Studying at Mount Lingyan

Huang Zhen1800/1899

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art

During the Ming and Qing dynasties when travel was highly fashionable, painters would commit to painting the natural and historic sites that they had visited or even scenes in their daily life not just as mementos but also for future revisit in the mind. Renowned for its unrivaled beauty and named after its rocks that resemble the lingzhi plant, Mount Lingyan (literally "mountain of lingzhi rocks") seen in the painting is located to the northwest of the town Mudu in Suzhou and is a much celebrated mountain and Buddhist site in the Jiangnan area. In this panorama, Huang has captured the undulating mountain ranges in great detail even down to the trail that extends from one end to the other in the scroll, the architecture that flanks the trail, and the temples and sites of historic interest sitting at the top of the mountains.

That trail is none other than the imperial route used by the emperors Kangxi (1662 - 1722) and Qianlong (1736 - 1795) of the Qing when they visited the area. Somewhere along it, the two pavilions renamed by Qianlong as "Pavilion of Pine" and "Pavilion of Sunrise" respectively can be distinctly seen. So are the Lingyan Pagoda, the temple cluster and the imperial sojourn palace that have been preserved to this day. As much as a memento of days gone by in the company of friends, the painting serves as a pictorial guide map to the viewer for relishing in the landscape captured with the artist's impression.

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  • Title: Studying at Mount Lingyan
  • Date Created: 1800/1899
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Professional Painter: Huang Zhen
  • Physical Dimensions: w174.5 x h32.5 cm
  • Location in the artwork: Mount Lingyan, Suzhou
  • History of Donation: The Xubaizhai Gallery of Chinese Art was established in 1992, specifically for exhibiting the collection that donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Art by the famous connoisseur and collector of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Mr Low Chuck Tiew (Liu Zuochou) in 1989.
  • Artist's Biography: Huang Zhen (ca. 18th century), a native of Taicang, Jiangsu, was an accomplished poet, painter and calligrapher and was particularly esteemed for his landscape painting. His extensive travels were conducive to his art as he ventured to retain local characteristics in his landscapes and to capture literati subjects in the court tradition of painting in colour. Delicate in brushwork and elegant in colour, this landscape in the blue-and-green style displays traces of the refined style of Wen Zhengming (1470 - 1559).
  • Type: Ink and colour on paper