The second painter in this series, Xia Gui 1195-1224 was a younger contemporary of Ma Yuan and like him a master at the imperial academy of the Song court. Like Ma, Xia Gui was known for his unusual compositional style with all the weight of the painting at the bottom edge. Few (confirmed) paintings by Xia Gui have survived, but fortunately his “Pure and Remote View of Mountains and Streams” has and is now at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. This painting has cemented Xia’s fame and is one of my all-time favorites. But in presenting it here, I am facing quite a few obstacles.
The first such obstacle is the work’s sheer size. It is a scroll of 9m length, so reproducing it on a computer screen is challenging. But I do want to encourage you to have a look at the whole of it. In this post however, I will only be able to show some detail view extracts.(more…)