"Music of Mountains and Waters" came from scholar Zuo Si’s poem "Hermit” in Jin Dynasty: not only stringed and woodwind instruments can produce music, so are mountains and waters. Stringed and woodwind instruments are synonymous with China ancient music, and this poem line means that the waters and mountains can also produce wonderful rhythm and sound. So when people wander in the scenery, they could also enjoy calm and cheer brought by music. Shi Tao choosing this subject shows he had such experience. According to the survey, the scene in the painting is from Mount Huangshan. Mount Huangshan is one of China’s "top five mountains", and is located in Anhui province. Shi Tao was fond of painting Mount Huangshan. He lived in Xuancheng of Anhui for more than ten years, and would climb Mount Huangshan every year, sometimes even up to several times a year to admire Mount Huangshan in different seasons and different weather and then painted it. He once wrote a poem on the painting "Mount Huangshan" created in 1667: "Mount Huangshan is my teacher and I am a friend of Mount Huangshan." Similar with their understanding of Bada Shanren, scholars nowadays also find Chinese paintings’ modernity from Shi Tao’s novel composition and unique perspective in his works.


  • Title: Music of Mountains and Waters
  • Creator: Shi Tao
  • Date: 1707
  • Provenance: Shanghai Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 102.6h x 42.5w cm
  • Medium: colors on paper
  • Dynastic period: Qing Dynasty
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1642-1707

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