Autumn Colors on the Ch'iao and Hua Mountains

Autumn Colors on the Ch'iao and Hua Mountains
Chao Meng-fu (1254-1322), Yuan Dynasty
Handscroll, ink and color on paper
28.4 x 93.2 cm
(on display 10/10-11/20)

Chao Meng-fu, a descendant of the previous native Sung imperial clan, felt it was his mission to preserve Chinese tradition in the face of foreign Yuan rule and sought to do so by accepting the call to service by the Mongols. However, the realities of the time proved difficult to overcome, and he was unable to achieve his ideals--leading him often to think about retiring. Though this scroll (dated 1296) was done for his friend Chou Mi to depict the scenery near Chi-nan (Chou's ancestral hometown), it also expresses Chao's own desire for reclusion. Going beyond the reality, he created an idealized landscape that fuses the scholarly elegance with nostalgia for the past. Thus, the landscape here, such as Hua-pu-chu Mountain to the right, is based on actual scenery but combines with Chao's classical approach for a new trend in post-Sung art.