


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.

Signed I.I.: Drawn by Sheng Tzu-Chao of Wu-Tang. Artists’ seal I.I.: Sheng Tzu-Chao (Personal seal)

Purchased from Sir Ernest Debenham, May 1948, for £950 (No. 48.2)

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