Forest Chamber Grotto by Wang Meng

Wang Meng (1308 - 1385 ; style name: Shu-ming) is one of the great four painters of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) along with Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen and Ni Zan. Because this dynasty was of Mongolian origin, court painters were dedicated to Mongolian traditions and arts. That is why a number of scholars like Wang Meng started painting on their own. These literati were concerned more with landscape than with the human figure, developing styles that permitted them to transmit emotions and feelings as well as ideas through the use of images from nature, real or imaginary. In the north, tall mountains and deep valleys were most often painted.

Forest Chamber Grotto at Chu-chu (scroll, ink and colors on paper measuring 68.7 x 42.5 cm)

The painting represents scenery around the Forest Chamber Grotto at Lake T'ai. Among others he pioneered the use of "ox-hair" or "ox-tail" texture when representing landscape. If you look closer you are able to see people reading in the cabins and a man in a boat. These two elements represent the need to escape difficult social and political moments. Many scholars in that period decided to take up the life of a hermit, Wang Meng being no exception.

Click image for full size

No comments: